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Leaders 2014

  • 2014-03-24T03:00:00+02:00
  • Tokyo Broadcasting System
  • 2014-03-22T02:00:00+02:00
  • 125 mins
  • 4 hours, 10 mins
  • Drama
Before World War II, the automobile industry in developed countries in Europe and the United States possessed formidable technological capabilities. A youth who saw this industrial might with his own eyes, returns to Japan fired up with the dream to develop the national automobile industry with his own hands. This young man’s name is Aichi Saichiro, the son of the genius inventor Sasuke who founded Aichi Automated Looms. At that time, the patent for the automatic loom that his father had invented was bought for a large sum by a Western company and Saichiro is an executive director of Aichi Automated Looms which manufactured those looms. Although Saichiro is on the board of directors, he cannot forget the flourishing of the American automobile industry that he had witnessed firsthand. Convinced that the era of cars for Japan is near, he decides to start the development of domestically-made cars, something that would be called foolhardy then. Saichiro quickly chooses the engineers he needs from among the factory workers. In addition, he turns to his university alumni for guidance in the respective technologies and presses forward with development. However, Ishiyama Matazo, the company president of Aichi Automated Looms, is strongly opposed to this. He warns Saichiro that he will come up with the funds once. But after that, it will be Saichiro’s responsibility to raise the money. “We will create a car for the Japanese people from scratch with the hands of the Japanese. This is my ideal of a domestic car.” Saichiro loudly proclaims before the factory workers that have assembled. However, a big barrier stands in their way because of the casting process for the engine which is the heart of the car. Through the strong leadership of Saichiro and the hard work of those who support him, they finally successfully complete the first prototype car. Ironically, the passenger car which took five years to develop, came as war closed in. Saichiro and his men got through the difficulties of wartime with the production of army trucks, but even after the war ended, another hardship lay in wait due to the Bank of Japan’s monetary tightening. All the executives of the company scrambled to raise funds. However, Kondo Toshiro (Hagiwara Masato) who is central to this effort as the finance director, collapses and passes away. Without sufficient syndicated loans from banks, Saichiro and his men propose a bailout to the Bank of Japan as a tactic to revive the company, but the Nagoya branch manager is Yamanashi Yoshio (Kagawa Teruyuki), the former secretary of the president of the bank, Takarabe Noboru (Nakamura Hashinosuke) who is passive about protecting the domestic automobile industry. Despite the successive trials that they face after this including a labour dispute and Saichiro’s illness, they never give up and move positive progress.

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