Jujiro Matsuda and the founding of Mazda Motors

On this day, August 8 in the year 1875, the founder of Mazda Motor Corporation was born in Hiroshima, Japan. His name was Jujiro Matsuda, an industrialist who manufactured and supplied armaments for the Tsar of Russia.

Jujiro Matsuda
Jujiro Matsuda (Credit: mazdastories.com)

Matsuda was a son of a fisherman. At the age of 14, he apprenticed in a blacksmith. In 1906, he invented a pump and when he was fired from the company, he started his shop which he called Matsuda Works, a manufacturer of armaments. His fortune rose when he supplied rifles to the Japanese Army. He was also authorized to export to Russia. In 1921, Matsuda took over the management of a cork factory. In 1927, the company was renamed Toyo Kogyo in 1927 when its primary product shifted from cork to machines. In 1931, the company produced a three wheeled vehicle with an open wagon. This vehicle called Mazdago was sold through the Mitsubishi network. The following year saw the first export of such “truck” to China. The company’s name was formally changed to Mazda, which comes from Ahura Mazda, the Persian god of harmony, intelligence and wisdom and the highest spirit worshipped in Zoroastrianism.

During the Second World War, the company was tapped to produce weapons for the Japanese Military. Luckily, the company’s factory was one of a handful of Japanese plants not heavily damaged during the war.
In 1950, Matsuda supported the establishment of a baseball team for Hiroshima. In 1951, Matsuda relinquished control of the company’s management to his son-in-law Tsuneji but he remained the chairman. The following year, he passed away.


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