Soichiro Honda (1906-1991), the founder of Honda Motor Company was a maverick who gave the world best technological advancements under the most pressing constraints.

The Early Years

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 side-line. Soichiro Honda left elementary school in April 1922 at the age of fifteen and joined Art Shokai as an apprentice in Tokyo. Here, Mr. Honda worked hard to extend and deepen his understanding of automobile engineering and amazed everyone by the extent of his expertise.

One day in September 1946, Soichiro Honda came across a generator engine designed for a wireless radio from the former Imperial Army. When Mr. Honda saw it, he was immediately inspired with an idea. It was a moment of destiny.

The Spirit of Innovation

Moving forward with grit and relentless determination, Soichiro Honda established Honda Motor Co. Ltd, on September 24, 1948, in Itaya-cho, Hamamatsu. In 1949, Takeo Fujisawa, who became Soichiro Honda's lifetime partner came aboard as managing director. Mr. Takeo Fujisawa looked after the commercial side of the new enterprise while Mr. Honda solely focussed on designing and testing for many decades to come.

Mr. Honda established the TT Race Headquarters in 1955, and with his engineers, started to develop Honda’s first racing engine. The first generation of Honda's racing laboratories on wheels was at Asama. With the spirit and determination of Soichiro Honda behind them, in 1959, the Honda team arrived at the Isle of Man Races.

A visionary with the challenging spirit, Mr. Honda wanted a team to dedicatedly work on research and development of world-class products. He spun off the Honda R&D Co. Ltd in 1960 that combined the talents of experts from many fields. Thanks to his vision for Honda Motor Company Ltd, Honda launched its first mini passenger automobile, the N360, on October 21, 1966 followed by the launch of several iconic Honda models.

Honda tastes global success

When the tide was high, Mr. Soichiro Honda embarked on a number of his own projects, displaying exceptional expertise in technical innovation. The products engineered by Honda were an instant hit in Japan and eventually in global markets. He even hand-built racing cars which notched up a string of victories on the Japanese circuit.

Mr. Soichiro Honda remained the President of the company until his retirement in 1973. Thereafter, he continued as the Director and was then appointed as the "Supreme Advisor" in 1983. Mr. Honda always stayed connected with the Honda Foundation till his last years.