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You Say Toyota, He Says Toyoda

Akio Toyoda tells Congress that his name is on every car. But any Congressperson who can spell can clearly see that it's not. As I've been re-reporting the automakers woes of late, I've been wondering myself why Grandpa Toyoda named his vehicle Toyota. Praise Francis de Sales, the patron saint of news reporters, that Mike Musgrove has uncovered the answer.

Writing Toyoda in Japanese requires 10 brush strokes, John R. Malott, president of the Japan-America Society of Washington D.C., tells him, but writing Toyota requires eight, which is an auspicious number. Ten, on the other hand, consists of two strokes crossed against each other, which is suggestive of a crossroads or an uncertain path.

But the official corporate history, Musgrove dutifully reports, claims that the company changed its name because it "sounded better." Malott is not buying into that explanation. "I'm from Chicago," he says, "so it's all Toyoda, anyway."



Read the whole story at Washington Post »

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