According to Mr. Brian Adler, who is a Columbia University educated researcher and writer on history and antiques, " the Meito china company was founded in 1908 as Nagoya Seito Sho by former Noritake china engineer Kotero Asukai. Production bore the backstamp "Meito," which means "fine sword" or "excellent sword." The name is, no doubt, a nod to the company's headquarters in Nagoya, Japan, a city famed for its shrine of the sacred sword that is one of Japan's crown jewels. As other Noritake engineers and artists joined Asukai, Meito wares came to closely resemble those of its competitor", Noritake.

But as time went on and the connection of the original engineers and designers to the Noritake company became more distant, Meito's products became less similar to the Noritake lines.  During WWII Meito was acquired by Sumitomo Steel Corporation, and after the war Meito expanded into the American market with showrooms in major U.S. cities.

Today the company continues to manufacture fine bone china and porcelain, with the vast number of Meito patterns reflecting the rich traditions of both East and West.  Its main lines are called Orleans, Windso,r Empire, and Asama. A variant of Orleans, Norleans has been noted for its cutting-edge modern design. The Meito markings on the back of the pieces vary depending on the specific lines of the pieces.

So, which is better china --- Noritake or Meito?  The answer to that most often depends on who you are asking. The numbers of Noritake afficiandos is generally greater, and many of them feel that no other Japanese manufacturers equal the the quality of Noritake.  The truth with Japanese china, like with most things, is probably a little less absolute.  Whereas Noritake can probably fairly win the prize for having produced the largest quantity of consistently beautiful and highest quality china, the selected products of many other Japanese companies, including Meito, can certainly compare equally to Noritake in both design and quality.  

My feeling is that you should let your eye and your taste be the judge, and certainly don't pass up some of the gorgeous and high quality Meito, and other Japanese companies' pieces that are out there.  They can abundantly enrich your dining and entertaining, and probably allow you to be more original than with some of the Nortake patterns that were produced in such very large quantities.