Debt nails the world’s oldest company after 1428 years of operation

First temple built by Kongo GumiThe world’s oldest continuously operating business recently ended its impressive run of 1,428 years. Japanese temple builder Kongo Gumi, in operation under the founders’ descendants since 578, succumbed to excess debt and an unfavorable business climate in 2006.

After such a long and successful history, what went wrong?  Easy, they borrowed too much during the 1980’s when things were great in the Japanese economy.  Then around ’92 and ’93 the Japanese economy shrank along with the value of their assets.  They couldn’t keep up with debt and went under last year.  What a pity.

Image above is the first temple they ever built (completed in 593).  Below is a snap of some workers in the early 1900’s.

Kongo Gumi workers in the early 1900’s

(via Boing Boing)