A Mate Walking Together

A Mate Walking Together

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Facing the horizon, a shimmering orange path stretched out ahead. Masato Hirose (currently Executive Chief Engineer at Honda R&D) had parked his car near the shore and was gazing at the sun melting into the sea. He wished he could follow the path. In the passenger seat next to him, his wife said, “Let’s go.”

As always when the two of them went for a drive, they would leave home and head for the shore. When they reached it, they would stick close to the ocean and just drive without thinking about anything in particular. Like their drives, their lives were unplanned, full of the unexpected. Not even in his dreams had Hirose seen himself dedicating his life to researching and developing robots. And had his wife not brought a certain ad to his attention, he might never have done so.

“Take a look at this,” she said one Sunday back in 1986, handing the morning paper to her husband.

Hirose’s eyes widened when the name “Honda” caught his eye in the classifieds. “Do you think I should apply there?” he asked with a doubtful expression.

After completing graduate school, Hirose had entered a machine tool company. Working at this first-rate firm had made Hirose the pride of his family, but his wife remembered how Hirose had in the past spoken glowingly of Soichiro Honda, and she knew that Honda’s founder was still a hero to her husband. Hirose was now thirty years old. Perhaps the time was right for him to consider a new career.

“Why not?” she said. Those simple words of encouragement from his wife were like a push from behind. Hirose’s future was decided.

Hirose’s application was accepted, and he joined Honda’s Wako Fundamental Technology Research Center. Then director Katsutoshi Tagami said to Hirose, “I want you to make Astro Boy—you know, the comic book robot.”

“What?” said Hirose, not believing his ears. Honda was going to make a robot? And he was going to lead the effort?!

Walking Together

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