Family business builds – for 1,424 years

For 40 generations, the Kongo family in Osaka, Japan, has been busy building temples. Its construction company ranks atop the 100 oldest family-owned businesses list published in Family Business Magazine's Spring 2002 issue.

The list includes only businesses outside the US that have remained in the same family for two centuries or more. Last year, the magazine published a list of America's oldest family firms. The oldest, Zildjian Cymbal Co. of Norwell, Mass., was founded in Turkey in 1623, and relocated to the US in 1929. It would have placed 27th on this year's list at

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