Benesse Corporation (ベネッセコーポレーション, Benesse Kōporēshon) is a Japanese company which focuses on correspondence education and publishing. Based in Okayama-City, it is the parent company of Berlitz Language Schools, which in turn is the parent company of ELS Language Centers. Benesse is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (listing code 9783).

Benesse Holdings, Inc.
Native name
FormerlyFukutake Publishing (1955-1987)
Fukutake Shoten (1987-1995)
Benesse Corporation (1995-2009)
Company typePrivate KK
IndustryEducational Services
FoundedJanuary 28, 1955; 69 years ago (January 28, 1955)
Key people
Eikoh Harada
RevenueDecrease JPY 430.064 billion (2017) [1]
Decrease JPY 7.685 billion (2017) [1]
Increase JPY 3.557 billion (2017) [1]
  • EFU Investments Ltd.
  • (2024–present)
  • (2024–present)
Number of employees
21,022 (consolidated) (2017) [1]
SubsidiariesBerlitz Language Schools
Benesse Corporation Building in Tokyo, Japan.

The company name is derived from the Latin words "bene" (well) and "esse" (being).



The company was founded in 1955 as Fukutake Publishing Co., Ltd. (株式会社福武書店, Kabushiki-gaisha Fukutake Shoten) by Tetsuhiko Fukutake, a publisher of educational materials. In 1986, Soichiro Fukutake succeeded his father as president on the latter's death.[2] His son Hideaki Fukutake is a company director.[3]

In 1994, the company completed the construction of the Fukutake Shoten Tokyo Building (now Benesse Corporation Tokyo Building) in Tama-City, Tokyo. In April 1995, the company was renamed Benesse Corporation.

A major breakthrough in the company's history was the acquisition of a majority stake in Berlitz Language Schools, which had gone public in 1989. In 2001, Benesse completed the take-over by acquiring 100% ownership of Berlitz and making it a private company once again.

In 2023, Swedish private equity firm EQT AB together with Benesse's founding family announced their intention to buy the company and take it private in a deal valued at US$1.78 billion (¥270 billion).[4] On March 3, 2024, it was announced that EFU Investments Ltd. and a fund managed by BPEA EQT completed the purchase of a 70.1% stake in Benesse.[5]

Benesse Foundation


The Benesse House is a 10-room hotel located inside a contemporary art museum, the Benesse Art Site, on the island of Naoshima in the Seto Inland Sea.[6] Built in 1992, it was designed in partnership with architect Tadao Ando.[6] It was built by the Benesse Foundation which is funded by the Benesse Corporation.[6]



Benesse is the originator of the Kodomo Challenge educational program,[7] which debuted in April 1988 and introduced three young-animal mascot characters: Shimajiro the tiger, Torippi the parrot,[N 1] and Ramurin the sheep.[8] These characters, along with later 1991 addition Mimirin the rabbit,[8][N 1] would appear in a long-running series of Shimajiro anime starting in 1993.[9]


  1. ^ a b Names to the left of the slashes are the original Japanese; those to the right, the English ones used in WildBrain Spark's dub.


  1. ^ a b c d Fact Sheet - Investor Relations
  2. ^ "Annual Report 2007" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  3. ^ Manson, Bess (2023-03-17). "Hideaki Fukutake - New WOW owner hopes to add festival to the show". Stuff. Retrieved 2023-05-06.
  4. ^ Kamata, Akinori; Oku, Takashi (2023-11-11). "Japan education firm Benesse to go private with Sweden's EQT". Nikkei Asia.
  5. ^ "EFU Investments Limited and Baring Private Equity Asia Fund VIII managed by BPEA EQT completed the acquisition of 70.21% stake in Benesse Holdings, Inc. from Minamigata Holdings Ltd". MarketScreener UK. Retrieved 2024-03-20.
  6. ^ a b c Williams, Ingrid K (26 August 2011). "Japanese Island as Unlikely Arts Installation". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Benesse's Preschool Education Course Faring Well in China: Pres" (Press release). Jiji Press English News Service. 2008-04-07. Retrieved 2022-02-12 – via ProQuest.
  8. ^ a b Takō, Wakako (2020-02-20). "通信教育発「しまじろう」、"子どもと一緒に成長"するキャラクターが30年愛された理由". Oricon (in Japanese). Retrieved 2022-02-12.
  9. ^ "BENESSE CORPORATION'S PRESCHOOL HIT SHIMAJIRO WINS MAYOR AWARD". Licensing Magazine (Press release). 2021-09-20. Retrieved 2022-02-12.