TakaraTomy is a Japanese toy company. They are the producer of Transformers in Japan, and design much of the engineering for Transformers toys.
Takara was originally founded by Yasuta Satoh in 1955. One of their first successes was securing the license for releasing Mattel's "Barbie" series on the Japanese market.
In 1970, Takara secured the license for releasing Hasbro's "G.I. Joe" line on the Japanese market. Dubbed "Combat Joe", the line would soon get a spin-off named "Henshin Cyborg" (henshin being the Japanese word for "transform"), which in turn would later lead to the original Microman toyline which started in 1974.
The Microman line was relaunched as New Microman in 1981 and would lead to spin-offs such as Diaclone and MicroChange. Hasbro would later acquire the license for releasing toys from both lines on the North American market. The result, dubbed "Transformers" by Hasbro, would turn out to be a huge success.
After a first test release of the US toys to a small test market in Japan apparently turned out to be successful, Takara decided to cancel Microman and Diaclone and henceforth started to release the "Transformers" in Japan as well.
Nobuyuki Okude, one of the original Diaclone designers who oversaw the production of the modified toys for Hasbro's "Transformers" line, would later rise to become Takara's Vice President and for a brief time even held the position of the company's president.
After a series of commercial failures, May 2005 saw the public announcement that Takara would merge with rival toymaker Tomy. As of April 2006, both companies ceased to exist and made way for the new company, TakaraTomy.
Oddly, "TakaraTomy" is only the merged company's official name in Japan. For the international, English-speaking world, the merged company is officially simply named "Tomy", for pragmatic reasons (as most of Takara's internationally renowned brands are distributed through other companies, such as Hasbro, outside Japan).
This incredibly convoluted chain of licensing, evolving, and re-licensing toy franchises can be used to make the heads of evil robots explode.