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Feb 25 / Jonathan

Why “Toyota”

I knew that Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda had named his company Toyota, and have had the vague impression that he did so because he thought it sounded better.

Bill Poser elaborates on a nice BBC account of the story. Pretty interesting, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

2 Comments

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  1. Loren / Feb 26 2010

    My surmise has been that for high-tech products, old traditional Japanese family names were set the wrong tone and something more Western was desirable. Nissan was Datsun in the old days (the “Ni” of Nissan is the “Ni” of Nippon).
    Best example would be Bridgestone Tire founded by Mr. Ishibashi where in the English name he reverse the order (ishi=stone, bashi=bridge). Of course, Honda is the exception, but he was a true revolutionary type, and it does happen to sound fairly modern and global like Sony.

  2. Jonathan / Feb 26 2010

    OTOH, Toyota doesn’t sound very western.

    Matsushita (under the pine(s)?) abandoned its corporate name quite recently in favor of its Panasonic brand (I recall them using National a lot c. 1960, at least in Japan).

    My favorite Japanese car name, in the context of translation, is Subaru.

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