Forefathers of the Automobile Industry

When greatness is beyond reach then it is a must that we reach for it. But if greatness like most of the time can not be seen because only time will ever reveal that surprise. Like many success stories, there would be risks, challenges, and specially the great calling that brings champions together.In this article is the risks a company took to make it as the company we know today.

TX35 Government Standard Model

TX35 Government Standard Model

Image from isuzu.co.jp

 

Back then, in the year 1893 a company who called themselves the Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding& Engineering Co., Ltd. was born into the world. By the name itself we deduce that the company has nothing to do with manufacturing cars. Right? Later did we find out that the shipbuilding and engineering company would turn out to be Isuzu in the year 1916. And using the profit it has come up from the shipbuilding and engineering business, Isuzu (then called the Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering) was to go into a production of cars with partners who called themselves the Wolseley Motor Ltd. (a British company in these years) in the year 1922. And thus with great partnership the Wolseley A9 was finally released to the Japanese market, a huge success for both Isuzu and Wolseley for they have made history as the first to put a passenger car into the market of Japan. And just a few years later was the Wolseley CP truck which was created to be a military truck was then produced.

Wolseley A9 (1920)

Wolseley A9

Image from autogallery.org

 

In just a few years, Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding & Engineering and Wolseley Motor Ltd. has gone their own ways in the year 1927. Wolseley was to come up with its very own car in the year 1929 called Sumida. In the exact same year they renamed themselves as an independent company called the Ishikawa Automotive Works. Co. ltd. Three years later were they able to produce the Isuzu (a name taken after the Isuzu River) to answer the problems of the Japanese community. Why is this the answer you ask? At that time Japan had gone through the great Kanto Earthquake and the people were on the move to reestablish themselves. Isuzu was to speed things up. In present time the company that has deeply rooted from the companies Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding & Engineering and Wolseley Motor Ltd. has later evolved into another great automobile the world has come to recognize – Isuzu.

Miyata Reborn

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The Japanese bicycle brand ‘Miyata’ if you do not already know actually has one peculiar story of its beginnings. It all started with a gunsmith named Eisuke Miyata who first manufactured his line of bicycles. And at that time, not only does he hold two business propositions namely making guns but also making bicycles; all under one roof. Needless to say, Eisuke Miyata knowing the gun making business will not bring him much success that he pursued making bicycles using his ideas. Miyata made a good call and now has established his name in the bicycle industry, even having more partners plus having Panasonic join in as a shareholder back in the late 50s.

Aside from all the great success Miyata had received it did not whoever stop there; Miyata did not only expand its market in Japan soil but also had collaborations outside its comfort zone. Koga, a Dutch bicycle brand was one of Miyata’s collaborators in the 70s – then from the extensive collaborations the interactions turned into a partnership of Japan’s Miyaga and the Dutch’s Koga, which then in 1976 spurned out one of that time’s best bicycles out there in terms of design, quality, pricing, and brand name – the Koga Miyata road bikes.

With a lot of hard work and very fortunate incidents during their reign such as having a winner named Peter Winnen win in a competition using a Koga Miyata manufactured bicycle. The funny and amazing thing is; the decision to actually ride a Koga Miyata bicycle was only decided the day before the competition and it was not a difficult decision really, the bicycles Peter Winnen was to use initially was of lesser par (meaning the newly introduced bicycles having better performance and quality) with the Koga Miyata bicycle and so was chosen. All those factors had led to the perception of Japanese bikes as an accepted brand in the western world and are even considered as products of good quality and of course design. In 2010 whoever Koga had completely separated from Miyata and both had gone their own ways in terms of being in the bicycle manufacturing business.

In year 2011, Miyata has announced its new campaign program titled ‘Miyata Japon’, with the trends of having a healthy lifestyle and well being it is about time they came out of the ashes and further establish their name; first in Japan and then again internationally.

Brief History of Japan Automaking Industry

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In today’s setting seeing a Japanese car is not an uncommon sight anymore. In fact, it would be safe to say Japan has dominated a huge percent of the customer segment of the market alone compared to foreign brands. Most of the companies we know of now, such as Honda, even came from humble origins making motorcycles and car parts for the consumer market. And just like any other story, the automobile making industry had to start somewhere. During the early 1900s a man named Komanosuke Uchiyama made an automobile using the gasoline engine brought from the United States. Not exactly a considered as all Japan made since the engine itself was from the United States. But just 5 years later he made the first ever Japanese made car.

Back then it was the Americans that dominated the Japanese market producing around 20,000 units of cars compared to the 500 cars the locals made. But look at Japan car brands now, they have turned the tables.

In the 60s the Japanese Automotive Manufacturer’s Association (JAMA) were born to help auto manufacturers in what I would call – conquering the world’s auto making industry. You would most likely hear about the Japanese Automotive Manufacturer’s Association taking care of the Tokyo Motor Show that will be held in the later year of 2015. And going back to the 60s, Japan’s automobile industry was a hit amongst the consumers, according to the surveys, 14 percent of households at that time already own a car – that was already a huge thing although now we would barely make a twitch knowing that.

By the 70s, the demand for a more eco friendly automobiles and products in the world were already getting to the designers and engineers of companies. Japan had an advantage to that since Japanese branded auto makers were already experienced on smaller engines – meaning less use fuel and more eco friendly tendencies. Aside from smaller engines, Japanese cars were also lighter making it an even more irresistible offer for consumers.

By the 80s, Japanese motor industries have already made their name known to the world until today. To do that, Japanese cars are by far safer, cheaper, in better quality, uses better materials, and most of all have 75 percent of the car be recyclable bringing the eco friendly customer segment onto the boat compared to most of the foreign competitors Japan’s automakers have.

History of Nissan

 

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I love Nissan’s statement on their website on nissanusa.com, ‘We are more than a car company. We are an innovation company. We take the most innovative thinking in the industry and combine it with performance, value, efficiency, safety, and style. The result: cars that thrill you, every time you get behind the wheel. Innovation that excites.’ And the best part is it is completely true. Knowing some parts of Nissan’s history say so too. Back in 1932 Nissan did not carry the name ‘Nissan’ instead they used this name – Tokyo-based Jidosha-Seizo Kabushiki-Kaisha, when translated means Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd. The company was established in the early 30s by Yoshisuke Aikawa and had to turn into a manufacturer of trucks and military vehicles during the World War II until it ended years later. It was a devastating time and people were dazed from all the chaos that is going around. It is a huge feat that Nissan and many other car companies like Honda could continue on with their works and carry on.

In the 60s however Nissan gained recognition for winning the Deming Prize for engineering excellence. Nissan was the first Japanese automaker to be able to get such an award. During those times Nissan was doing great both locally and internationally.  Around the same time, Nissan’s Bluebird and Cedric were Nissan’s priced small cars were released, and without a doubt people had great feedbacks on it. In the 90s Nissan’s sales dropped and only got only its feet by collaborating with French carmaker Renault. The collaboration resulted with the Titan pickup truck and Altima sedan. People loved the company that many consider the Datsun cars as a symbol of Japan’s rapid advances in modern industrialization during those days. Their company contemporary slogan was this, “The Rising Sun as the flag and Datsun as the car of choice.”

Today Nissan is still a pretty well known name specially when you are an enthusiast for iconic cars because Nissan has quite a lot of those even when they started back then. You can usually find their cars in car shows and are even bought for a huge price for people would like to restore these cars or have them as a collection. Even today if you drive around a Datsun you will surely turn heads in your direction. That is how iconic the line of cars this great company has given us.

Honda – Cars of the future

 

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HONDA – Future Of Cars
Everything begins with an idea – Earl Nightingale
Just when we think we are at the peak when it comes to modern technology, we are introduced to more and more ideas that will change the way we look at things; the way we understand what is normal and what is not in the norm or ‘futuristic, and even the way we live our lives. One good example would be the ever pursuit in excellence of Japanese cars; always two steps ahead of most of its competitors and making innovations that even in our wildest dreams we would not expect possible. Honda for one has exciting concept cars lined up for the world and just by thinking about it gives you the feeling of being a kid again waiting for Christmas to come and getting to open a present you are sure will make your day.
Honda being a huge company that manufactures more than one type of transportation technology and is known around the globe has created a number of concept cars with great potential including the Honda CR-Z concept car, Honda CR-Z concept car, Honda OSM concept car, Honda Linian Roadster concept car, Honda small hybrid sport concept car, and lastly the Honda FC Sport concept you would be reading about in this article.
The FC Sport concept was one of the entries for the Los Angeles car show back in 2008 and boy were the visitors that time in for a treat. The FC Sport concept car which has a Hydrogen Fuel Cell for its engine power not only packs a punch but the design is so sexy and has such a futuristic design to it that you would pay straight up just to be able to have one for yourself or even just drive it.
According to Honda “The Honda FC Sport explores how to satisfy automotive performance enthusiasts in a world beyond petroleum.”
For now though the unfortunate thing is that the Honda FC Sport concept car is still technically not a real car yet (meaning it has a lot of of parts that are incomplete for now) and so of course it is not lined up for production but we will be keeping our fingers crossed and hope it comes to the market soon before we reach the age of apathy.
All in all, Honda’s concept car itself shows how everything is not yet at its peak. There will always be chances for new designs, innovations, or even just plain simple ideas out there that has yet to be realized.

The Story of Honda

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It is always a heartwarming to hear stories of successful people when they start off as the underdogs. Believe it or not the Honda was one of those people who started as something so small. During and after the second world war, Japan was devastated. But it took Soichiro Honda a whole lot to try to stand again and amidst the chaos and the few resources that are available he created a means of transportation and turned it into a moving business. Many of the businesses back then changed their industry into a factory spurning out the products that the military can use such as vehicles and for aircrafts. Soichiro Honda was quick on his feet; he grabbed the opportunity and founded his company in 1948 making cheap vehicles. It was as simple as getting a bicycle and putting it together with an engine. That was the beginning anyway, today if you see Honda you would see the most amazing creations you could never have thought were possible. And then just 10 years since Soichiro Honda founded his company his business expanded to as far as the shores of America. Here he established a corporation that was named as the American Honda Co. If you look up Honda now in the top biggest auto making companies you would never not find Honda in that list. Honda as a brand came to be known as a car of choice for the market. You could say Soichiro Honda had an innate will to conquer the auto making industry and he did. By the years of the 70s Honda was officially declared as the world’s largest motorbike maker. The battle has been won but the war is another story. Although Honda was known for their motorcycles, the cars were not so much. Honda has been joining their 4 wheeled creations in competitions but the market was not too responsive. The problem when feedbacks were acquired was that Honda’s cars were not compatible to the American market even though it was doing well in the Japanese market. The problem was the size and so the designers and engineers of Honda came up with the American Oriented Civic which was a car made for the American market although it was not as big as the average American cars it had a good result. It was then official, the American Oriented Honda Civic was then the first ever car Honda had a car attract the American market.

Women Only Train Carts

Japan’s trains are busiest and most crowded during the rush hour. With everyone wanting to go to work on time, or go immediately home, the competition for any amount of space is a true battle. Just imagine being shoved, elbowed and pushed by a great crowd of about 10 to 20 people who are mostly men. The commute would not be comfortable for young children and the elderly. Even if the idea of women-only trains were discontinued and then resurrected so many times, train operators have realized its great need and had it fully restored since 2000. This is to combat and control the crowd but it is also a means for preventing sexual harassment in trains.

Since 1912, Japan’s trains have designated carts that are intended for women, children and the elderly. Even back then, some admiring men cannot keep their hand to themselves. Robbery and theft was also a big problem in both male and female carts. The designation of women’s carts has greatly eased passage and exit through the trains and has made it more comfortable for children and the elderly.

There are other countries, aside from Japan, that offer women-only transportation. Cities in Indonesia, India, Brazil and the Philippines operate the same kind of programs. There are even women-only buses in Guatemala, Mexico and Pakistan. Some do it for crowd control, others do it because of religious reasons but mostly it is because of the high sexual harassment statistics. Just in a single year, more than one hundred sexual harassment and groping cases are reported in a single subway line. Definitely, this is just a small fraction because other victims do not come forward because of some concerns about embarrassment, inconvenience and even the fact that it is difficult to definitely pinpoint the doer especially in tightly packed conditions.

There are some men who find this quite unreasonable. They claim that women-only carts did not significantly solve the issue and the number of arrests because of it has not even gone down. Other than that they are also opposing this because there is a question of gender discrimination, shown with why only women get the special treatment. Some men have even claimed, and yes there is quite a number of this as well, that they themselves have been groped and harassed by some women.

There are no significant conclusions that have been made regarding this issue. There is no data that can support that the incidents of sexual harassment do decrease. However, no matter what some people say about the decision of operators to make women-only carts, the decision doesn’t seem to budge and women-only transport is here to stay.

Railway Sign about Women’s only carts

Image by bornplaydie

Tokyo Motor Show

Tokyo Motor show

 

Japan is leading the manufacturing and design of automobile for the past few decades, this is because of companies like Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota and more. With this Japanese automobile companies competing with each other they have to showcase their new innovation, technology that they incorporate in their products therefore there are a lot of car exhibitions, car shows that is happening for the whole season in Japan and the Tokyo Motor Show is one of the best event of the year.

 

Tokyo Motor Show in one of the largest and best auto exhibition of the year it is usually held on October or November at only one location that is Tokyo Big Sight. Tokyo Motor Show renders different variety of automobiles such as cars, motorcycles, trucks, and even concept cars of the different local and international automobile companies. The event is one of the big five of auto show in the industry along with the other four which is Detroit, Geneva, Frankfurt and Paris. It is recognized by Organization Internationale Des Constructeurs d’Automobiles as an international event and it is hosted by not other than the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association or the JAMA.

 

The Japan Motor Show started in th 1950’s and before was called the All Japan Motor Show and the first show was a big success which was participated by over 254 exhibitors that showcase their 267 vehicles and the event have a staggering 547,000 visitors for just over 10 days and was held at the Hibiya Park. The event was relocated in Korakuen Bicycle Racing Track during 1958 due to the construction of the subway near the Hibiya Park. The Korakuen Bicycle Racing Track did not last long as the venue for the event due to the heavy rains that the visitors and exhibitors hated and was relocated to the newly constructed Harumi indoor showplace that was three times as large as the Korakuen Bicycle Racing Track.

 

In 1973 onwards the organizers withdraw from hosting the event because of the energy crisis that the whole world experience that era. The show have become a biennial event and relocated again to the Makuari Messe in 1989. But due to high demand for daily use automobile, the event was held yearly again from year 2001 to 2005 that showcase different passenger cars, trucks, motorcycles, vehicle parts and tools and concept cars. But in 2007 the event was returned to a biennial event that render different kinds automobile but was always dominated by companies cool concept cars.

Image by: www.dawn.com

Travel Accessibility for the disabled

Japan’s transportation technology has been continuously advancing and it is one of their objectives to create a comfortable and accessible means of transport for all individuals. Accessibility in Japanese transportation literally identifies with all possible types of users. The Japanese community is more involved and tries to include all its members and ensure their safety and their comfort. Disability is a great hindrance and difficulty when it comes to taking the public transport; in many cases it is strongly discouraging for many.

Having seen this predicament, the Japanese government has enforced laws for the protection and rights of people with disabilities. All means of transport are required to contain accessories that can make them very accessible, including ramps, escalators and elevators.  Through these policies as well, operators and owners of large transportation companies like bus lines and railways have realized the importance of accessibility for their passengers. Now there are wheelchair friendly travel means.  Almost all forms of public transport has planned and established means for allowing PWDs, elderly and children to enjoy their ride with the least possible amount of discomfort.

The railway, which is a major public transportation, ensured that the train car floors and platforms are level to easily allow people to get in and out of the train. Furthermore, there are also wheelchair spaces and seats available in the carts. If it is still too difficult, the station staff is more than willing to help out. The Shinkansen also has made travel convenient by providing wheelchair friendly coaches which are equipped with wider doors, spacious toilets and even a wheelchair space. However, these amenities normally require advance booking and some additional fare for reservations.

Other that the trains, accessibility should still be provided for other means of transport like public buses and long distance buses. Modern buses are designed to be non-step wherein the passengers in wheelchairs would not require a person in a wheel chair to be manually carried to board the bus. These non-step buses have movable machine powered platforms that will be responsible in carrying the passenger inside.

Traveling in Japan through a wheelchair does not pose any significant stress and can even be done without any guardian. There will be instances where it would be difficult because not all buses in the country are non-step, or there are certain times where there will be citizens and other passengers who are not patient enough. All in all, the Japanese people are helpful and kind and when they see there is a need for it, they will offer a hand to help.

non step bus

image by mycharrys

Japan Grand Prix

Suzuka Circuit

Japan Grand Prix is one of the most anticipated racing event of the year. Japan Grand Prix event is usually the last racing event of the year. The first Japan Grand Prix is done in Suzuka Circuit that is located in the south west of Nagoya, the event was a non-championship race in 1963. This was the event that starts the racing industry in Japan. The next 11 years of the event was held in Fuji Speedway that is near Yokohama and in Tokyo. The Fuji Speedway race track has a dangerous banked corner that was called Daiichi that has many incidents of deadly accidents. It was remove from the racing calendar for the next few years. Then in 1987 it was returned and moved to new venue the Suzuka Circuit. The circuit  before was a test track and was redesigned and revamp by Dutchma John Hugenholts that was owned by Honda. The event was hosted by Suzuka Circuit for the next 20 years and named one of the most difficult circuits out there.

 

In 24th of March 2006 FIA announced that for the next succeeding years the Japan Grand Prix will be held again in the newly redesigned Fuji Speedway that was now owed by Toyota. Moving to the newly redesigned speedway by Hermann Tilke, racers has different opinion because of the reputation of the Suzuka Circuit that was owned by Honda that was the racers get used to and was a favorite of some racers. But on the 8th of September 2007 FIA has made its decision and announced that the Japan Grand Prix Racing Event will be hosted alternately by Fuji Speedway and Suzuka Circuit.

 

Because of economic down fall Toyota announced in July 2009 that they will withdraw form hosting the Japan Grand Prix therefore since year 2010 the race was hosted by Suzuka Circuit alone. Since 1987 when the Japan Grand Prix was resumed, the Japan Grand Prix was the spectator’s favorite racing event in Japan. In fact 1990 race,  3 million people joined a raffle draw for the 120,000 tickets, that was due to the popularity of the event that was due to Honda’s success in the event. Honda has made a famous local racer named Satoru Nakajima that gain popularity in Japan. Nakajima retired and after a year Honda has withdrawn their team from the event that decreases the fans and supporter of the event that made the following year’s Japan Grand Prix’s tickets not to sell.

Image by: www.mut8.org