What does cork bring up to your mind?
Some of you may recall cork board put up in groceries, or used as wine bottle stoppers.
Interestingly, cork is found in a broad range of industrial products.
In Hiroshima, Mazda’s home town located in the Western region of Japan, there used to be many Chinese cork oak (Quercus variabilis) trees.
The cork oak trees (Quercus suber) are widely known as the primary source of cork. The Chinese cork oak is a deciduous tall tree with a thick layer of cork, making it a good alternative to the cork oak trees.
With access to many Chinese cork oak trees in the area, many wooden ship building facilities located around the Hiroshima Bay used the Chinese cork oak caulker as a shipbuilding material since around the 15th century.
Due to its unique location - facing the sea and backed by the mountains, Hiroshima was destined to see its cork manufacturing tradition flourish and prosper.
On January 30, 1920, Mazda Motor Corporation was founded as Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd. in Nakajima Shincho, Hiroshima City (currently Nakajimacho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City) as a cork manufacturing company.
Starting with manufacturing of bottle stoppers, Toyo Cork Kogyo stood up to the challenge of manufacturing cork boards that were rare in Japan at that time. The company’s commitment to manufacturing excellence lives on in Mazda Motor Corporation today.
In 1927, the company changed its name to Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd. Backed by its unwavering challenger spirit and technological expertise accumulated over years of cork manufacturing, Toyo Kogyo made a bold move to switch its business to machinery manufacturing.
The company produced rock drills, machine tools and tricycle trucks to further accumulate and refine its manufacturing expertise and technology, and eventually became a car company that is known for the sheer exhilaration of driving and the feeling of being at one with the car experienced through its products.