Meet Mr. Soichiro Honda,

the founder of one of Honda, the world's mightiest motor corporations.

The Early Days

Mr. Soichiro Honda was born in Hamamatsu, in the Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan, in 1906. His father owned a blacksmith's shop and repaired bicycles as a sideline.

As a teenager, Soichiro Honda was apprenticed to a car repair shop in Tokyo, but business was slack as there were few cars in the city at that time.

However, this changed after the devastation of the 1923 earthquake. The Japanese government decided to invest in mechanised mass transit.

To his luck, Mr. Honda found his services in heavy demand.

Partnering for Success

A partner, Mr. Takeo Fujisawa, looked after the commercial side of the new enterprise, leaving Mr. Honda free to design and test.

In the early days, they worked out of a tiny rented factory, often going for months without engaging in serious business discussions, each having total faith in the other's ability to handle his own domain.

They worked like this for almost four decades, even when the Honda company had established itself as a major multi-national business. Both retired from active participation in the company in 1973.

A New Beginning

Not one to give up, Mr. Soichiro Honda then studied metallurgy, and started a business producing engine parts.

After the devastation of World War II, Mr. Honda revived his business by fitting war surplus engines to bicycles. The intuitive and innovative former mechanic focused on designing and manufacturing products which appealed to him, starting with motorcycles. In 1948, the company-which was to become a global giant-took root as Japan's post-war economy took its first bold steps towards expansion.

Spirit of Innovation

During this relatively prosperous time, Soichiro Honda embarked on a number of his own projects, displaying an exceptional gift in technical innovation. He even hand-built racing cars which notched up a string of victories on the Japanese circuit.

Founding his own business in the 1930s, Soichiro Honda tested his talents behind the wheel of a racing car, but an accident effectively ended his career as a competitive driver.