Ayukawa Yoshisuke (鮎川義介)

Yoshisuke AYUKAWA (November 6, 1880 to February 13, 1967) was a Japanese entrepreneur and statesman. The founder of Nissan Konzern Company Group.

*He is sometimes called by his common name, 'Yoshisuke AIKAWA', but his real name is Yoshisuke AYUKAWA.


In 1880 (at the age of 0), he was born to the eldest daughter of the real sister of Kaoru INOUE, Genkun (the statesmen who contributed in the Meiji Period), and Yahachi AYUKAWA, a former samurai of Choshu Domain (the 10th family head), in Ouchi Village, Hikawa County, Yamaguchi Prefecture (present day Ouchi area, Yamaguchi City).

He studied at Yamaguchi High School (the old system) and graduated from the Department of Mechanics of the University of Tokyo in 1903 (at the age of 23). He entered Toshiba. He became a mechanic with a daily wage of 48 sen under the condition that his noble birth would remain hidden. Later, he moved to the US in order to have experience of the Western situation, since all the technology those days were imitations of the Western technology. He worked for a malleable cast iron factory (the Gould Coupler Company) as a laborer for more than a year.

In 1909 (at the age of 29), he founded Tobata Casting Company (present Hitachi Metals, Ltd.) with the support of Kaoru INOUE.

In 1928 (at the age of 48), he became the president of of the Kuhara Mining Company and changed the name of the company to Nihon Sangyo (Nissan). The Kuhara Mining Company managed by his younger brother-in-law, Fusanosuke KUHARA, was on the verge of bankruptcy due to the economic depression after the World War I and KUHARA's entrance into politics, so AYUKAWA reluctantly agreed to take over the position at the request from Giichi TANAKA (Army General) of the Seiyu Party and others, who wished for reconstruction of the company. He changed the company into a holding company, and created Nissan Konzern Company Group, which owned many publicly held holding companies such as Nissan Motors, Nippon Mining, Hitachi, Nissan Chemicals, Nichiyu, Nichirei Corporation, Japan Coal Mine, Nissan Fire Insurance and Nissan Mutual Life Insurance.

In 1933 (at the age of 53), he took over the production rights for the Datsun from Automobile Industries Company (present Isuzu Mortors) for free, and in December, 1933, he founded Jidosha Seizo Company for the production of Datsun.

In 1934 (at the age of 54), he changed the name of Jidosha Seizo Company to Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. In 1937 (at the age of 57), he moved Nissan to Manchuria and became the first president and consultant of the Manchurian Industrial Development Company. At the same time he had the positions of an advisor of Manchukuo, a councilor of the House of Peers at the Imperial command, and an advisor of the Cabinet. He was one of the five leaders called 'Nikisansuke,' who were considered as influential in the worlds of military, government, and business in Manchukuo at that time.

Around 1939 (at the age of 59), he discussed the world politics with Jiro SHIRASU and others, and concluded that the war between Germany and England and France would end in the victory of England and France. He considered Nissan Group's withdrawal from Manchukuo due to the deterioraion of the relationship with Kwantung Army (Japanese armed forces in Manchukuo). Around 1942, he resigned from the president of the Manchurian Industrial Development Company. In 1943 (at the age of 63): On November 17, when Ginjiro FUJIWARA became a member of the Tojo Cabinet, AYUKAWA took the position of an advisor of the Cabinet along with Keita GOTO and Teiichi SUZUKI..

After the World War II ended, he was charged with war crime and got arrested in December, 1945, and incarcerated in Sugamo Prision for 20 months, but he was cleared of the charge. In jail, he reflected on how to restore Japan from the damage. In 1952 (at the age of 72), he founded the Small and Medium-Sized Firms Assistance Association with the invenstment of the companies of Nissan Group. He became the chairman. After this, he worked hard for the restoration of small and medium-sized firms. In 1953 (at the age of 73), he became the presidents of Teikoku Oil Co., Ltd. and of Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd. He was elected as a member of the House of Councilors of the Diet.

In 1956 (at the age of 76), he founded the Japan Medium and Small Enterprise Political Federation (Chuseiren) and became the president. After that he lived as a statesman until he died. Also, he took the position of chairman of the National Federation of Small Business Associations established in the same year. During this time, he was the supreme advisor of economics for the Kishi Cabinet and the honorary president ot Toyo University. He became a member of Sangyo Keikaku Kaigi (Industry Planning Board) (the chairman, Yasuzaemon MATSUNAGA).

In 1959 (at the age of 79), although he was reelected as a member of the House of Councilors from the nationwide constituency, he resigned from the Diet in December of the same year, taking the responsibility for highly-suspected election violations by campaigners for his second son Kinjiro AYUKAWA who was also elected in the same election.

In 1966 (at the age of 86), although he underwent an operation for his chronic disease, gallbladder inflammation, his recovery was very slow because of his old age and his stay in hospital was prolonged. On February 13, 1967, he died of acute pneumonia occuring as a complication at Surugadai Kyoundo Hospital. He died at the age of 86.

Families and Relatives

Father: Yahachi AYUKAWA (samurai of Choshu Domain)

Mother: Naka

Grand-uncle: Kaoru INOUE (feudal retainer of Choshu Domain, statesman)

Elder sister: Sumi (adoptive mother of Masahiko KIMURA, shizoku (family or person with samurai ancestors) in Kochi Prefecture)

Younger sister: Kiyo (married to Fusanosuke KUHARA, an entrepreneur and statesman, in Yamaguchi Prefecture)

Younger sister: Fuji (married to Taichi KAIZIMA, an entrepreneur, in Fukuoka Prefecture)

Wife: Miyo (the eldest daughter of Jiro IIDA, an entrepreneur and the founder of Takashimaya Co., Ltd., in Kyoto Prefecture)

Eldest son: Yaichi AYUKAWA (an entrepreneur)

The Small and Medium-Sized Firms Assistance Association was reorganized into "Techno Venture," an investment company for venture businesses in the generation of the eldest son, Yaichi.

Second son: Kinjiro AYUKAWA (a statesman), the wife of the second son: Masako (the president of Nones University)

Grandson: Junta AYUKAWA (an entrepreneur, president of Techno Venture)

Other relatives: Nobusuke KISHI (a bureaucrat, statesman, Prime Minister), Eisaku SATO (a bureaucrat, statesman, Prime Minister)

[Original Japanese]