|Birth Place||Komyo-mura, Iwata-gun|
Honda Soichiro was the founder of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
He was born as the first son of Honda Gihei and Mika in November 17, 1906. The father was a blacksmith. He wasn't very good at school. Playing around and pulling pranks were his main interests. Examples of jokes he played were taking off noses from jizo, or Buddhist statues, and falsifying hanko (stamps used in Japan in lieu of signatures). It is said that when he was in elementary school, he once rang the bell in the Seiryuji Temple thirty minutes before noon to have lunch early.
He was in loved with cars and airplanes. The first time he saw a car at age 7, he was so excited that he ran after it. He skipped school to see an air show. After he graduated from school, he earned a job at an auto-repair shop. He worked hard to learn skills. When The Great Kanto Earthquake struck in 1923, he drove a car for the first time.
In 1928, he established an auto-repair shop, Art Shokai. Aiming to build a car one day, he began manufacturing engine parts in 1934. However, he faced difficulty on making piston rings with enough strength. The company improved its skills on metal working with advice from a professor at Hamamatsu Koto Kogyo Gakko, present Shizuoka University.
Honda lost everything during WWII. As the war ended in 1945, he undertook various business including manufacturing sake, salt, and ice lollipop machines. He thought of attaching small engines for generator of radio used by the Japanese Army to bicycles. He started the sale of bicycles equipped with engine in 1946. It earned popularity along a nickname, "Pon-Pon". The Honda A-Type, which had an original engine, was released in 1947.
Honda Motor was established in 1948. It initially handled the production of engines for motorcycle. Takeo Fujisawa, who was referred as the right hand of Soichiro, joined the company in 1949. The motorcycle fully developed by the company, The Dream, was released in 1950. In 1961, a Honda motorcycle won the International Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) Race. The company also succeeded in the field of automobile manufacturing. Its car won a F1 race in 1965. The next year the Honda Civic was released (1982), Soichiro retired. In 1977, he established Honda Foundation with the desire to apply science technologies to people's happiness.
He passed away in 1991.
He visited and looked around the factory every day. Although he was known to be very strict to his workers, he was so because he counted on them. Those who lived up to his expectations became directors of the company. In off-duty occasions, he asked his worker to call him "Honda-san" instead of "shacho" (president). He treated people without prejudice.
He had a note book beside his bed to take notes of thoughts he had in his dreams.
His hands were full of cuts.
After he retired, he preoccupied himself with golf and painting. He would keep painting for hours. People said he played golf with his mouth as he always talked so much while he was playing. He would sketch during breaks.
"People make mistakes. However, you learn from them and move ahead."
He always had his father's words in mind.
"You have to be responsible to your products till the end. If you just make and sell, people will stop buying from you."
"Do not pursue money. If you keep good performances, money will come to you."
"Do not waste time. Your life depends on how well you use your time."
"Soratobu Auto Bai Honda Soichiro Monogatari" (Flying Motorcycle-The Story of Honda Soichiro)
The Reference Room in Komyo Elementary School.
Soichiro Honda Craftsmanship Center