President Akio Toyoda Meets Nobel Prize Winner Akira Yoshino: Conceptualizing the future (Part One)


This article is the first part of a two-part series covering a conversation that Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda had with Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Akira Yoshino, honorary fellow at Asahi Kasei Corporation, on February 14, 2020 at the office of the president in Toyota Motor Corporation’s Tokyo Head Office. But first, a little background on how the two met. Sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction.

The first time Akio met Dr. Yoshino in person was about two months prior. Akio had just disembarked from the Shinkansen (bullet train) when he bumped into Dr. Yoshino as he was just about to board. Though only a brief moment, the two exchanged quick pleasantries. Actually, Dr. Yoshino had been not so secretly hoping to meet Akio since long before he was awarded the Nobel Prize. This desire to meet with Akio had not gone unnoticed by Akio; he had heard that Dr. Yoshino had mentioned his name in a magazine interview, and so, though only brief for a first time encounter, it was one where they were left with a strange sense of connection between them.

That quirk of fate is what led to the conversation covered here on Toyota Times. The topics covered in the first part of their first arranged meeting ranged from inside stories about the Nobel Prize to episodes from both men’s youth. As one can imagine, even though it was only their first time to have a conversation at length, it lasted much longer than originally scheduled, clocking in at an hour and a half.

President Akio Toyoda Meets Nobel Prize Winner Akira Yoshino (Part One)
A research scientist and a businessman. They may come from different positions, but they both share a common view of a more connected, electrified future.