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Soichiro Honda's brief story

Soichiro Honda
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Believe in your dreams and they believe in you. Everything you had only imagined will become real. What we imagine exists and lives in the world of dreams. With every changing with the stars a baby is born who has the greatest of gifts. A heart can listen to dreams and the power to bring them to life. One of those is my friend, Soichiro Honda. Here the brief history of Soichiro Honda and his brand begins: the Honda story. He used to repair bicycles when he was a boy helping in his father’s workshop. He was born in 1906 at Komyo, a little town in the heart of Japan. He was a hard worker and at the same time he was a draftsman and a good designer. He had a little study where he worked on his ideasand followed up his intuitions. We used to love in long rides on our bikes going as fast as the wind. Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa the truth as were great friends. Soichiro was a real artist and a bit of a rebel. He managed to involve you in his projects and on his doings. Thanks to his determination and his desire to create things he fascinated everyone, including me. I remember his excitement very well. But I rather live in the dreams to tell the story of them. Magical night when an idea illuminated his mind. In 1946 Soichiro Honda attached a military motor to his bicycle. He called that invention of his ‘Dream Type A’. Two years later he founded the Honda Motor Company. Today Honda is a legend in every country of the world.

Soichiro Honda (1906-1991) was a renowned Japanese engineer and industrialist who co-founded the Honda Motor Company, one of the world's largest and most successful automotive manufacturers. He played a significant role in shaping the company's culture and technological advancements.

Early life and passion for engineering

Soichiro Honda's early life and passion for engineering played a crucial role in shaping his future endeavors. Here are some details about his early life and his fascination with engineering. Soichiro Honda was born on November 17, 1906, in Kōmyō village, Japan. His family had a background in farming, and his father, Gihei Honda, worked as a blacksmith. Growing up in a rural environment, Soichiro developed an appreciation for machinery and mechanical devices. Even as a child, Honda showed a remarkable curiosity and talent for tinkering with mechanical objects. He enjoyed disassembling items such as bicycles, watches, and engines, studying how they worked, and then reassembling them. His innate curiosity and hands-on approach nurtured his engineering skills. After completing his primary education, Honda pursued formal technical education. He attended the Hamamatsu Technical School, where he studied automotive engineering and gained practical knowledge in various fields, including metallurgy and manufacturing processes. Honda's passion for engineering led him to various job opportunities where he could apply his skills. He worked as an apprentice at an auto repair shop in Tokyo, gaining hands-on experience in repairing and modifying automobiles. His work at the repair shop further fueled his interest in engineering and instilled in him an entrepreneurial spirit. In 1937, Honda founded the Tokai Seiki Company, which primarily produced piston rings for Toyota. He developed a new technique for producing piston rings, which significantly improved their quality and durability. This marked his first notable entrepreneurial venture and showcased his engineering expertise. During World War II, Honda's Tokai Seiki Company faced challenges due to the scarcity of resources and the impact of the war. The company's factory was destroyed in an air raid, and Honda struggled to rebuild his business in the post-war period.

Soichiro Honda's early life was characterized by a natural inclination towards engineering and a hands-on approach to machinery. His childhood curiosity, formal technical education, and early work experiences laid the foundation for his future achievements. These formative years sparked his passion for innovation, problem-solving, and the pursuit of excellence in engineering, which he later applied to great success in the automotive industry.

Motorcycle manufacturing

Soichiro Honda's motorcycle manufacturing endeavors were instrumental in establishing the Honda Motor Company as a global leader in the motorcycle industry. In 1948, Soichiro Honda, along with his business partner Takeo Fujisawa, founded the Honda Motor Company. Initially, the company focused on producing motorcycles due to their affordability and practicality in post-war Japan. One of Honda's most significant contributions to motorcycle manufacturing was the introduction of the Honda Cub. Launched in 1958, the Honda Cub was a small, lightweight motorcycle known for its reliability, fuel efficiency, and ease of use. It featured a step-through design, automatic clutch, and pressed-steel frame, making it accessible to a wide range of riders, including women and novices. Honda revolutionized motorcycle manufacturing through technological innovations. The company introduced the concept of mass production to motorcycles, streamlining the production process and reducing costs. Honda also focused on improving engine performance and reliability by introducing advanced features such as overhead camshafts, four-stroke engines, and electric starters. Honda's motorcycles gained popularity not only in Japan but also in international markets. The company focused on expanding its global reach and establishing manufacturing plants in various countries, including the United States, Belgium, Brazil, and Thailand. This global expansion helped Honda become one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers worldwide. Soichiro Honda recognized the value of racing as a platform to showcase the performance and reliability of his motorcycles. Honda motorcycles achieved notable success in various racing disciplines, including road racing, motocross, and endurance races. These victories helped enhance the brand's reputation and generated enthusiasm among motorcycle enthusiasts. Over the years, Honda expanded its motorcycle product range to cater to different market segments and riding preferences. The company introduced models ranging from small scooters to powerful sport bikes, adventure motorcycles, and touring bikes. This diversification strategy allowed Honda to capture a wide customer base and maintain its position as a leading motorcycle manufacturer. Honda's commitment to quality and reliability became hallmarks of their motorcycles. Soichiro Honda instilled a corporate culture that emphasized precision manufacturing, rigorous testing, and continuous improvement. This focus on quality earned Honda a reputation for producing durable and dependable motorcycles.

Soichiro Honda's motorcycle manufacturing achievements transformed the industry and propelled Honda to become a dominant force in the motorcycle market. Through his innovative approach, technological advancements, and commitment to quality, Honda motorcycles gained a loyal following worldwide. The legacy of Honda's motorcycle manufacturing success continues to thrive, with the company consistently introducing new models and pushing the boundaries of engineering excellence.

Expanding into the automobile industry

Soichiro Honda's expansion into the automobile industry was a significant milestone in the growth and success of the Honda Motor Company. In the 1960s, Soichiro Honda recognized the potential of the automobile market and decided to diversify the company's product portfolio. In 1967, Honda introduced its first mass-produced car, the Honda N360. The N360 was a small, economical car designed for urban commuting and gained popularity for its fuel efficiency, compact size, and affordability. Honda's entry into the automobile industry was characterized by its commitment to engineering excellence. Soichiro Honda's background in engineering and his passion for innovation led the company to prioritize performance, reliability, and advanced technology in their automobiles. Honda's cars were known for their efficient engines, smooth transmissions, and high-revving capabilities. Building on the success of the N360, Honda expanded its automobile product lineup to cater to various market segments. The company introduced a range of models, including compact cars, sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, minivans, and sports cars. Honda's diverse product range appealed to different customer preferences and helped establish the brand as a comprehensive automobile manufacturer. Honda became renowned for its introduction of advanced technologies in its automobiles. The company pioneered innovations such as CVCC (Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion) engines, which offered improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. Additionally, Honda was at the forefront of developing hybrid vehicles, introducing models like the Honda Insight and Honda Civic Hybrid. Honda's expansion into the automobile industry was not limited to the domestic market. The company embarked on an international expansion strategy, establishing manufacturing plants and sales networks in various countries worldwide. Honda's production facilities can now be found in countries like the United States, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, China, India, and others. Soichiro Honda had a strong environmental consciousness, and this philosophy influenced the company's approach to automobile manufacturing. Honda focused on developing more environmentally friendly vehicles, including electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The Honda Clarity, for example, was one of Honda's early ventures into fuel cell technology. Honda's expansion into the automobile industry garnered accolades and recognition. The company's vehicles received numerous awards for their design, performance, and reliability. Honda was also recognized for its commitment to safety, with many models earning top safety ratings in various crash tests.

Soichiro Honda's decision to expand into the automobile industry broadened the company's scope and established Honda as a prominent player in the global automotive market. Through their engineering prowess, technological innovations, and commitment to environmental sustainability, Honda's automobiles have become synonymous with reliability, performance, and customer satisfaction.

Innovations and technological advancements

Soichiro Honda was known for his relentless pursuit of innovation and technological advancements. He fostered a culture of innovation within the Honda Motor Company, encouraging his engineers to think creatively and push the boundaries of what was possible. Honda was a pioneer in the development and implementation of overhead camshaft (OHC) engines in motorcycles and later in automobiles. OHC engines offer better performance, higher revving capabilities, and improved fuel efficiency compared to traditional side-valve engines. Honda's OHC engines became renowned for their smooth operation, power output, and reliability. Soichiro Honda played a significant role in popularizing four-stroke engines in motorcycles. Four-stroke engines offer improved fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, and smoother power delivery compared to two-stroke engines. Honda's commitment to four-stroke technology helped establish it as a leader in the motorcycle industry. Honda introduced the VTEC system, a variable valve timing and lift mechanism, in its engines. VTEC allows engines to optimize performance by adjusting valve timing and lift based on engine speed and load conditions. This technology improves power delivery, fuel efficiency, and overall engine performance. Honda was an early adopter of continuously variable transmission (CVT) technology in automobiles. CVT offers smooth acceleration, improved fuel efficiency, and seamless gear shifting. Honda's CVT systems became popular for their responsiveness and efficiency in various vehicle models. Soichiro Honda and his company were at the forefront of hybrid vehicle development. Honda introduced one of the first mass-produced hybrid cars, the Honda Insight, in 1999. The company further advanced hybrid technology with models like the Honda Civic Hybrid and Honda Accord Hybrid. Honda's hybrid vehicles combine internal combustion engines with electric motors, providing improved fuel economy and reduced emissions. Honda has consistently incorporated advanced safety features into its vehicles. Soichiro Honda recognized the importance of safety and invested in research and development to improve vehicle safety. Honda's innovations include the Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, Honda Sensing safety suite (including features like collision mitigation braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control), and numerous active and passive safety systems. Honda expanded its technological expertise beyond automobiles and ventured into robotics and automation. Honda developed advanced humanoid robots, such as ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility), which showcased the company's engineering prowess and commitment to pushing the boundaries of robotics and artificial intelligence.

Soichiro Honda's commitment to innovation and technological advancements established Honda as a leader in the automotive industry. His vision for continuous improvement and pushing the limits of engineering excellence shaped Honda's reputation for quality, performance, and cutting-edge technology. Honda's innovations continue to influence the automotive landscape and inspire advancements in various fields.

Racing success

Soichiro Honda recognized the importance of motorsports as a platform to showcase his company's engineering capabilities and promote the Honda brand. Under his leadership, Honda achieved remarkable success in various racing disciplines. Honda made significant strides in motorcycle racing, achieving numerous victories and championships. In the 1960s and 1970s, Honda dominated the Isle of Man TT, one of the most prestigious motorcycle races in the world. Honda's racing motorcycles, powered by their advanced engines and superior performance, gained a reputation for their speed, reliability, and handling. Honda entered Formula One racing as an engine supplier in the 1960s. In the 1980s, the Honda-powered McLaren team experienced great success, winning multiple Constructors' Championships and Drivers' Championships. The partnership between Honda and McLaren produced iconic moments and legendary drivers, including Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. Honda has been a prominent engine supplier in the IndyCar series since the late 1990s. Honda-powered cars have won multiple Indianapolis 500 races and secured numerous championships in the series. Honda's engines are renowned for their power, durability, and reliability, allowing teams to compete at the highest level. Honda has also achieved success in endurance racing, including events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Honda-powered cars have competed in various endurance races, demonstrating the reliability and performance of their engines over long distances. Honda has a strong presence in motocross and off-road racing, with numerous victories in events like the Motocross World Championship and the Dakar Rally. Honda's off-road motorcycles have proven their durability, agility, and power in challenging terrain and demanding races. Honda has participated and excelled in various other racing disciplines, such as Superbike racing, Touring Car racing, and Rally racing. Honda's commitment to racing extends across multiple platforms, showcasing the brand's versatility and competitive spirit.

Soichiro Honda's emphasis on motorsports allowed his company to demonstrate technological advancements, showcase their engineering expertise, and build brand recognition. Honda's racing success not only contributed to their overall reputation but also helped inspire and influence the development of their production vehicles, transferring racing-derived technologies to consumer automobiles and motorcycles.

Corporate philosophy

Soichiro Honda's corporate philosophy laid the foundation for the values and principles that guided the Honda Motor Company. Soichiro Honda believed in the power of dreams and encouraged his employees to dream big. He emphasized the importance of setting ambitious goals, pushing boundaries, and constantly challenging oneself. This philosophy fostered a culture of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit within the company. Honda's corporate philosophy centered around the concept of the "Three Joys." These joys were the joy of buying, the joy of selling, and the joy of creating. Honda believed that by creating products that bring joy to customers, providing a positive sales experience, and deriving satisfaction from the creative process, the company could achieve long-term success. Soichiro Honda emphasized the importance of valuing and respecting every individual. He believed in creating a workplace where employees could develop their skills, express their ideas, and contribute to the company's growth. Honda fostered an inclusive and collaborative environment that encouraged teamwork and creativity. Honda's corporate philosophy emphasized the relentless pursuit of improvement. Soichiro Honda believed that success could only be achieved through continuous learning, adaptation, and improvement. He encouraged employees to embrace challenges, learn from failures, and continuously strive for excellence in all aspects of their work. Soichiro Honda had a strong commitment to environmental sustainability. He believed in developing technologies and practices that minimize the company's impact on the environment. Honda has been at the forefront of developing eco-friendly vehicles, promoting fuel efficiency, reducing emissions, and exploring alternative energy sources. Soichiro Honda believed that a company's success should go beyond financial gains and should contribute positively to society. He emphasized the importance of corporate citizenship and actively engaging in social and community activities. Honda has been involved in various philanthropic initiatives, environmental conservation efforts, and community development projects. Soichiro Honda had a global vision for his company. He recognized the importance of expanding into international markets and developing a global presence. Honda established manufacturing plants, research and development centers, and sales networks in various countries, allowing the company to serve customers worldwide.

Soichiro Honda's corporate philosophy focused on the pursuit of dreams, respect for individuals, continuous improvement, environmental responsibility, and making positive contributions to society. His values and principles shaped the company's culture and continue to guide Honda's operations and decision-making processes.


Soichiro Honda left behind a lasting legacy that continues to influence the automotive industry and inspire generations of engineers, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts. Soichiro Honda's entrepreneurial spirit and engineering prowess led to the founding of the Honda Motor Company. Under his leadership, Honda grew from a small motorcycle manufacturer to a global automotive powerhouse. His emphasis on quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction laid the foundation for the company's success. Soichiro Honda's relentless pursuit of engineering excellence and technological advancements established Honda as a leader in the industry. His innovative designs, such as overhead camshaft engines, four-stroke engines, and variable valve timing, pushed the boundaries of performance, efficiency, and reliability in both motorcycles and automobiles. Honda's racing success can be attributed to Soichiro Honda's vision and commitment to motorsports. The company's achievements in motorcycle racing, Formula One, IndyCar, and other racing disciplines brought recognition, showcased Honda's engineering capabilities, and helped build a strong brand image. Soichiro Honda instilled a unique corporate culture and philosophy within Honda. His emphasis on pursuing dreams, respecting individuals, continuous improvement, environmental responsibility, and contributing to society shaped the company's values and identity. This culture continues to influence Honda's operations and guides its decision-making processes. Soichiro Honda's global vision and commitment to international expansion established Honda as a global player in the automotive industry. The company's manufacturing presence in various countries has created job opportunities and contributed to the economic development of those regions. Soichiro Honda's environmental consciousness and commitment to sustainability were ahead of his time. His focus on developing eco-friendly technologies and reducing the environmental impact of Honda's vehicles have had a lasting influence on the industry and paved the way for further advancements in green mobility. Soichiro Honda's life and achievements continue to inspire and motivate engineers, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts around the world. His passion for engineering, relentless pursuit of innovation, and unwavering determination in the face of challenges serve as a testament to the power of perseverance, creativity, and a bold vision.

Soichiro Honda's legacy is marked by his entrepreneurial spirit, engineering excellence, technological innovations, and the enduring values he instilled within the Honda Motor Company. His contributions to the automotive industry and his impact on society as a whole have left an indelible mark, ensuring that his influence will be felt for years to come.

Soichiro Honda's entrepreneurial spirit, passion for engineering, and dedication to innovation played a pivotal role in establishing Honda as a prominent player in the automotive industry. His legacy continues to inspire engineers and enthusiasts worldwide.

In his memories, Soichiro Honda expressed his sorrow for sometimes being rude to his employees, humiliating and occasionally even slapping them in the face. This kind of aggressive leadership hurts morale, but is beneficent for the quality of the end product.

Source: Youtube, Honda Acura NSX test drive.