Founded in 1870 by Yataro Iwasaki, Mitsubishi began as a shipping firm with just three old steam ships, and it didn’t take long for family members to jump on board and help expand the business into other segments of the market. Each president added something new to the Mitsubishi organization.
Yataro quickly found fierce competition in China. The government-backed competitors put great stress on both Yataro and Mitsubishi. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t have a happy ending—the company went bankrupt and Yataro died of cancer in 1885. He was succeeded by Yanosuke, his younger brother.
Yanosuke expanded the business by buying mines to further fuel both Mitsubishi and Japan’s growing industries and economy. He quickly rebuilt the shipping and mining business, then expanded into banking, insurance, and warehousing, until eventually in 1890, Yanosuke bought 80 acres next to the Imperial Palace.
In 1893, Yataro’s son and University of Pennsylvania graduate took control of Mitsubishi. Hisaya further expanded the business into real estate, marketing, and administration. His private investments, today known as Mitsubishi Paper Mills, became a part of the company.
Koyata, son of Yanosuke, took control in 1916. A Cambridge University graduate, he would go on to lead the company for 30 years. He expanded into machinery, electrical equipment, and chemical. Soon after, the companies became Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and made aircraft, buses, and automobiles. Despite the events of World War II, Koyata never turned his back on British and American business partners. He died in 1945 and Mitsubishi split into various companies the following year.
In 1954, many of the companies merged to recreate the powerhouse that had dominated the Japanese industries for decades. The following years saw great prosperity, much of which was encouraged and nurtured by Mitsubishi.
Now just three years shy of its 150th anniversary, Mitsubishi stands as an automaker that aims to make affordable, quality driven vehicles designed for the average driver. Best of all, the entire lineup is available at Bell Mitsubishi! Stop in for a test drive today!