Sakichi Toyoda was born in 1867, was slightly different from anyone else in the family. Instead his father to follow in the footsteps of a carpenter, he dreamed of the possibilities the perhaps will given him by the upheavals of the new Meiji government. As personal experience and the comparison are usually the best teachers, Japan's opening to foreign countries effected a fundamental change.
On the villagers in the area of a Yamaguchi assailed compulsory education, even if only for 5 years, serving in the army, taxes and parts of foreign culture. In addition, happened what the African continent e.g. threatened already for a long time, namely that products such as for example textiles were imported and sold as cheap that the previously normal self-production and the related sale was no longer profitable.
So it was no wonder that the 18-year-old Sakichi came up to the idea to take over the foreign production methods especially since the new government was making all efforts to inform the rural population of the new necessities. After all, he tried at first on wooden looms, not so very far away from the unpopular occupation of carpenter. Hard to imagine that he did it without instruction for five years.
With the opening of the country by the Meiji government, it also came to major exhibitions, such as in Japan's capital Tokyo 1890, had already more than 1.2 million inhabitants at the time. Sakichi studied in detail the looms here and came later to the conclusion, as well as during his travels that it will be very difficult for Japan to compete with foreign products.
It took a long time after the patent granting, before Sakichi could bring his company to lasting success. Too large the setbacks due to changing economic conditions and associated behaviour of his donors, mainly the company Mitsui. His cloth production, he located in Tokyo, but can not compete with the there producing, automatically machines.
In between, there was an arranged marriage by parents. But he could not take care of neither wife, nor son Kiichiro, born in 1894. Both remained in the grandparents' house. At some point the marriage ended in divorce, the grandson stayed there , the woman returned to her parents.
Sakichi sold his freshly patented reeling machine for spinning wool for his second start-up. This company was located in Nagoya, the nearest large town in the region of his native village. This time, e.g. his uncle was involved, but despite the sales successes did not exclude financial irregularities. The inventor had to face the reality.
Only in the year 1897, the resounding success came. A new marriage and the first mechanical loom made of steel, also when it was far from being comparable with foreign products. Again, it came to cooperation with Mitsui and separated as a recession shook the country. Meanwhile, Kiichiro was not a good student, but shows similar talents like his ever-absent father.
As in the new relationship of the father a daughter was born, the son from his first marriage was united with the family. It is a ambivalent relationship of the son to father where one the capabilities of the other recognized just quite late. Meanwhile, the company Toyoda Loom Works was founded, the further rationalized manufacturing of weaving looms and the shareholder Sakichi Toyoda allowed creative breaks until the next economic crisis in 1907.
Perhaps the automobile production of Toyota would never have started, Sakichi had not visited again in frustration over the course of business the United States in 1910. While cars could be seen extremely rare in Japan, one was here already well advanced with this type of mobility. Ford had not yet changed to assembly line production, but of the 250,000 cars in this year worldwide, the U.S. produced by far the largest part, e.g. Germany only about 13,000.
Toyoda was actually traveling for inspiration in the field looms and spinning machines. But here seemed to have fixed a thought which the 43-year-old made believe in the future of a car industry to be realized in Japan. The direct route after his return, however, led him far away from such plans. After all, his wife pushed through the study in mechanical engineering from Kiichiro's son at the prestigious University of Tokyo.
It is the time in which the Manchuria was exploited to a great extent. Japan also behaved otherwise rather imperialistic. After winning the war against Russia in 1904/05, Korea also became a part of Japan. The First World War saw the country also on the side of the victorious powers and then one was still trying to conquer parts of Russia after weakened by the October Revolution.
Only after the recapture in 1922, seemed to come rest. For all these activities, the military needed means of transportation but that culd not be expected of the domestic economy despite the offer of massive subsidies. Due to their inability to met the relatively high requirements of the military, gained ground, first with Ford and followed by General Motors, two foreign companies initially only with assembly plants, but what potential truck producers from Japan appeared as a horror picture. Moreover, the two made themselves even further hard competition.
The cleanup after the terrible earthquake of 1923 made even more significantly, the transportation problems. The duties were lowered and Americans remained the profiteers. Sakachi Toyoda has meanwhile organized the conditions in his Spinning & Weaving Company not just to the satisfaction of his son. Kiichiro still studied in Tokyo at the probably best university of the country, while his father adopted the future husband of his daughter, practically preferred him and made him to Managing Director.
Risaburo was now the eldest son and Kiichiro was neglected. But typical for Japan seems to be the possibility of compensation after such a hard cut. Looking into the future, also the son in law will indeed often criticize the plans of Kiichiro but does not prevent finally.
First, however, it remained for years with the production of weaving machines. With the integration of the young, well trained engineer in the company were pushed ahead their automation. It succeeded in 1924, whereupon a longer trial period followed of 320 units in a specially constructed factory. The company's growth accelerated.
Data, which played a special role in the West, in Japan appears strangely disarranged. Thus, the world economic crisis in the United States just beginning 1929, in Japan started about two years earlier. But meanwhile, the products of the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works sold so well that with the production of looms, one came rather better through the crisis than with goods which were produced on them. 06/12