Birthplace: Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Cause of death: unspecified
Race or Ethnicity: Asian
Occupation: Business, Engineer
Executive summary: Founder of Nissan Motor Co.
Military service: Japanese Imperial Army (1896-99)
Masujiro Hashimoto was a mechanical engineer who was sent by Japan's Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce to study manufacturing in America, where he spent three years working for a New York manufacturer of steam engines. After returning to Japan, he held a succession of jobs -- electrical engineering, manufacturing machine guns, and designing coal mining equipment. In June 1911, he established Kaishinsha Jidosha Koto (Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works), the forerunner of today's Nissan Motors.
The company had three main financial backers: business manager Kenjiro Den, childhood friend Rokuro Aoyama, and well-connected financier Meitaro Takeuchi, and from their initials the company's first cars were called DATs. The ten-horsepower DAT 31 was introduced in 1914, and the DAT 41, introduced in 1916, became the company's early best-seller. Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works was renamed DAT Motor Vehicle Company in 1917, and the company's cars bore the name Datson (or, in America, Datsun) -- originally an affectionate nickname for DAT -- until 1983. Hashimoto was squeezed out in a reorganization in 1931, and almost nothing is known about his life after leaving the auto business. Two years after he left the firm, DAT merged with Nihon Sangyo Co., and the united company took its new name -- Nissan -- from Ni-San, which had been Nihon's symbol on the Japanese stock exchange.
University: Tokyo Institute of Technology (1895)
Nissan Motors Founder (1911) and Managing Director (1926-31)
Japan Automotive Hall of Fame
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