>> Tuesday, July 5, 2011
A maverick in a country not known for its willingness to accept nonconformists, Soichiro Honda (1906-1991) created an automobile giant despite the opposition of the Japanese government. One of his company's cars, the Accord, was a best-selling model in the American market.
The first son of blacksmith Gihei Honda and his wife Mika, Soichiro Honda was born on November 17, 1906, in rural Iwata-gun, Japan. In 1922 he graduated from the Futamata Senior Elementary School and began his career as an apprentice auto repairman for Arto Shokai, after which he established a branch shop for the firm in Hamamatsu. Honda also participated in auto races and became interested in cars and motorcycles.
Soon he was experimenting with engines, and in 1928 he organized the Tohai Seiki Company to manufacture piston rings, some of which were sold to Toyota. During the 1930s it seemed his would become one of the hundreds of small shops that supplied the major companies in what still was a small domestic market.