Jujiro Matsuda is the man who founded a company known as Mazda Motor Corporation today.
Growing up and spending his early years in an environment that was
far from peaceful and well-endowed, Jujiro was constantly driven by his passion for manufacturing.
Read on to learn more about his life and philosophy that shaped Mazda’s DNA celebrated by all those involved with the company over the course of a century.
Years of adolescence: growing passion for manufacturing when Jujiro realized his desire to dedicate his life to the machine industry.
Jujiro Matsuda was born in 1875 in Hiroshima as the youngest of 12 siblings. Unable to attend school, he moved to Osaka at age 13 to work and live with a blacksmith. During his tenure, he realized that he wanted to dedicate his life to the machine industry. Driven by a desire to learn advanced engineering skills, he began to work with different factories including shipyards and arsenals. To learn more about machinery and manufacturing, he used work breaks to visit and learn from other factories.
Introducing "the Exclusive Patented Matsuda Pump" produced in a cowshed-turned factory.
Jujiro founded "Matsuda Seisakusho" in Osaka at age 31 by renting a tiny, 33 square meter cowshed. Business did not go as planned; Jujiro had setbacks when he learned that a product he spent years on development was already on the market, but that did not deter his determination. He studied existing products by breaking them down into pieces, made some modifications and introduced "the Exclusive Patented Matsuda Pump".
True to his belief that quality machinery was essential to producing products that delighted users, he aggressively imported and introduced the most advanced manufacturing machines from overseas.
"Lifetime Dedication to a Single Business": a revelation after the tragic fire that burnt down the entire factory.
In 1918, in his mid-40s, Jujiro went back to Hiroshima and founded "Hiroshima Matsuda Seisakusho". By this time, he was widely respected as a successful business person. 2 years later, he was persuaded to join ailing Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd. Even though the company did not operate in his specialized sector, Jujiro stood up to a new challenge. Determined to revive the company, he came up with new product ideas, including manufacturing of compressed cork board. After being appointed President of Toyo Cork Kogyo to succeed the former President who was forced to retire due to illness, he struggled to produce a new cork product that could be used as a thermal insulating and shock absorption material. The new product’s success helped the company to get back on track.
Toyo Cork Kogyo’s business success, however, was short lived. In 1925, the entire factory was destroyed by fire. Faced with huge debts, Jujiro was further shocked by loss of employees by the fire. Reflecting on this grave incident, he reconnected with his passion and was determined to rebuild the company by shifting business to what he excelled at – the machine industry, with a motto "lifetime dedication to a single business". To showcase his determination, he renamed the company Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd.
Entry to three-wheeled trucks manufacturing business to give back to society.
The time was ripe for automobile business. Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 turned public attention to automobile as a means of transportation. Jujiro found a business opportunity in three-wheeled truck manufacturing. Cheaper and more accessible than expensive four-wheel automobile, Jujiro focused on three-wheeled trucks as a way to make a contribution to "improving the quality of people’s lives and the development of my country". While other domestic manufacturers relied on overseas-manufactured engines and other key parts, Jujiro insisted on in-house manufacturing of as many parts as possible and devoted his time and attention to research and development with engineers. His untiring effort paid off when mass-production three-wheeled trucks were completed and introduced to the market. The three-wheeled truck was named "Matsuda Go", after Jujiro’s family name. The name "MAZDA" began to be used around this time.
Philosophy behind the Corporate Mark.
Toyo Kogyo’s corporate mark is a combination of a circle, a symbol of the earth, and the Chinese character "工" that stands for industry and engineering, demonstrating Jujiro’s commitment to "make a contribution to the world by what we do best – machine industry". His philosophy of using the engineering expertise to give back to society and the relentless pursuit of technological excellence is kept alive in Mazda Motor Corporation to this day.
Born in a poor family, leaving home to work at a very young age and tossed by the whims of fate, Jujiro Matsuda said, in retrospect, that "it was a word "faith" that kept me going at what I was most passionate about". Having faith in his own capabilities, having faith in others and in heaven gave him confidence to face failures, prosper with others and ultimately enjoy success.
The founder’s life and spirit continue to thrive in Mazda Motor Corporation today – a car company that celebrates the unwavering spirit, defies convention and dares to challenge.