The Story of Sakichi Toyoda
Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Industries Corporation, possessed a strong ambition to contribute to society from his days as a youth. He had devoted his 63-year-long life to invention.
This educational program for fifth-grade students aims to spark an interest in environmental conservation among young people by introducing them to environmentally conscious manufacturing practices. The program combines quizzes, experiments, and other fun activities with a plant tour that introduces students to green initiatives like solar energy generation, wind generation, geothermal utilization.
After the tour, they are asked to continue their studies by discussing how they can protect the environment so that they understand the importance of doing so through a variety of approaches. As an overall summary of the program, students are introduced to the founding spirit of Sakichi Toyoda, "Always be studious and creative, striving to stay ahead of the times", and strongly encouraged to take up the challenges of research, creation, and invention in their own lives.
Toyota Industries has been holding mini concert visits for fifth and sixth graders at elementary schools near its plants in Obu and Takahama cities since 2010. These performances are held in school gymnasiums or classrooms, where music is integrated into the class curriculum and students get the chance to hear top-rated performers play instruments right before their eyes. Students are able to get a physical sense of things like the tone and sound of the instruments as well as the performers' breathing patterns and emotional state as they play, and it is our hope that this experience develops their sensitivity and appreciation towards music while mentally and emotionally enriching them.
Since 2012, we have also been holding mini concert visits at elementary schools in Iwate Prefecture, which was badly affected in the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.
To demonstrate our respect for children's ideas and to allow the next generation to experience the fun of monozukuri (manufacturing) and science, Toyota Industries offers its support to a local Youth Invention Club in a variety of forms — including sending out employees and advisors to the club and contributing funds and equipment to help the club operate. We have three plants in Obu City, where we work with the Obu Youth Invention Club and hold a Toyota Industries Monozukuri Course for local elementary school students during their summer vacation. We also set up a handicraft booth at the Obu Industrial Festival and hold a homemade kite-flying contest in the early part of each year.
We work in collaboration with the Obu Youth Invention Club to hold a workshop called the Summer Monozukuri Course every August with the aim of giving young people the opportunity to enjoy making things. The course has been held every year since 1998, and is open to elementary school children living in Obu City. On the day of the event, current and former Toyota Industries Corporation employee volunteers work with the Invention Club staff to help children with their activities so that even younger elementary school students can participate. Once the students have finished making their projects, they can use them to participate in games and other activities. The event has become an exciting fixture of summer vacation for the children of Obu.