***** (K|C|F) *****
[ P R O M I N E N T P E O P L E ]
(In alphabetical order)
NOTE: With Japanese names, the family name always comes first, whereas in the West, it usually comes last !!
Aikawa Yoshisuke 鮎川 義介 (1880 – 1967)
In 1928, Yoshisuke Aikawa became President of the Kuhara Mining Company and created a holding company called Nihon Sangyō, or Nissan for short.
Aoyama Rokurō 青山 録郎
Rokurō Aoyama was one of the Co-founders of the Nissan Motor Company.
Den Kenjirō 田 健次郎 (1855 – 1930)
The Kaishinsha Motorcar Works was founded in 1914, and made the first cars using the Datsun name. The ‘D’ in the company acronym ‘DAT’ was from ‘Den’ after one of the founders Kenjirō Den and was later changed to ‘Datsun‘. The company was acquired by the Nissan zaibatsu (financial conglomerate) in the 1930’s, Den being one of the Co-founders.
Fujisawa Takeo 藤沢 武夫 (1910 – 1988)
Takeo Fujisawa entered the newly founded Honda Company in 1949, and in 1964 was promoted to vice-president. After retiring in 1973 he opened an antique shop in Tōkyō. After his death, he was posthumously appointed to the 4th rank in the order of precedence and decorated with the Order of the Rising Sun 3rd Class.
[ Fukunaga Tatsumi ]
Tatsumi Fukunaga designed the Suzuki RS/3, the predecessor of the Autozam / Mazda AZ-l and he also designed the Mazda MX5.
Giugiaro Giorgetto (1938 ~)
Giorgetto Giugiaro designed the Daihatsu Move, which sold 500,00 cars during its first 3 years of production. Giugiaro was named ‘Car Designer of the Century‘ in 1999 and inducted into the ‘Automotive Hall of Fame‘ in 2002.
Gorham William R (Reagon) (1888-1949)
Gorham William R (Reagon) was an American automobile engineer who emigrated to Japan. Gorham made substantial contributions to the technology and capability of Japan’s fledgeling automobile industry, and worked with a number of companies that would eventually be merged into the Nissan Motor Company.
Hashimoto Masujirō 橋本増次郎 (1875-1944)
Masujirō Hashimoto was one of the Nissan Motor Company Co-founders.
[ Hirai Toshiko ]
Mazda’s design team leader Toshiko Hirai took over the Autozam / Mazda AZ-l project and was also involved in the Mazda MX5 design.
Honda Hirotoshi 本田 博俊 (1942 ~)
Hirotoshi Honda, Sōichirō Honda’s son together with Masao Kimura, founded the Mugen tuning company, Honda’s performance partner in 1973. It is better known for building the Mclaren-Honda F1 engines. It also produces upgrades for Honda production cars including the latest Honda S660. Despite the connection with his father Sōichirō the company has never been owned by Honda.
Honda Sōichirō 本田 宗一路 (1906 – 1991)
The Honda Company was founded in Hamamatsu, Japan in October 1946 by Sōichirō Honda. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) established the Sōichirō Honda Medal in recognition of Honda’s achievements in 1982. This medal recognises outstanding achievement or significant engineering contributions in the field of personal transportation. In 1989, he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame near Detroit. He was posthumously appointed to the Senior 3rd rank in the order of precedence and appointed a Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.
Iwasaki Yatarō 岩崎 弥太郎 (1835-1885)
Yatarō Iwasaki founded the Mitsubishi Zaibutsu (Financial Conglomerate). He was the great-grandson of a man who had sold his family’s samurai status in obligation of debts. Iwasaki began his career as an employee of the Tosa clan which had business interests in many parts of Japan. The name Mitsubishi is a compound of mitsu (three) and hishi (diamond). Its emblem was a combination of the Iwasaki family crest and the oak-leaf crest of the Yamanouchi family (pictured above), who were leaders of the Tosa clan, which controlled the part of Shikoku where Yataro was born.
Katayama Yutaka 片山 豊 (1909 – 2015)
The Flying Feather microcar was conceived by Yutaka Katayama (aka Mr K) and designed by Ryuichi Tomiya in the late 1940’s. Katayama joined the Nissan Company in 1955, his greatest contributions being the Datsun 510 & Z series. He was inducted into the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame in 2008.
The development team of the Honda S660 was led by ‘Ryo Mukumoto‘ who beat 400 other participants in Honda’s in-house competition. Honda made him the youngest lead engineer in the company’s history even though he had no engineering experience. He was 22 years old when he was chosen and was given 5 years to develop the sports car.
Matsuda Jūjirō 松田 重次郎 (1875-1952)
Jūjirō Matsuda founded the Mazda Motor Corporation in 1920. For his contributions to Hiroshima Prefecture, a bronze statue of Matsuda was created in 1965 by sculptor Katsuzou Entsuba and was erected at the Hijiyama Park in Minami-ku, Hiroshima.
McRae Colin (1968 – 2007)
Up and coming WRC star Colin McRae was entered in the 1993 Safari Rally by Subaru Technica International founder & team owner Noriyuki Koseki to promote the latest sports model Subaru Vivio Super KK. McRae did manage to set the fastest stage time before retiring with suspension failure. Masashi Ishida & Patrick Njiru were also entered. Only Njiru completed the course in a creditable 12th place.
Michelotti Giovanni (1921 – 1980)
Giovanni Michelotti used the 1st Generation Daihatsu Cuore as the basis for the ‘Michelotti PAC‘ prototype (Personal Automotive Commuter) shown at Geneva in 1985.
[ Mitsuoka Akio ]
Akio Mitsuoka is the current Representative Director & President of the Mitsuoka Motor Company. Mitsuoka are noted for building unique cars with unconventional styling, some of which imitate British vehicles of the 1950’s & 60’s.
[ Mitsuoka Susumu ]
Susumu Mitsuoka is the Company Founder & Chairman of Mitsuoka Motors. Mitsuoka was recognised in 1996 as the 10th Japanese auto manufacturer to be registered in Japan since Honda in 1963.
Itō Mitsuo 伊藤 光夫 & Moss Stirling
The 1968 Suzuki Fronte SS was 1 of 2 cars driven by Stirling Moss & TT motorcycle racer Mitsuo Itō, in a promotional high-speed event. The event involved a demonstration journey along Italy’s 750 km (466 mile) Autostrada del Sole, leading from Milan to Napoli. They maintained a very respectable average speed of 122.44 kph (76.08 mph).
Nakano San (Mr Nakano)
Mr Nakano (above) The Nihon Auto Sandal Company Founder is pictured with his 1950’s prototype.
Nakamura Yoshio 中村よしお
Yoshio Nakamura, was manager of the Honda S360 development project. He is pictured (above) with John Surtees (the only person to have won World Championships on both two and four wheels).
Suzuki Michio 鈴木 道雄 (1887 – 1982)
Suzuki Motors was started by Michio Suzuki in 1954. He began the company in October 1909, originally as the “Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Company“.
Suzuki Osamu 鈴木 修 (1930 ~)
Osamu Suzuki is the current Chairman & CEO of the Suzuki Motor Corporation, he is the 4th adopted son-in-law in a row to run the company.
Takeuchi Meitarō 竹内 明太郎 (1860-1928)
Meitarō Takeuchi was one of the Co-founders of the Nissan Motor Company.
[ Team Angela ]
Uchida Angela 内田アンジェラ Kurokawa Hiroko (kuro-chan) 黒川ひろ子 (くろちゃん)
Yamamoto Takae (Taka) 山本 高板 (タカ) and Ogoke Kazuko 尾後家 和子
The 1988 edition of the Rallye des Pharaons, is an FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme), cross country RWC (Rally World Championship) event that takes place in Egypt. Cairo is both the starting and finishing point at the foot of the Pyramids of Giza, over a distance of around 5,400 kms (3,355 ml). An unusual entry alongside the rally superstars, was Team Angela, four Japanese women piloting the latest 550cc Suzuki Cervo kei-cars !! Angela missed the time cut on the special stage and was eliminated, but Taka & Ogoke made it to the finish !!
Toyoda Kiichirō 豊田 喜一郎 (1894 – 1952)
The Toyota Company was founded by Kiichirō Toyoda in 1937. Toyoda the family name was changed to Toyota as it sounded better, and its 8-stroke count in japanese writing is associated with wealth & good fortune.
Andreas Zapatinas, worked at Alfa Romeo before moving to Subaru. In 2002 he joined the Subaru Company as Head of Advanced Design. The 660 cc Subaru R2’s exterior reflects Zapatina’s influence, the design created some controversy and was later abandoned by Subaru. Zapatinas left the company in July 2006.