Hello, this is Morizo. How did you spend your New Year’s holiday?
I spent mine doing my kakizome, or first calligraphy writing of the year. It seems like I am always busy at the start of the new year, so for recent New Year’s kakizome, it has become a “Morizo Pattern” for me to instead write it at the end of the year. For 2019, the word I decided to write was “tokowaka” (always young).
In order to preserve this era and its spirit, we must be willing to change everything. Things need to be changed daily. The things that last are the things that are always young. This is the meaning of “tokowaka.” It is said that the Ise Jingu Shrine's Shikinen Sengu (reconstruction ceremony*) represents this spirit of tokowaka.
*Note to reader: The shrine buildings at Naiku and Geku, as well as the Uji Bridge, located in Mie Prefecture, Japan, are rebuilt every 20 years as a part of the Shinto belief of the death and renewal of nature and the impermanence of all things, and as a way of passing building techniques from one generation to the next.
By renewing the architecture enshrining the deity and the divine treasures stored at Ise Jingu, it is said that the spirit and architectural skills are passed down from our ancestors. The rebuilding of the Ise Jingu shrine has been continuing for around 1,300 years. Remarkable. While not really comparable to the Ise Jingu Shrine, I feel that the spirit of tokowaka can be linked to the Toyota Production System.
This is because the Toyota Production System is constantly changing from yesterday to today, and from today to tomorrow. The automotive industry has entered a “once-in-a-century” period of transformation. For Toyota to survive, I truly believe that “we must change from an automobile company to a mobility company.”
Through technological innovations that represent “CASE”, or connected, autonomous, sharing, and electrification, I believe that cars will be able to provide unprecedented freedom of movement and joy. However, we are a large company, so it is not expected that things will change suddenly.
With the belief that the accumulation of daily efforts will bring about major change over time, I think believe that continuing to become “better better” is a Toyota-like way that we can make progress. What we need most now is the spirit of tokowaka.