Soichiro Honda was a Japanese engineer and industrialist who founded Honda in 1946.
Honda was born on November 17, 1906, in Komya Village, Iawata County, Shizuoka Prefecture. He was the eldest son of Gihei (his father) and Mika (his mother) Honda. Gihei was a blacksmith, and Mika was a weaver. Honda spent a lot of his childhood helping his father with his bicycle repair business. In 1922, Honda was fifteen years old and left his home to start an apprenticeship at Art Shokai, an automobile repair shop in Tokyo.
Honda's apprenticeship lasted from 1922 until 1928. Upon completing his apprenticeship, he returned to his hometown as a master mechanic. He later established a branch of Art Shokai in Hamamatsu, Japan, an area in the same prefecture in which he had grown up.
In 1937, Honda established his own company, Tohai Seiki Company, which specialized in manufacturing piston rings for engines. He sold those pistons to already-established automobile manufacturers in Japan, such as Toyota. The business faced difficulties associated with World War II, such as bombings, leading Honda to sell what remained after the war and establish a new business: Honda Technical Research Institute.
With this new company, Honda leveraged surplus generator motors and retrofitted them to bicycles to create what is now known as a motorcycle. By 1947, Honda's motorcycle was being mass-produced. A year later, Honda and his business partner, Takeo Fujisawa, cofounded The Honda Motor Company, which would go on to become one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in the world. Honda expanded his company and opened a Honda Motorcycles dealership in 1959.
Honda remained president of the company until 1973, when he retired.After he retired, Honda remained a director at Honda Motor Company and was also named a "supreme advisor" in 1983. He also established the Honda Foundation in 1977 to aid with research for science and technology.
Honda received different awards and honors in recognition of his achievements and contributions to engineering. In 1982, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) established the Soichiro Honda Medal, which is awarded to individuals or entities that demonstrate significant engineering contributions in the personal transportation industry. In 1989, Honda was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, which is located in the United States.
Honda passed away on August 5, 1991, from liver failure. Hpe received a posthumous honor of the senior third rank in the order of precedence and was appointed a Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.
SOICHIRO HONDA: King of the Motorcycles (Full Documentary)
December 19, 2020