Yoshisuke Aikawa and the Tobata Casting Company

The founder of the Nissan Group was Yoshisuke Aikawa (1880-1967). Born in Yamaguchi Prefecture, in 1910 he started the Tobata Casting Company in Tobata, Fukuoka, and thus helped to lay the foundations for the development of Japan’s automobile industry. Tobata Casting began casting car components in 1928, supplying them to DAT Jidosha Seizo and also to Ford and GM, which operated factories in Japan.
With the dawning of the Showa period in 1926, a government initiative led to the formation of a consortium of 3 Japanese companies (DAT Jidosha Seizo, Ishikawa Automobile Manufacturing, and Tokyo Gas and Electric Industrial Co.). However, Aikawa was determined that private enterprise should be behind the mass production of domestic cars. While acquiring DAT Jidosha Seizo shares, in 1933 he succeeded in importing from America presses, forging equipment and other machine tools.
Straight away Aikawa set up an automobile department within Tobata Casting and began producing the Datsun, for which he had the manufacturing rights. In December 1933, he established the Jidosha-Seizo Co.,Ltd., a joint venture of Nihon Sangyo (of which Aikawa was President) and Tobata Casting Company. The new company - which took the name Nissan Motor Co.,Ltd. - was located in Yokohama and had the modern facilities required for mass production.

1937 photograph of Tobata Casting Company, which gave rise to the Nissan Motor Co.,Ltd.