Asakura Heavy Industries Lore Thread

Asakura Heavy Industries ( 朝倉重工業株式会社 - Asakura Jūkōgyō Kabushiki-gaisha)

Asakura Heavy Industries, known simply as Asakura, was founded in 1951 by Kaicho Shinichiro Asakura in his small and quite run-down hometown of Ichinoseki, Iwate. Although not an early player in the car company production game by any stretch of the imagination, the Kaicho took it upon himself to make use of the production slump of the 1940s and make his company profitable. The Kaicho would build the image of his company around building aesthetically pleasing vehicles, and ones that could be relied on to perform as expected for a reasonable amount of time. He called this principle ‘Beauty and Certainity (美しさと確実性 - Utsukushi-sa to kakujitsu-sei)’

Early Days: 1946 - 1955

In early 1946, Shinichiro Asakura would turn 17, and as an extension, decide to leave school to help his parents make a living on their allotment. Not much is known about this point in Asakura’s life, as he talked about it hesitantly and with little detail. It can be known that he developed his fascination with Beauty and Certainity after walking home one day as an 18 year old. He would look up to his right as the sun set, and note the beauty of what he saw. He would realise that barely anything is so beautiful yet as certain as the rising and falling if the sun, the certainity of its rising and falling making it ever more beautiful in his eyes.

It would be in 1951 where the story of Asakura Heavy Industries truly begins though, as this was the year that Asakura had finally collected the machinery required to start manufacturing with a large, generous donation from the Iwate Prefectural Government. He would find a small factory just outside his hometown of Ichinoseki, and begin the work required to start manufacturing. Enlisting assistance from the designers of a local maritime design company, they would begin designing their first engine, the ASAKURA HEAVY INDUSTRIES (AHI) ASA-10. It was a crude and poorly designed affair, featuring a direct-acting overhead camshaft and a fully cast-iron construction, contributing to an astonishingly low power output. This woukd be fitted to Asakura’s first ever vehicle, a small family coupe, the Asakura Sakai ASA-60.

Unsurprisingly, this faint attempt at a car would be fraught with error, from leaking head gaskets to a fuel system so unnecessarily complicated that under hard acceleration would tighten and restrict fuel flow to the engine. It would still sell moderately well, however, as even the comparatively more hillbilly Iwate residents saw the purchase of their very first car post-war to be a good investment if it helped homegrown Iwate businesses.