The decision to compile a history of our first 75 years was officially decided at a meeting of Toyota Motor Corporation executive vice presidents in the autumn of 2006. Immediately afterward, the Toyota 75-Year Company History Editorial Committee comprising approximately 30 chief officers from various internal groups was inaugurated, with the Toyota Archives Group of the Corporate Citizenship Division’s Museum Management Department (now, the Museum & Archives Department) serving as its secretariat. The editorial committee met twice a year to carefully discuss the direction, objective and content of this historical compilation, select the mediums to be used and report on progress and budget consumption as required.
For Toyota, this was the first such endeavor since the compilation in 1987 of our 50-year corporate history completed 25 years ago. We decided early on to commission Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., and cooperation soon began toward planning publication of our 75-year history. Meanwhile, as a mechanism for gathering information from throughout the company, a history committee consisting of manager-class personnel in charge of general affairs from each internal group was organized within the secretariat.
The decision to position “Ever-better Cars” as the overall theme throughout the main volume and supplementary data volume of our 75-year history compilation was made in 2010. Because “ever-better cars” were the words President Akio Toyoda used to address Toyota employees when he came into office in 2009 in the midst of difficult business times, we found them to be most appropriate in concisely expressing our company’s continuous dedication to work over what would become three-quarters of a century.
For this historical compilation, we kept the following three points in mind:
First, we strived to make this compilation easy to read. For the main volume, we made every effort to limit word count, resulting in a word count kept to approximately 80 percent of that found in our 50-year history compilation. For the supplementary data volume, we strived to use as many photographs, charts and graphs as possible. We also went to great length to achieve an ideal design for the related webpages.
Second, we strived for objectivity. For the main volume, including entries to which references had been made in earlier historical compilations, we thoroughly fact-checked all elements using original texts. In doing so, we encountered a number of inconsistencies with past compilations, which we addressed in our footnotes.
Third, we strived to be comprehensive. The expansion of both our business operations and geographical range over the 25 years since our 50-year history compilation created the necessity to store enormous amounts of data—a task we were able to accomplish by putting to good use the strong points of electronic media. We are confident that the supplementary data volume, which includes our entire vehicle lineage fully digitized for the first time ever, can fully serve as a useful dictionary and reference source. The merits of electronic media also give the volume a digital search function.
An issue that needs to be addressed going forward was also clarified—the handling of information that exists around the world. Against a backdrop of advances in localization of our operations in other countries, we were somehow able to carry out our writing and compilation only using information we had in Japan. However, in the future, we believe it quite unlikely that we will be able to compile a full corporate history without gathering information from subsidiaries around the globe. As such, an item for forthcoming consideration is determining the ideal management structure of our corporate archives.
Looking back on a project that has spanned approximately seven years, we remember the 2008 global financial crisis and other hardships that brought about a sudden change in the business environment, forcing large-scale projects in our company to be canceled or postponed. Even the effort to compile a 75-year history was at stake, as instances of chaos one after the other led to a time when we were genuinely apprehensive as to whether our company would survive to see its 75th anniversary. Yet, not once did we hear a call for cancelation of our undertaking.
Thinking about it, one of the important objectives of compiling our corporate history is to enable our younger and future employees, who will lead the next generation, to inherit our corporate essence. In other words, we need to relay to them the spirit at the time of our creation, as well as the corporate culture and climate that took root, in a way they can feel deep down inside so that they will be moved and have pride in their company.
With our historical compilation now completed, we keenly feel that—precisely because our company now faces many difficulties—value can be found in our endeavor.
Toyota 75-Year Company History Editorial Committee
Executive Vice President, Member of the Board