AutoMazda: a history of overcoming and tradition

Mazda: a history of overcoming and tradition

No one will ever forget the moment in which the second plane hit one of the Twin Towers, nor will the date on which it happened disappear. That attack changed the paradigm of our society, the way we travel and led to dramatic consequences in Spanish territory . We all remember what we were doing on March 11, 2004 . The youngest were heading to school while the capital got going, it was full rush hour. That feeling will not disappear with the passage of time, it will be part of our character, choices and reactions. Mazda was born a hundred years ago in Hiroshima, a city inextricably linked with the devastating past of the atomic bombs. The devastation resulting from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed the course of the current wars, but also the native society. Since then, the struggle and improvement are part of the mental scheme of its citizens and companies like Mazda.

In 1929 Hiroshima was the seventh largest city in Japan . In it was Toyo Kogyo, a manufacturer of materials derived from cork. At that precise moment, its president, Jujiro Matsuda, was preparing to make the leap to vehicle production. In this article we tell you about Mazda’s history as a car builder, a legacy of innovation, beauty and respect for the environment. The Mazda-Go motorcycle car was introduced in 1931 and soon enjoyed the success that allowed the company to pursue its goal. An oath that is present in the Toyo Kogyo logo and that is passed on to Mazda employees: “to contribute to the world through manufacturing”.

Devastation came

Just fifteen years after its founding as an automobile manufacturer, the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima. On August 6, 1945, human beings became aware of their power of annihilation . The strategy of mutual assured destruction managed to balance the forces, avoiding the use of a force that would only result in the end of the world. In Hiroshima, however, the stories are personal and familiar . That same day, Jujiro Matsuda, founder of Mazda, had his birthday.

Japanese custom dictates that on birthday children one must cut their hair, so Matsuda got up very early on August 6. They estimate that around 7:30 am the Enola Gay B-29 bomber passed over their heads and the impact of the bomb took place at 8:16 am . At that moment, the founder was returning from his hairdresser, far from the city. Chance, or fate, wanted him to be at a sufficient distance from the terrible Little Boy (bomb that fell in Hiroshima). His vehicle was hit by the blast wave but survived. Fortuna that did not have her little son.

Spirit of overcoming

Thousands of Japanese perished that distant day. The devastation was almost total and the aftermath is still present. The coronavirus crisis can bring us, minimally, to the dramatic situation of a country hit by two nuclear bombs. We take for granted the economic and social depression that we will face, globally, after the passage of the virus. However, Hiroshima took charge of his fate . The population came together and businesses flourished under the impulse of a society that was not far behind.

The writer John Hersey visited the city a year later. His book Hiroshima recreates an atmosphere of struggle as “an almost euphoric community spirit , similar to that of Londoners after the German bombings, a sense of pride in the way they and the other survivors had passed that horrible test.” Mazda has a name for that spirit: Mukainada . It is the name of the district in which the company was founded and which suffered little damage as it was far from the epicenter of the impact. Far from gloating over its luck, Mazda took on the responsibility of helping to rebuild and rebuild the city .

From manufacturers to doctors

Mount Hijiyama significantly reduced the blast damage from the Little Boy bomb. The employees used this second opportunity to distribute medical supplies and set up care centers, reunion facilities for family members. Mazda-Goes were used for debris removal and the plant became a homeless shelter , field hospital, and offices for local government and the media.

Four months later, the area was ready to resume its new normal. The recovery of Mazda-Go production was a boost of energy and motivation for the people of Hiroshima. Since then, the future of the firm has been linked to the city and its neighbors. The spirit of Mukainada represents the will to do things differently, to never give up and seek the exceptional. A way of life that allowed them to overcome the worst human decision and its horrible consequences.

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