Soichiro Honda

Soichiro Honda was born on November 17, 1906, in Komyo Village (now Tenryu City), Iwata County, Shizuoka Prefecture, as the eldest son of Gihei Honda and his wife Mika. Gihei was a skilled and honest blacksmith \and Mika an accomplished weaver. The family was poor but Soichiro’s upbringing was happy, even though his parents were insistent about the need for basic discipline. It was thanks to the thorough education he received from his father that Mr. Honda, despite his freewheeling, irrepressible personality, hated nothing more than inconveniencing others and was always punctual about keeping appointments. He also inherited from his father his inborn manual dexterity and his curiosity about machines.

hondaAfter a while Gihei opened a bicycle shop. Bicycles were at last starting to become really popular in Japan and when people asked Gihei to repair their machines, he sensed a business opportunity. As well as working as a blacksmith he put his natural skills and willingness to learn to good effect, repairing second-hand bicycles and re-selling them at competitive prices. From this moment his business began to be seen as the best bicycle store in the neighborhood.

When he was about to leave higher elementary school, Soichiro Honda saw an advertisement for Tokyo Art Shokai, an automobile servicing company, in a magazine called Bicycle World (Ringyo no sekai). The ad itself was not for bicycles but for “Manufacture and Repair of Automobiles, Motorcycles and Gasoline Engines”. Even as a toddler Honda had been thrilled by the first car that was ever seen in his village and often used to say in later life that he could never forget the smell of oil it gave off. So it is easy to imagine that when young Honda saw the ad he immediately decided that he had to work at Art Shokai.