Section 2. The Businesses of Sakichi Toyoda
Item 2. Establishment of Toyoda Boshoku Corporation
Trip to Europe and the United States
In May 1910, Sakichi Toyoda, who had resigned as chief engineer of Toyoda Loom Company embarked on a tour of Europe and the United States, accompanied by Akiji Nishikawa.1
The conflict at Toyoda Loom Company between Sakichi and those in the spinning industry was an unexpected development to Mitsui Osaka branch head Kamenosuke Fujino, who had pushed the business. An overseas study trip would serve an ideal role as a cooling-off period, and Sakichi departed on for Europe and the United States with the full support of Mitsui. Sakichi was taken around textile manufacturers, primarily those in the industrial areas of Boston, by the New York branch manager of Mitsui. The trip deepened Sakichi's confidence in the looms he had invented and developed himself.
During this time, Sakichi was blessed with the opportunity to visit and discuss invention with Dr. Jokichi Takamine2, who lived in New York. Dr. Takamine, the chemist who discovered diastase and adrenaline, served as Acting Chief of the Japanese Bureau of Patents and Trademarks, Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, and was exhaustively familiar with the patent system. As someone who understood the importance of testing and research to bring an invention into practical use, and who had experienced the various obstacles faced by inventors, Sakichi empathized with many of the points made by Dr. Takamine. Following several further meetings between the two, Sakichi returned to Japan with the confidence and courage to make a fresh start.
In October 1910, Sakichi left Nishikawa in charge of handling patent applications and weaving-related research, and traveled from the United States to England. He also visited France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Russia, before returning to Japan in January 1911 via Moscow and Siberia.
Nishikawa, who remained in New York, worked to attain patents for Sakichi's inventions. The patent in question was the "improved automatic shuttle changer", applied for on June 6, 1910 (granted patent No. 1018089 on February 20, 1912).3 Nishikawa eventually ended up spending two and a half years overseas, returning to Japan in December 1912 via Europe.