Days Gone By Stories from the Trailblazing Years of Yamaha Motor
Introducing the stories behind Yamaha Motor's technologies.
- These entries are an English translation of written and edited Japanese.
- The names of companies, groups, municipalities, facilities, historical events, technical terms, nicknames, etc., are as close as possible to how they were originally written and published.
- Yamaha company acronyms in the original text have been changed to more common wording.
- Entries use Western dating instead of the Japanese era name system, e.g., “Showa 30” is changed to “1955.”
- The text layout has been altered for website viewing.
- Some photographs have been either replaced or removed.
When I retired as president of Sanshin Industries Co., Ltd.—a manufacturing subsidiary of Yamaha Motor for outboard motors and marine engines—someone suggested that I write about what I had experienced over my many years as an employee in the company newsletter, something younger employees might find of interest.
However, when I sat down to do so I realized that, while I felt I gave everything I had in those days, I could only remember fragments. I never thought that the footsteps I had left behind would be so shallow in my mind and felt ashamed at how little I could dig up from my memory. Still, I thought that even fragmentary recollections of my experiences might be of some interest or a point of reference to others, so I decided to write down my fading memories—my literary skills be damned—lest they be lost in the mists of time.
The first pages of my life as a working member of society, i.e., a salaryman, began with my time at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and then joining Yamaha. The following three writings cover my time at Yamaha: Motorcycles and Me, Days Spent with Cars and Together with Outboards. They were originally published in eight bi-monthly installments in the Sanshin Industries’ company newsletter Sea Breeze beginning in November 1991. I’ve made a couple additions in this compilation of those articles.
Looking back on it now, I realize how short the life of a salaryman is. Along the way, it’s sometimes filled with anger and resentment, but other times it’s filled with emotion and burning passion.
- 1The Seven Samurai and the Red Dragonfly
- 2We Become a Motorcycle Company
- 3Creating a New Motorcycle on Our Own
- 4Our Ideals Give Birth to the YD-1
- 5Uncharted Territory: Engineering from the Ground Up
- 6The YD-1 Is Showered with Praise
- 7The First Bike with a Good Design Award
- 8Another Job to Do
- 9Another Perfect Win at Asama
- 1The Inspection Tour of Europe and the U.S.
- 2The Yasukawa Research Lab and Developing the YX-30
- 3Japan’s First Sports Car
- 4The Battle with the Tice Engine
- 5Setbacks & Comebacks
- 6A Sports Car Known to Few
- 7A Request from Toyota Motor
- 8Aiming for the Tokyo Motor Show
- 9Our Unusual Development Process Continues and We Go Racing
- 10The Toyota 2000GT Debuts with a World Record!
- 11After the Toyota 2000GT
- 1A Bolt from the Blue
- 2Doing Good for Others Is Doing Good for Oneself
- 3Starting with Developing Countries
- 4Passing Down “Looks and a Little Extra”
- 5An Unconventional Pool Changes Everything
- 6Adopting Die Casting
- 7Negotiations with the Mighty Brunswick Corporation
- 8A Joint Venture with Mercury
- 9Same Bed, Different Dreams
- 10A Market Valuing Fairness & Freedom
- 11Fruits of the Joint Venture
- 12By the President’s Order: Plan N
- 13Off to America at Last: The Market We’d Always Dreamed Of
- 14Developing Our First V-Engines
- 15Superiority through Durability
- 16Light Weight and Compactness Are Paramount
- 17Skills and Technology Nobody Else Can Copy
- 18The Finishing Touches: Our U.S. Market Debut
- 19Chicago and IMTEC in 1983
- 20Our American Baptism by Fire
- 21What We Learned in the Land of Recreation
- 22Success in the Market We’d Dreamed Of
- 23The Next Market: Stern Drives
- 24The Curtain Rises: The Boatbuilder Acquisition Drama
- 25Signals of Impending Danger for Yamaha
- 26Japanese-American Stern Drives
- 27Weather the Recession and Create Pioneering Products