Sorry to keep you wondering about Nakamura
On this day, after finishing lunch, when Nakamura returned to his seat, he found a memo left there telling him to come to the site director’s office. Separating the factory and two paths, the director and others had their offices in the business department on the opposite side, but Eiji TOYODA and Shoichi SAITO [not sure on his first name, it may be different], the two executive directors who controlled the engineering department, were in a little wooden building a small distance away, where there were many site directors' offices. The positively-acting Nakamura, who had much contact with the director’s colleagues, came and went often to the engineering director’s desk in the site director’s office. Because of that, he was thinking that this time also would just be a small business meeting, probably a talk about the status of the body factory this year, as he opened the door. Eiji and Saito were waiting with sullen faces.
Toyota, as you know, is the Toyoda family’s company. The original president was Rizaburo TOYODA, the adopted son-in-law of Sakichi TOYODA, called Japan’s king of invention, who built his fortune with automatic looms. But, the one who essentially made Toyota was the 2nd president, Sakichi’s oldest son Kiichiro TOYODA. Eiji was his cousin. Eiji, born in 1913 (Taisho
2), was 38 at this time, 18 years younger than Kiichiro. Kiichiro’s oldest boy, who later succeeded Eiji as president, Shoichiro, also entered into the company. With this kind of relationship between everyone, Toyota family members were just called Eiji-san and Shoichiro-san. After Eiji graduated form Tokyo University’s [called Todai for short] Mechanical Engineering department, he soon entered Toyota Motors; in 1945 (Showa 20), at the young age of 32, he succeeded Kiichiro as company director and became the one essentially in charge of the engineering section.
Saito, who helped Eiji, graduated from Tohoku University after studying metallurgy and continued research, but he also entered Toyota, pulled in by Kiichiro. Following Kiichiro Toyoda’s retirement in 1950 (Showa 25), Ishida Taizou, who assumed the title of president, left everything from the engineering department, from automotive design/development to manufacturing, completely to the discretion of Eiji and Saito.
Inside the site director’s office, are the desks of Eiji and Saito. Also inside, there is a long table with benches facing each other placed on either side. Far from a sofa you’d find in the reception rooms of today’s businesses and director’s offices where you receive guests, it’s a plain wooden bench. Nakamura sat down on this seat facing Eiji and Saito. What Eiji said next wasn’t what Nakamura expected.