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."