In 1950's Hirotake Arai was the successful owner of a factory in Ohmiya, Saitama manufacturing hats and workmen's helmets. A keen rider, Hirotake struggled to get a proper motorcycle helmet as at the time Japan was a closed market, so being a hat maker he started to make helmets for himself and later his friends.
Interestingly Hirotake's objective was not to expand his headwear business but to create helmets that were able to protect himself and fellow riders. This is a philosophy that is still within Arai to this day. As a hat maker he also knew that people have all different head shapes and any helmet would need to be adaptable to create the perfect fit.
These early helmets were manufactured by Arai Hirotake Shoten, Co. under the trademark HA, Hirotake Arai's initials, starting a personal ownership of the brand which continues to this day.
Michio Arai, Hirotake's son, joined the family business and set his sights to "make Arai better" and "be the number one helmet in the world". By "number one" Michio meant helmets that offered the best protection because he, like his father, is a rider.
The first area for scrutiny was the outer shell, vitally important to resist penetration by sharp objects and maintain shape in the event of an accident, and a double Quality Control check on every single helmet shell was introduced to identify and correct any inconsistences in the shell construction.
The second area was the interior liner, EPS had long been recognised as the best performing material, but Arai pioneered the concept of multi-density liners to better deal with different impact energies around the helmet.
With this improved shell and the new multi-density liner, Arai set out to prove the quality of their helmets by having racers put them to the test. Soon, Arai helmets were being worn by racers from around the world and winning championships.
In fact, when you buy an Arai it is exactly the same as that worn on the track by the professional racers in MotoGP, WSBK, BSB, etc. In the words of Michio Arai "How can you say one person's head is worth more than another's?"