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Soichiro Honda

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Young Soichiro Honda
Soichiro Honda
Soichiro Honda Senna, Prost

Sōichirō Honda (本田 宗一郎, Honda Sōichirō, November 17, 1906 – August 5, 1991) was a Japanese engineer and industrialist, and founder of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.. Soichiro was born in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan.

Honda spent his early childhood helping his father, Gihei, a blacksmith, with his bicycle repair business. At the time his mother, Mika, was a weaver. At 15, without any formal education, Honda left home and headed to Tokyo to look for work. He obtained an apprenticeship at a garage in 1922, and after some vacillation over his employment, he stayed for six years, working as a car mechanic before returning home to start his own auto repair business in 1928 at the age of 22.

In 1937 Honda began producing piston rings for small engines which lead to manufacturing small engines to be used in motorcycles, and then in 1948 he started producing complete motorcycles as president of the Honda Motor Company. Honda turned the company into a billion-dollar multinational that produced the best-selling motorcycles in the world. Honda's excellent engineering and clever marketing resulted in Honda motorcycles out-selling Triumph and Harley-Davidson in their respective home markets. In 1959 Honda Motorcycles opened its first dealership in the United States.

Honda remained president until his retirement in 1973, stayed on as director, and was appointed "supreme adviser" in 1983. His legendary status was such that People magazine placed him on their "25 Most Intriguing People of the Year" list for 1980, dubbing him "the Japanese Henry Ford." In retirement Honda busied himself with work connected with the Honda Foundation. He died in 1991 from liver failure.

Quotes

"I could not understand how it could move under its own power. And when it had driven past me, without even thinking why I found myself chasing it down the road, as hard as I could run"

--Soichiro Honda

If you hire only those people you understand, the company will never get people better than you are. Always remember that you often find outstanding people among those you don't particularly like"

--Soichiro Honda

"Success is 99 percent failure"

--Soichiro Honda

"Success represents the 1% of your work which results from the 99% that is called failure"

--Soichiro Honda

"The value of life can be measured by how many times your soul has been deeply stirred"

--Soichiro Honda

"There is a Japanese proverb that literally goes 'Raise the sail with your stronger hand,' meaning you must go after the opportunities that arise in life that you are best equipped to do"

--Soichiro Honda