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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:44 pm 
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:shock: I'm still wondering! What will happen to Nakamura? The suspense is killing me! :lol:

FYI - Yes, you got Shoichi Saito's name correct! :tu:

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:38 pm 

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Sorry this took so long. It's been like two weeks! I edited it a bit, so it took a while.
-----------------------------------------------------------

For a single person to own a car, outside of very wealthy people or entrepreneurs, was something that would be unlikely to ever cross your mind. Until this time, the passenger cars that Toyota produced all used truck frames, so the comfort and ride quality of these cars weren’t very good. Since the demand for private-use cars was very small, and the majority used taxis, the cars they made only needed to be sturdy to sell well. However, it was becoming so that they couldn’t just keep making the same kind of car. Along with the economic recovery, the country went from a period where if you built it, you could sell it, to a period that demanded more than just competitive quality. Therefore, they wanted to develop a real passenger car, something totally different from the cars they made up to now. As for Nakamura, they wanted him to be the person in charge of the development project, from the planning of the car to production.

The passenger car engine that Toyota developed at that time was the S-type 1000cc engine that was shared with trucks, but starting the year before, they started development of the 1500cc R-type engine. The development plan for the passenger car the RH, equipped with this engine, was also progressing, and they expected to sell it by the next year. This car, following in the line of current cars, also used a truck frame, but demand for use as a taxi was anticipated. The SD, SF and following cars all had their new bodies made by body makers associated with Toyota. With the line of cars planned, they decided on a plan to mass produce this concept passenger car at a new main factory [called the Honsha facility]. However, the plan for this new car was the big project whose outcome would totally influence the future of Toyota.

Car design from this period was done in the engineering department’s design section, whose drawings are made into parts and used on a test car, made in the testing section. To make the car successful during production, test runs are performed on a test car and improvements are made. The test runs are done by the testing section. Through this process, the development of such a car is done by all the sections of the engineering department.

The car body factory where Nakamura was a vice-director was the so-called place of production, meaning that it was that factory’s job to make the body of the developed car. Therefore, although he was an engineer, car design was an unrelated job for Nakamura, so being put in charge of the development of a new car was a completely unheard-of affair.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:00 am 
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Nice job as always Larry! :tu: :D

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:08 pm 

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Here's the next page!

------------------------------------------------

Yet, Nakamura didn’t rotate jobs over to the design section. It was a position that didn’t previously exist at Toyota up to then, it was given the title of “Vehicle Development Shusa.” [the term Shusa will be explained later] In Toyota at that time, the title “Shusa” was used in cases where the chief’s line of work was associated with a different organization. However, the use of “Shusa” for Nakamura was special.

A shusa, to use a simpler term, is a project leader. However, people involved in this project weren’t separated from their various positions and grouped together, it was decided that people involved with the project would stay in the positions they had. In short, a shusa is someone who makes people from other departments and sections work for their personal objectives. This unique shusa system of Toyota’s was created here, but I want to touch on this again in more detail in a later chapter.

Nakamura couldn’t hide his surprise over what Eiji and Saito said. Since it was decided that the entire car, including the car body, would be produced at the Honsha plant, for Nakamura to even be involved with this project, much less become the chief of development of the whole car, including the chassis as well as the body, was truly shocking.

Car makers everywhere at the time were focused on producing trucks; no one was planning to develop a true passenger car. Or possibly, it’s possible that Toyota didn’t know about some development that was happening, but if they started at that point, it would likely be too late. A huge sum, climbing into the trillions, was invested; for this project that developed a car different from previous ones, people were needed that show strong leadership. Because they were going somewhere that had never been tread on, these had to be people who personally took the lead and blazed a trail.  Eiji and Saito looked over all of Toyota and chose Nakamura.

Nakamura had already for some time been advocating that Toyota should be more active in starting to make a passenger car. However, development of a car takes a lot of time and money, and it goes without saying that it comes with great risk. Therefore, the thought that the company operation of focusing on truck production was a safe plan was deeply rooted throughout Toyota. Especially considering that two years earlier Toyota’s labor union experienced problems with job cuts, with car development as something the engineering department people did for fun, many people thinking that focusing on that kind of thing would once again cause problems with the company management.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:13 am 
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Truely fascinating! I'm glad we can get this 'inside' view of what it was like back then.
I hope others are enjoying this story as much as I do. :tu:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:59 pm 

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LarryW, you're awesome man!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:04 pm 

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Thanks S/Tank!
Also, I haven't disappeared, just busy lately, but I finally did another page.

***************************************

Nakamura refuted this head-on. Car makers from now on should focus on developing cars, but companies who didn’t have that kind of development power wouldn’t progress that way, he thought. In reality, though, passenger car production was about 80% of total production in America, and in Europe it comprised more than 50 percent. Thinking of the future, his assertion that they needed to actively invest in establishing an automobile mass production system was unfolding.

Nakamura even emphasized this point to OONO Shuji [not sure on this name], the prominent executive director of the business group at the left hand of president Ishida. This was about 2 years before the plan for the crown started. After listening carefully to this assertion of Nakamura’s, Oono asked, “How much is the development of this car that you talk about going to cost?”

Nakamura immediately answered “Probably about 2.5 billion yen.” At the time, they only had 6000 employees, less than 10% the scale of Toyota today.

“I don’t think Toyota of today can’t come to grips with something costing that much, you know? You need a more realistic figure,” Oono replied with a look of shock. However, Nakamura didn’t step down one bit. “No, if we don’t develop this car, the company will go bankrupt, and eventually we have to realize this.”

Nakamura didn’t lower his tone after that, either. “To say ‘Don’t build the car’ is to destroy Toyota; it’s the same as saying it’s ok for Shepherd’s-purse to grow in the Toyota factory.” [Shepherd’s purse is a type of weed/flower that gets its name from the triangular shaped seed pods (picture here). In Japan, the name pen-pen grass (ぺんぺん草) is used because of the seed pod’s similarity to a Shamisen’s pick. Pen-pen is the sound that the pick makes when playing.] This was one of Nakamura’s unique qualities: there were people who would look shocked as if thinking “He’s still talking!” but Nakamura didn’t care.

Having given those reasons, when Eiji and Saito were informed of the talk about the plan for a new car, they figured they should give it to Nakamura, since it was his idea. Because of that, he said things like “I can’t do something like that.” and “There must be someone better for the job.” At Toyota, there was a tendency for people to be given the jobs that they take the initiative to speak out about. It’s like the phrase says, “Start from high places.” [the phrase “隗より始めよ”is used here]

Nakamura, having finished listening to their brief story, asked “Do the big shareholders know about this plan?” Eiji quickly understood that “big shareholders” meant former president TOYODA Kiichiro. “Of course,” Eiji replied.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:45 am 
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Excellent! :tu: :D
And so we add another page to the exciting tale of Nakamura and the development of the Crown.
Now you've got me wondering what will come next... how involved will Kiichiro become ... 8)

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:58 pm 

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Hey guys,
Sorry for the long absence, but here's the next page!
------------------------------------------------------------------

Nakamura was wondering how serious this really was. While thinking about it, he started wondering, and wanted to be sure of to what degree this had progressed to, and whether it was something he would have to give all his strength to from the start. That plan, by all rights, was so important that executive director Eiji had unified the engineering department and was making him the chief. Of course, in the end, Eiji would probably take responsibility, but with that in mind, the goal was for the person in charge to designate someone else as the one in control, because there’s the possibility that along the way, an interruption might come from somewhere, Nakamura thought.

Toyota and Nissan both became great automakers, but Toyota was known as the original Toyoda family company. Before and during the war at Toyota, that was especially so, and to Nakamura, having been with the company since that time, that idea hadn’t changed for him. By his thinking, it didn’t matter what Eiji and Saito’s plans were, if the retired Kiichiro voiced his differences, those plans could change. In June of 1950 (Showa 25), Kiichiro quit the role of president under the auspices of taking responsibility for labor strikes. It was expected that his successor, Ishida, would be like a relief pitcher, and later on Kiichiro could come back. Even Ishida himself, following Kiichiro’s ideas, wanted to work towards healthy financial standings and then step back. Nakamura recognized that the will of Kiichiro was the will of Toyota, and Eiji and Saito were carrying that will out. Therefore, Nakamura was worried about whether or not Kiichiro agreed with him becoming chief. In short, if Kiichiro agreed with it, Nakamura got the sense that they were telling him to take this project seriously! Of course, just from the way Eiji was talking, he got the sense to proceed with this project seriously.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:14 pm 
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Ooh goodie... you were just letting the suspense build, right? :)

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:50 pm 
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Cool! :tu: Thanks Larry, I knew you didn't forget us! :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:48 pm 

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Alright, end of chapter 1!
-------------------------------------

After some time had passed, Nakamura asked, “What should I do now?” By asking this question, Nakamura understood what Eiji and Saito were asking of him, and agreed to his responsibilities as chief. All along, it seemed like Eiji never thought of rejecting Nakamura. Since he was young, he thought about the company, and when he made up his mind, he wouldn’t say what he decided. After thinking about it, he talked to Saito and nominated Nakamura. How should his decision-making be put to work for the company? Eiji was always aware of it, and he spoke out and acted on it.

The only thing they had decided was that the 1500cc R-type engine would be used in a small car.

If you look at the developments of the time, passenger cars were mainly made to be taxis, but in the near future, the possibility that the share of personal-use cars would increase was high. However, since it was impossible make plans for something with no present demand, it became a passenger car that was assumed would be used as a taxi. In that case, what kind of car should they make?

Eiji and Saito didn’t say anything definitive, because it didn’t make sense for them to have an idea and say, “How about if we make it like this?” They didn’t want to restrict the direction of the car with hastily made proposals. The Toyota way is for the person taking responsibility to be able to freely research, thinking about and decide themselves.

At the time, since model changes were decided about every 4 years, development time was already determined, but at any rate, this was the first mass-produced passenger car development. If you think about the developments of the other car makers, you want to make things as soon as possible, but if you hastily make the car, problems start happening, and you worry that you set a low standard for passengers cars. For Toyota, it was a project with many unknown factors. The outlook wasn’t set, but the goal of a development time of ‘about 3 years’ was set. Of course, to Nakamura, 3 years was an unknown amount of time, and he wondered if he could really do it in that time. However, at any rate, he had to work on it with all his strength.

Nakamura talked to Eiji and Saito in the director’s office for about an hour. Nakamura, returning to the body factory after talking to them, went back to his desk as if nothing had happened and continued his regular work. He didn’t tell anyone about the meeting, so for a while almost no one knew that plans to build a new passenger car had started. They only found out after executive director Eiji formally announced it.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:01 pm 
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Wow. Just wow. Man, I am so glad I discovered this forum. There is so little written in English about the Japanese auto industry during the post-war years. This is like a treasure trove. Thank you, MechSpec for translating, and toyotageek for finding the book and making it available. This is riveting stuff.

Since you said you welcome feedback, there is one thing I want to point out. Sometimes you give a name in western order, with the given name first and the family name second, and sometimes you give it in Japanese order with the family name first. Since it's being translated into English, western order is probably the correct way to render the names.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:40 pm 

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Lincoln Stax - I'm glad you like the translation. I didn't know there was such a shortage of info on this stuff. Also, I think you're right. I'll go back and fix the names.
Here's the next page.
--------------------------------------
Chapter 2 – What kind of car to make?

Kenya Nakamura, for a while afterward, continued to work at his desk in the car body factory. Even with future car body production, there were things he continued having to do, but he had to quickly start working on the new project.

First, a solid concept for the car had to be chosen. After deciding that, it had to become a detailed plan. When that happens, naturally, people will be chosen for a planning department to work on the project, but for the time being, working by himself gave him no problems.

Nakamura thought that the only reason he was chosen as chief for the new project was because he took the bull by the horns when it came to car body production. It may seem apparent, but when developing a mass produced car, you have to first take ease of production into account. For this case, when the body, chassis, and engine are split into three groups, the body production becomes the biggest problem. The engine and chassis are seen from the perspective of how they’ve performed in trucks and other vehicles up to now, but the body isn’t like that. The speed of body production is the deciding factor for the ability to produce it.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:59 pm 
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Whoops! :roll: I must of overslept, as I missed replying to the previous entry (end of chapter 1). :oops:

Firstly I gotta thank Larry for finishing chapter 1 ~ :tu:  
ラリーさん ありがとうございます。 

Secondly, よろしくお願いします for continuing this project and bringing us chapter 2 ~ :tu:

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:16 pm 
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Here. here. Thanks Larry! :tu:

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:42 pm 
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MechSpec wrote:
I didn't know there was such a shortage of info on this stuff.

In English there is. It's like hen's teeth. So thanks for the hard work. And thanks for the new page. The suspense continues to build!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:06 pm 

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Hi guys, sorry for the long wait. I finally got through the next page!

-------------------------------
Up to this point, there were differing opinions about the plan and place of production. The drawings that the planning department made didn’t take production efficiency into consideration, so there were many complaints that it was going to be difficult to do. In this case, there were lots of veteran craftsmen at the production plant, while on the other hand, the planning department consisted mainly of young engineers fresh out of college without much experience, so there were many times where the craftsmen had their way at the production plant. However, with Nakamura, who thoroughly knew the factory, standing between the two sides, there was a good chance that he would carry things out smoothly.
Nakamura joined Toyota in September 1938 (Showa 13); at the time he was 38, the same age as Eiji.
In 1934 (Showa 9), Nakamura graduated from the Electrical Department of Nagaoka Technical College, and the first company he worked at was the “Joint Automotive Works” factory. 4 companies who sold Chrysler vehicles financed and made this company with the goal of producing a passenger car in Japan. Having graduated as an electrical engineer, there must have been several positions for him at electronics companies like Toshiba or Hitachi, but Nakamura didn’t choose that path. Nakamura had entered this company because ever since he was a child he had liked cars, and he thought it would be boring if he wasn’t able to put all his strength towards them.
When he went to college, he chose Electrical Engineering after investigating which field out of all of science and technology would be the one where he could learn the most fundamentals. For example, when you enter Electrical engineering, you are able to learn the fundamentals in each field of engineering unlike Mechanical Engineering, which has more than 2 or 3 courses on just machine mechanics. It would be good to study because you can solidly learn physics and math, which form the fundamentals, and then you can learn all the other things once you enter the company, Nakamura thought. There were probably very few people who thought about all of this in order to pick their course of study.
Since he was a child, Nakamura would carefully choose his words when talking to people. He was from Nishi-no-miya city in Hyogo Prefecture , and his father worked as a teacher at an elementary school, and was the principal of the school when he died at age 55. When he thought of education, he would think his father with admiration, who always studied diligently. His father was secretly opposed to the fact that if you’re just given the title of college professor despite not studying an academic field, you would tend to be thought of as a higher-ranking member of society than an elementary school principal. Having a strongly righteous view from the time he was a child, he thought that a person’s value shouldn’t be determined just by their title and occupation.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:41 pm 
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The more I read, the more Nakamura-san sounds like a very interesting person. Thanks for translating and posting it up. I also liked the inline link to Google maps.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:43 pm 
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Oh Yeah! Larry comes through with another installment! Thank you sir!

What I get out of this story, is not only what was going on during these early developmental years of Toyota, but it gives us a glimpse into the overall mindset and philosphy of the men that made up Toyota (as well as countless other companies) during this time.

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