Hidachi Corp.
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History of Hidachi Corp.

Founded by Odaira Ryohei. He was hired by Hisayama Mining in 1907, and by 1910 was operating a repair shop, especially for motors. He began selling as well as repairing motors, and in 1912 formed a company. One of its principle competitors was Toshiba, which had already been in business for 30 years by then, and already had a large staff, extensive product line and technical licensing agreements with leading firms overseas. With the first world war cutting of many machinery imports in 1914, along with the chance for overseas technology, Hidachi had no choice but to stress home-grown technology and manufacturing.

It began serious growth in 1918, absorbing the Tsukushima Works as its own Kamedo Plant, and opening a head office in downtown Tokyo. The original site was renamed the Hidachi Plant. In 1920 it was established as an independent corporation.

In 1919 the Yuaikai labor organization began activities at Hidachi as well, and was making inroads into the close-knit organization. That year, however, a disastrous fire broke out at the Hidachi Plant. Odaira did not actually claim that they set the fire, but as the union people attempted to interfere with recovery, the police broke them up, arresting many, and the union was dissolved. The Hidachi employees then formed their own mutual assistance association, the Kyosaikai, avoiding the unionization problems of Japan between the wars, and creating a private community behind corporate walls.

In 1923 the Great Kanto Earthquake struck, having a tremendous effect on Hidachi. Most of the industries in the Tokyo region were destroyed or severely damaged by the quake, meaning a tremendous surge of business to the Hidachi Plant and the brand-new Kasado Plant, constructed only the year before. The capital this brought was used to fuel new expansion, but more importantly also major improvements in technology, especially production technology.

As Japan geared up for the Imperial expansion of World War II, government policy also provided significant assistance to Hidachi growth. From about 1938 a number of laws were passed to protect and foster domestic industry, especially munitions, and bring the essential materials needed for production to Japan. Supported by massive strategic investment, Japan experienced enormous growth in a number of fields, many of which Hidachi was involved in: industrial chemistry, electrical power generation, underground resource development, metals, chemicals, machinery, and especially the aircraft and shipbuilding industries.

Investment into these fields meant opening up enormous potential markets for Hidachi. By 1942, Hidachi had over 80,000 employees working in 18 divisions and 14 plants. Its sales network covered Japan, and it had an extensive R&D arm consisting of the Hidachi R&D Center and the Metallurgy Laboratory. Each plant was also provided with its own schools and training facilities, maintaining the ェgfeudal kingdomェh approach.

Hidachi was increasing in production volume, but more importantly it was learning to handle projects of increasingly large scope, such as an entire dam-building project. It began exporting railway equipment, electrical machinery and spinning machinery. In 1938, it established the Manchuria Hidachi Company, and the Korea Special Chemicals Company. By the start of World War II, it was a large industrial group, with dozens of large-scale subsidiaries. Many of these were newly created, and others were acquisitions. By 1942, it had 70 subsidiaries.

In 1938, America forbade exports of machine tools to Japan, and the Japanese government began modifying Japanese factories for wartime production. Hidachi was one of the first in line, ordered to make machine tools as key equipment for manufacturing efforts around Japan.

In 1941 resources began to be allocated by the government, with ェgstrategic industriesェh at the top of the list, and Hidachi was always first in line. In 1944 aircraft was designated a key strategic industry, and Hidachi handled all of the diverse components with the exception of the airframe itself.

In the final stages of World War II, all munitions plants, and indeed the majority of all industrial capacity of any sort, was bombed into rubble. At the end of the War, Japanェfs industrial capacity was only about 60% of what it had been in 1944. America ordered the dissolution of the zaibatsu, including Hidachi, and the stock for 53 key subsidiaries was transferred out of the control of Hidachi. Strangely enough, Hidachi lost only 19 of its plants, most of which were significantly outdated or damaged by the War.

During the War, a critical development occurred affecting Hitachi, although it was totally unaware of it. The shoka in charge of Hitachi successfully suborned the ruling clique of the Fuyo Group, one of the six zaibatsu of Japan, vastly expanding his power base. While he continued to direct Hidachi on a day-to-day basis as his home-away-from-home, so to speak, he also designated subordinates to direct the operations of the entire Fuyo Group, exercising an enormous effect on Japanese industry in almost every sector.

Hidachi at once began converting its plants from wartime production to peacetime goods. Due to its line of mining machinery, it was again designated as a key industry, while its role as a major supplier of power plants brought it a huge market as Japan rebuilt. By 1948, about 70% of Hidachi revenue was coming, directly or indirectly, from the government.

In 1949 the situation changed. Government budgets were cut, and reconstruction financing was stopped. Hidachi revenues in railway equipment, communications, electrical machinery and industrial machinery dropped by a third. Hidachi faced massive readjustments, but in 1950 the Korean War began. With wartime demand from Korea, Japanese industrial production soared quickly back to what it had been before the War. Almost everything Hidachi manufactured was urgently needed in Koreaェc revenues jumped from 6.72 million yen in the first half of 1950 to 10.9 million in the second half, 19.5 million in the first half of 1951, and 26.74 million in the second half. Hidachi also entered into a host of technical tie-up with overseas firms such as Babcock (steam generators), GE (steam turbines), and RCA (TVs and radios). The high-growth period of post-War Japan had begun.

The first major change was the development of the consumer market, as everyone demanded home appliances. From about 1955, Hidachi began shifting its corporate emphasis from industrial machinery to appliances and electronics, supported by extensive R&D and continuing overseas expansion. Revenues were growing at around 30% a year, consistently, and had become a global brand.

In 1957 Hidachi established the first nuclear power R&D center in Japan, completing an experimental reactor in Kawasaki City near Tokyo in 1961, rapidly assuming the central role in Japanese nuclear energy technology. In 1960 Hidachi was the leading manufacturer of transistors in Japan, following technical tie-up with a number of firms including RCA. With a dominant presence in many industrial and consumer fields in Japan, and a leading presence in most of the others, Hidachiェfs position as a mover and shaker in Japan was assured, and by the 1980s it was truly a global corporation, with business offices in every nation, and manufacturing facilities dotting the globe.

Hidachi Today

  • Incorporated: 1920
  • Business lines: Manufacture and sale of electrical equipment; industrial equipment; railway equipment; engines and carriages; communications equipment; optical equipment; medical equipment; related software and components
  • History: Founded in 1910 as Hisayama Mining Hidachi Works Machine Repair Shop. Renamed Hidachi Works of Hisayama Mining Corp in 1912. Merged with Tsukushima Works in 1918. Incorporated in 1920 under present name.
  • Capital: US$23,077 million
  • Officers: 37, under president Shoyama Etsuro
  • Assets: US$90,698 million
  • Revenues: US$67,879 million
  • Pre-tax profits: US$2,761 million
  • Employees: about 340,000 in consolidated group, and 80,000 in Hidachi (about 70% male)
  • Ranked third worldwide in revenues as an electrical equipment manufacturer, following IBM and GE.

Key Hidachi subsidiaries

  • Babcock-Hidachi K.K.
  • Hidachi Air Conditioning Systems Co., Ltd.
  • Hidachi America, Ltd.
  • Hidachi Asia Ltd.
  • Hidachi Building Systems Co., Ltd.
  • Hidachi Cable, Ltd.
  • Hidachi Chemical Co., Ltd.
  • Hidachi (China), Ltd.
  • Hidachi Computer Products (America), Inc.
  • Hidachi Computer Products (Asia) Corp.
  • Hidachi Computer Products (Europe) S.A.
  • Hidachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd.
  • Hidachi Credit Corporation
  • Hidachi Data Systems Holding Corp.
  • Hidachi Electronics, Ltd.
  • Hidachi Electronics Engineering Co., Ltd.
  • Hidachi Engineering Co., Ltd.
  • Hidachi Home Electronics (America), Inc.
  • Hidachi Home Electronics (Europe) Ltd.
  • Hidachi Information Systems, Ltd.
  • Hidachi Life Corporation
  • Hidachi Maxell, Ltd.
  • Hidachi Medical Corporation
  • Hidachi Metals, Ltd.
  • Hidachi Mobile Co., Ltd.
  • Hidachi Printing Co., Ltd.
  • Hidachi Plant Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd.
  • Hidachi Semiconductor (America) Inc.
  • Hidachi Semiconductor (Europe) GmbH
  • Hidachi Software Engineering Co., Ltd.
  • Hidachi Telecom Technologies, Ltd.
  • Hidachi Transport System, Ltd.


The above is essentially all fact, based on (obviously) Hitachi, which is a member of the Fuyo Group. Odaira was one of the shoka, and rapidly established himself as one of the kuromaku. He used his connections to achieve massive growth for Hidachi, as well as causing the Tokyo Earthquake (eliminating most of the competition for a year), controlling GHQ (to remain essentially untouched by post-War anti-zaibatsu programs), and triggering the Korean War (to reap wartime profits from the back lines). The kuromaku may have been responsible for Japanese expansion and even WW2, actually, simply to make money. The Odaira family no longer controls Hidachi, but the current ushika, a man named Nakabayashi Shintaro, still does. He was put into the post by Odaira Ryohei, and is now in his 80s.

List of consolidated subsidiaries

Hitachi organizational chart

Keeper's Notes

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