Introduction of Okamura’s Advertising on
a full page in the Nikkei
Okamura Corporation developed and released an automobile called Mikasa back in 1955 with automatic transmission powered by torque converter for the first time in Japan. This purely Japan-made torque converter, specially developed and manufactured in 1951, was installed in Mikasa and has still been displayed in great condition at the main entrance of Okamura Chair Museum (Akasaka, Tokyo) for many visitors to see. Recently The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers has registered this automatic transmission as the Mechanical Engineering Heritage. The aim of this registration is to pass down the technical and cultural story from generation to generation. This specific technology that Okamura owns is still manufactured in Okamura Oppama Factory and used today for industrial vehicles such as forklifts and airport freight carts.
Technique raised by passion, becoming a mechanical engineering heritage.
July 2015, the 24th, Japan’s first Torque converter automatic transition car “Mikasa” in which was mounted the very first Torque converter developed in 1951 has been certified by the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers as a ”Mechanical engineering heritage”.
Road to success
Mikasa's development - The Story
Commodities produced after the war
After World War II, many companies due to the postwar rehabilitation schemed their come back through the production of commodities. So did Okamura. From 1947, orders were received from the US Army that occupied Japan for aluminum trunks, window shades, Jeep’s top cover, automobiles number plates and the steel used in the US Army feeding club’s furniture, the production began.
Founder - Yoshiwara Kenjiro
In order to “live”, Okamura began manufacturing necessary commodities. Founder Mr. Kenjiro Yoshiwara and his engineers utilized their skills they developed over the years, and made use of their own skills to their best. The dream and passion for “mechanical products” didn’t fade, this interest went all to the Scooter that was commonly seen in the streets at that time.
N-52 the successful airplane
The aircraft “N-52”, performed its first flight in Shizuoka on Hamamatsu’s airfield on April 7th, 1953, and is still today spoken about as one of the successful example of post-war Japanese airplane. Despite encountering a great success, the aircraft manufacturing business in terms of costs proved difficult to continue, and after the N-52, Okamura was never again involved in the aircraft industry.
Automobile prototype - Mikasa
1955, to raise the global resources of Okamura, the first automobile prototype was developed using the best of technology available at the time. Innovative and revolutionary front-wheel drive FF (Front-engine Front-drive) system, Japan’s first torque was completed as a sedan-type automobile converter type automatic car (586cc). This memorable first car took the name “Mikasa”.
4th Japan Automobile Show
May 1957, Tokyo, Hibiya Park, the Mikasa debuted at the “4th Japan Automobile Show” (the current “Tokyo Motor Show”) where it was revealed to the public together with the “Torque converter Industrial Exhibition”. A Torque converter with significantly improved performances exhibited retained the attention of the public.
Torque converter performances evaluated and supplied to other companies
With its success with” OK matic” an automatic transmission developed for automobiles made it the leading automobile manufacturer in Japan, Okamura not only used the separate components of the Torque converter to supply other car companies but also provided them with technical knowledge.
Courageous withdrawal from the automobile business
The dream of being an automobile manufacturer unfortunately came to an end but the manufacture of Torque converters kept alive the passion for mechanical engineering. Thanks to the shaping out this road to success, and until today, in the industrial equipment as well as other fields, the same philosophy is applied. And those “Mikasa”’s manufacturing genes, still lives on in todays’ Okamura manufactured goods.