Masuzo Takata’s ambition
Foundadtion of Takata Motor Research Institute.
Takata Motor Enterprise Trade mark.
In April 1922, Takata Motor Research Institute, the forerunner of Tohatsu, was founded by Masuzo Takata. Takata was born in Gifu city, 300 km west of Tokyo, in 1894. Majoring in mechanical engineering at Nagoya Technical High School, he worked at a power plant in a gas company, steel plant and other workplaces after graduation.
Making best use of those experiences, he had an opportunity to organize a “Department of Airplane Development” in Toba shipyard in 1921. There, Takata researched and developed aircraft and designed small cars, using the latest technology. However, as a result of the Depression, Toba Shipyard was forced into bankruptcy and, unfortunately, Takata had to leave, taking 3 co-workers with him to Tokyo. He was 28 years old by then. In Tokyo, he visited his old friend Ginji Takei. Takei was a military man who had been born in 1874 and had served as an army captain during the Japanese-Russian War. After retiring from the army, he worked on a pioneering project in Mexico and met Takata through a mutual friend. Highly impressed with Takata's technical knowledge of engines and pumps, and his strong drive to see projects through, Takei had long been waiting for an opportunity to commercialize Takata`s great workmanship. As soon as he heard Takata's unemployment, he invited Takata to Tokyo.
It was a combination of two men that founded Takata Motor Research Institute; Masuzo Takata with a strong desire to research and introduce new technology into the world, and Ginji Takei with a willingness to support Takata and to encourage his strength.
The new institute was located in the middle of Tokyo and its main operation was researching and manufacturing of engines and irrigation pumps.
Generator-run water pump improved the lives of people in Tokyo
Generator-run water pump
On September 1st 1923, two years after its foundation, Takata Motor Research Institute was forced to move its office to Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo due to a fire caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake. Motor-run irrigation pumps were produced there and supplied to Tokyo Communications Bureau (Japan Post today), Tokyo City Hall (Tokyo Metropolitan City Hall), and Tokyo Electric (Tokyo Electric Power). These organizations provide essential services to people in Tokyo today. The 2-year-old company was praised for its technology which led to an improvement of infrastructure in Tokyo.
Reorganized: “Takata Motor Enterprise”
In 1925, as the company began to grow, Takata Motor Research Institute was reorganized and renamed “Takata Motor Enterprise”. As result of a favor from Mr. Kenji Yamagata, who was the manager of an electric engineering company, its new office was located at his workplace. Takata Motor Enterprise took off at the new place. The Initial “Y” in the trademark of Takata Motor respectfully represented the Mr. Yamagata(as shown at the bottom of this page). The hexagonally-shped trademark was used until the end of the WWⅡ in 1945. In 1927, as Mr. Yamagata`s business was in a slump, Takata Motor Enterprise, moved back to its original location.
Military demand in wartime
Releasing motored rail track car first in domestic market
In the early Showa period, everything was leading to the Pacific War. During that time, Takata Motors Enterprise was improving the lives of people in Tokyo with irrigation pumps operated by engines. As the War expanded, however, the factory lines were shifted to the manufacture of products for military use to meet the growing demand of the War.
In 1927, 1st domestic motor-driven railway car, the MF-70A, was produced for the Japanese Government Railways, and received an award for excellent domestic merchandise. MF-70A carried 2-passengers and had 3-gears.
In 1928, a motored rail track car was produced and delivered to Japanese Government Railways for the Emperor’s coronation and, later, many of this model were distributed throughout Japan. This product was also awarded as excellent domestic merchandise.
Generator for radio communication
From 1928 to 1929, Takata Motors Enterprise test-produced a generator for radio communications for field battles, commissioned by army. This generator was recognized for its excellent performance by Ministry of Arms, and mass production began. This was the beginning of military industrialization.
As the number of units produced increased, Takata Motor Enterprise moved its plant to Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo in 1930. There were 25 workers at that time. In the same year, Takata Motor Enterprise had delivered large number of portable generators to the Ministry of Rail Roads.
This Tokyo Plant was handed over to Nippon Carburetor Manufacturing Corporation (NCMC) , founded in February 1932. NCMC had started to manufacture carburetors in order to meet the large demand. Its actual technology was provided by Takata Motor Enterprise while the manufacturing license and distributorship were given to NCMC.
Manchurian Incident; Takata Motor delivered huge amount of radio generators to army
The kick-off to the Pacific War, also as known as “The 15-year-war”, was triggered by the Manchurian incident in 1931. In that year, Takata Motor Enterprise had delivered 1 kW radio generators to Japanese Army Engineering Corps. It was the battles in the Pacific Ocean and Europe during WWII, which were marked as the beginning of mechanized war. During the Manchurian Incident, as the preparation for mechanized military had been expanded, Takata Motor; whose 2-cycle engines were highly valued as one of the most excellent military equipments, received a large number of orders for motor generators and logging machines.
Incorporated as joint stock venture, “Takata Motor Manufacturing Corporation” developed first outboard engine for domestic market
On the 20th of October 1932, Takata Motor Enterprise changed its status from a private company to “Takata Motor Manufacturing Corporation”, with a capital of five hundred thousand yen. Fujii Ginji was nominated as the president, and Takata become a director. Both of them were major shareholders, having 4,000 shares each. Thus the 20th of October is the founding date of today's Tohatsu Corporation.
In 1935, the first outboard motor, 2F-50, was developed. The outboard motor was called the “Sosenki” by the Imperial Army and the “Gengaiki” by the Imperial Navy. This was designed to be mounted on the stern of a small boat. 2F-50 was a 2-cylinder, 2-cycle, engine which produced 3-horsepower.
Renewed, “Tokyo Hatsudoki” made progress In wartime
Tokyo Plant moved to Shimura-cho
As the war deepened, the range of the products which Takata Motor manufactured gradually increased. Needing for larger premises, a new plant was built at Shimura-cho, Itabashi (currently Azusawa) in 1937 and the whole factory had completed its relocation by the end of the year. It was an invitation from the people who lived in this undeveloped area at that time which had led Takata Motor to build a plant in their 6,281 ㎡ ground.
Renamed “Tokyo Hatsudoki Corporation”
In May 1939, the company name was renamed “Tokyo Hatsudoki Corporation”. Masuzo Takata, an executive director, was the only person who stayed as a board member; all the other members changed. Gunshiro Mochizuki, who had worked for a securities firm, was nominated as the new president, and financial giants were brought in as executive officers.
As shown by the visit of Prince Asakanomiya for looking at production lines, Tokyo Hatsudoki Corporation had grown into a top military plant in Japan. Prince Asakanomiya served as the Head of Household Division for the Upper Military House officers and also the Army General.
Nominated as Army - Navy cooperative plant, Tohatsu becane the sole plant for small gasoline engines in domestic market
A year before price Asakanomiya's visit, in 1938, national mobilization law, which enabled the then government Konoe Cabinet to mobilize all manpower and material resources for the all-out war, was enforced. This was the time when everything Japan was dedicated to “the elusive victory”.
In 1940, Hatsutaro Akashi was selected as new president and, in April, the plant was nominated as an Army and Navy corporative and supply managing plant. As the sole domestic military plant for small gasoline engine, the production lines were accelerated and output greatly increased.
This was the time that Tohatsu experienced the greatest growth within in the 18 years since its inception.
The main military products at that time were vehicles, power switches for radios, power switches for anti-aircraft radios for Army aviation headquarters, power supplies for naval radios, and 10 or 30-horsepower engines for landing craft, etc.
New Okaya Plant built as war expanded
On the 8th of December 1941, the Japanese Naval Force made a surprise attack on the US Naval Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, leading to the Pacific war. As it met a rapidly increasing demands from the Military, Tokyo Hatsudoki was multiplied its capital up to three million yen by February 1942.
In the following year, anticipation of aerial attack on Tokyo had forced Tokyo Hatsudoki to move to a new location. Increasing demands for a greater volume of military products and a requirement for maintaining and delivering such products securely in wartime were other main reasons for the plant movement. Once the decision was made to build a new plant in Okaya, Nagano, approximately 200km from Tokyo, Tokyo Hatsudoki bought 99,174㎡ land and started its construction the same year.
One plant, two warehouses, and a temporary office were constructed. one of the original founders, had taken over the presidential post from Hatsutaro Akashi.