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Honda Sōichirō and the Rise of Japan’s Postwar Motor Vehicle Industry

For a manufacturing company to achieve success on a global scale, it must be willing to see past its domestic rivals and set its sights on challenging the world’s leading firms. In Japan in the late 1940s, however, few company presidents could foresee a time when their products would outperform Western designs, and almost none could yet compete directly against foreign wares. Many of Japan’s industries were badly crippled by US bombing campaigns late in the Second World War (1939–1945), an...