Toyota Physical and Chemical Research Institute (Incorporated Foundation) was established in September 1940 in Nishi-Shibaura, Shiba Ward, Tokyo-shi by Kiichiro Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motor Corporation and the eldest son of Sakichi Toyoda who invented the automatic loom.
The purpose of this establishment was to promote and develop independent science and technology in Japan and to contribute to the development of science and industry.
This institute produced numerous research achievements including the formula for large crystallization of Rochelle salt, storage batteries and direction finders. Some of these reached the stage of acquiring patents and being manufactured into products. However, due to post-war inflation, it was inevitable that proprietary research activities were curtailed.
In 1961, in order to efficiently implement the purpose with limited financial resources, the office was moved to Toyota Central R & D Labs in Nagoya and its main activities were changed to designated research and cultivation of researchers. The successes of this era include the practical application of semi-conductor strain-gauges.
The original purpose of foundation activities is continuing by launching “the research fellow program” in 2004 where researches are conducted by full-time employed researchers and further, launching “specially promoted program” in 2006 as a new project.
This foundation has become a public interest incorporated foundation in 2011.
Kiichiro states his operation plans in the foundation prospectus:
・ We are to endeavor to steadily establish an academic base
・ We are to conduct independent research without restrictions on research categories
・ We are to emphasize scientific principles which tend to be disregarded
・ Questing for fundamental principles, we will promote the industrialization of objects that are lucrative for production and enhance the research that promotes scientific development accordingly, then contribute to society and the State
The Institute that was established in 1940 with high ideals and over 30 staffs actively progressed with research in 32 fields; batteries which embodied the hopes of Sakichi Toyoda, the practical application of wireless direction finders, the cultivation of piezo electric effect elements using ferroelectric Rochelle salt, etc. The total number of staffs reached 69 by 1943.
Unfortunately, in 1941, the year after its establishment, Japan entered World War II that lasted five years.
In the economic confusion of the post-war period, the Institute received aid from the government as a research foundation designated by the Ministry of Education and further, through continuous support from Toyota affiliated companies, the Institute was able to continue its research even though it had to greatly reduce the scale. Despite the era, the institute succeeded in the practical application of semi-conductor strain-gauges in 1957.
In 1961, in aiming for innovation, the Institute was moved from Tokyo into Toyota Central R&D Labs., in Nagoya and explored a path to contribute to the promotion of academic science and industry with little capital and efficient operation.
The Institute started “Designated Researcher Program” in 1963 and inaugurated the “Kariya Invention Club for School Children” in 1974. I believe these activities have been contributed to nurture researchers and young generation.
Following this, to enhance the original spirits of establishment of the Institute, “Research Fellow Program” – senior researchers who have notable achievement in the fields of academic science at research institutes and universities are employed as a Toyota Riken Research Fellow and conduct their research by themselves – has started. Currently, the program has been stated as one of the core programs along with research grant programs: “Toyota Riken Scholar Program” and “Specially Promoted Research Project.”
Toyota Physical and Chemical Research Institute has become a public interest incorporated foundation as of April 1, 2011. We aspire to accomplish the prospectus of establishment and contribute to the development of science and technology. We would be grateful for your suggestions or advice concerning the future of our institute.
In 2019, the Toyota Physical and Chemical Research Institute (hereafter abbreviated to Toyota Riken*) is starting a new chapter in its long history. Our new activity base, Hiroo INOKUCHI Hall – a place conveying extensive achievements of Dr. Hiroo Inokuchi, the former President who regenerated the Institute – was completed in the end of February 2018. This marks the beginning of new history after the establishment of our current research building in 2011.
The Hall, surrounded by trees with a pond, is located next to the current research building. We aspire to utilize it for research presentations of Research Fellows’ as well as other researchers’, seminars, and international conferences; to be the place to present new research findings and to connect young researchers who are inspired by Dr. Inokuchi’s science. The Toyota Riken International Workshop on the Organic Semiconductor, the research field proposed by Dr. Inokuchi in the 1950s, was held here in the end of last October. Over 100 participants from all over the world joined to celebrate the great development of this particular research field of mutual interest.
Toyota Riken carries out various research activities and promotions such as: Research Fellow Program, Scholar Program, Specially Promoted Research Project, Solid State Physics Seminars, Molecular Science Forum, and Toyota Riken Forum. Adapting flexibly to the changing times, we hope to develop a better system and program, including the cultivation of young talents and collaboration with other organizations.
The Interdisciplinary Exchange Camp that I started as a new step of our cultivation program three years ago is now on track. It is a workshop for two days and one night. The participants are mainly Toyota Riken Scholars; around 30 young researchers from universities across Japan who won the scholarship, a few leaders of Specially Promoted Research Project, directors of Toyota Riken and expert researchers who are Toyota Riken Fellows as mentors. We encourage and support them to create new seeds of collaborative research among different fields. I am hoping these seeds grow into innovative research fields in the future, and someday I hope to hear that “this specific new field was first created at the Toyota Riken exchange camp ten years ago”.
In addition, we will start a new program, Overseas Postgraduate Scholarship, for university students to nurture internationally-oriented talents. Through these activities, we are aiming to become a launching site of new research findings and a hub of interdisciplinary exchange, young talents’ cultivation, and building researcher networks.
Lastly, let us devote ourselves to the operation of Toyota Riken as it celebrates the 80th anniversary of tradition and achievements in 2020 under the management policies of Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda, and the noble last wishes from the former President Dr. Hiroo Inokuchi. Together with these activities, I hope that we can help to contribute and serve for the development of science and technology of Japan. I greatly appreciate your further guidance and encouragement.
* “Riken” comes from the pronunciation of Chinese characters, Ri (meaning science) and Ken (meaning research institute).
January 1, 2019
Dr. Kohei Tamao, President
Original written by the founder, Kiichiro Toyoda in 1940
My father, Sakichi Toyoda, immersed himself in research into inventions, accomplished the invention of the automatic loom and established this production plant, namely Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd. Here, Sakichi explicitly stated the essentials of research into inventions in the company’s business articles of incorporation and accomplished all kinds of research over several decades. As a result of this, he completed the fundamental improvement of the automatic loom and succeeded in inventing the world’s first high draft ring spinning machine and launched on to the international market, too. Furthermore, he went on to research manufacturing methods for domestic automobiles, completed this and opened the beginning of the supply of domestic automobiles.
In this way, the work that he left us prospered and his aims are in the process of being sequentially accomplished but, the implementation of research into inventions within a profit-making company tends to bias research to things that are in direct relation to that company’s projects and implementation of different kind of research is difficult because they are incompatible with current projects and the real intention of establishment. For this reason, this incorporated foundation was newly established to widely conduct research with the foundation of physics and chemistry firstly to contribute to the State but also to commemorate forever the achievements of the late Sakichi.
Japan has developed remarkably over the last few decades but, as this development has unavoidably been conducted over a short period of time, we had to adopt foreign civilization. However, now that we are facing the Second Great War in Europe, it has become extremely difficult to adopt European civilization. For this reason, it has become urgent that we research independently by ourselves and establish a research institute at which we will pioneer a new way by ourselves. Meanwhile, it has become difficult to expect the good fortune of chance such as we had in the Meiji Period when looking at the status of research into innovation. Consequently, we must have expectations of the future progress of scientific principles that will become an abyss, the human resources that have an academic grounding and the technical facilities.
The quest for principles that will become a physico-chemical abyss has many correlations in that fundamental respect. Looking at it from these peripheral issues, even things that have extreme intervals depart from the same principles in that foundation so one research project can assist another project without intending to or can become a principle.
“Therefore this research institute shall not limit research matters” rather the main activity shall be the quest for fundamental principles and in peripheral issue-type research that occurs due to this, we shall promote the industrialization of objects that are productive and lucrative to the State. We would like to present results that promote academic development from a scientific standpoint, making progress more and more deeply. In short, we want to conduct research from both physical and metaphysical facets.
In addition, if we want researchers to achieve pure research following their thoughts, no anxieties about lifestyle, research or the future are borne, it can be left to the natural talent of researchers and it is important to put researchers in a position of liberty. For this reason, we would like to respect the free will of researchers, create a research institute where it is possible for them to research of their own volition, train new researchers, expand research scope and, by means of this, contribute to society and the State.
|1940||・Toyota Physical and Chemical Research Institute incorporated foundation (Toyota Riken) established in Shiba-ku, Tokyo
・The first Board of Directors meeting held
・Kiichiro Toyoda appointed as the1st Chairman and President
|1942||The first edition of “Toyota Research Report” published|
|1945||Board member Kohei Yamaguchi appointed as the 2nd President|
|1953||Taizo Ishida appointed as the 2nd Chairman|
|1961||Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc. (TCRDL) established in 1960. Toyota Riken moved to the neighboring site of TCRDL in Nagoya|
|1963||・“Designated Researcher Program” started
・The first “Solid State Physics Seminar” jointly held with Nagoya University
|1969||“Promoted Researcher Program” started|
|1974||・Shoichiro Toyoda appointed as the 3rd Chairman
・“Kariya Invention Club for School Children” established
|1980||Toyota Riken and TCRDL moved to Nagakute, right next to Nagoya|
|1990||“Special Research Project” started|
|1996||The first “Molecular Science Forum” jointly held with Okazaki Institute for Molecular Science|
|2004||・“Research Fellow Program” started
・Kariya Invention Club for School Children moved to Tsukasa-cho, Kariya city
|2006||“Specially Promoted Research Program” started|
|2009||Board member Hiroo Inokuchi appointed as the 3rd President|
|2011||・Toyota Riken recognized as a public incorporated foundation
・Toyota Riken research building constructed
・“Toyota Riken Scholar Program” started succeeded from “Designated Researcher Program”
・Public call for entry started: Research Fellow Program, Specially Promoted Research Program, and Scholar Program
|2014||“Toyota Riken Forum” started|
|2015||Kariya Invention Club for School Children restarted as independent|
|2016||Board member Kohei Tamao appointed as the 4th President|
|2017||“Toyota Riken Scholar Joint Research” started|
|2018||“Hiroo INOKUCHI Hall” constructed|
|2019||“Toyota Riken Overseas Scholarship” started|