Shozo Kawasaki was born in Kagoshima and started trading at the age of 17 in Nagasaki. He started shipping business lately but for his cargo ship being drowned in a storm, he had to quit his business. As he failed to established his business, kawasaki joined company handling sugar established by Kagoshima samurai. He researched on sea routes on the request of Ministry or Finance and was quite successful in opening a route to provide sugar from Ryukyu to Japan.
For having deepest interests in shipbuilding industry, he laid down foundations of “Kawasaki Tsukiji Shipyard” in 1878 with the help of Finance minister of that time and came forward as a very successful shipbuilder.
For having seen many sea catastrophes in his life, Kawasaki had developed keep interest in western ships for being more capacious, faster and stable than Japanese ships.
In 1896, another company “Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd.” was incorporated whose first president was Kojiro Matsukata. This was the man who expanded company’s business from ship to air crafts and introduced Kawasaki as leading heavy industrial company in Japan.
This was not the end rather a start of wonderful journey of achievements and developments where the indefatigable efforts of the engineers opened new horizons for the company. The construction of dry dock is hiding a lot of success and failure stories but finally the target was accomplished in 1902. In 1904, a new challenge was awarded to the company by Japan Navy to build new submarines for Japan and this target was achieved by 1906 successfully. Kawasaki company kept moving forward and made an hilarious history. In 1911, Kawasaki introduced its first locomotive which was highly praised by the ministry of railways because it was far better than foreign locomotives already running in Japan.
Matsukata, the president of Kawasaki, was very much impressed by the use of aircraft in World War I, so he established Kawasaki’s Aircraft Department at Hyogo in 1918. Aircraft manufacturing started in 1922 and successfully developed Japan’s first metal aircraft whose test flights were conducted in Sohara Village (currently known as Kakamigahara City). This plane was adopted by Japan’s military after admitting its excellence during the test flights.
In 1928, “Kawasaki Rolling Stock Manufacturing Co., Ltd.” established as an independent company after spinning off Hyogo Works. Kawasaki started to manufacture automobiles and produced trucks, buses and cars for Japan’s imperial family. Kawasaki made an unleashed progress and exporting a large number of freight cars, passenger coaches and locomotives to China adding a great value to Japan’s economy.
in 1969, “Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.” was established with the merge of Kawasaki Dockyard, Kawasaki Rolling Stock Manufacturing and Kawasaki Aircraft and in the same year (1969), Kawasaki debut its first Motorcycle H1 having 2-stroke, 3-cylinder, 498 cm3 engine capacity. In that era, European motorbikes were dominating U.S market but H1 proved to be a great success in U.S market because of its unique attributes and high performance.