Tatsuo Hasegawa

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Tatsuo Hasegawa (長谷川 龍雄, Hasegawa Tatsuo, February 8, 1916April 29, 2008) was a Japanese automotive engineer, and known as the development chief of the first Toyota Corolla. He built the base of the economy cars in Japan through the development of the Corolla and the Toyota Publica.[1]

Early years

Tatsuo Hasegawa was born in Tottori, Tottori Prefecture on February 8, 1916. After majoring in aerodynamics as a self-supporting student, he graduated from the Section of Aeronautics of the Faculty of Engineering at the Tokyo Imperial University in 1939.[2]

Tachikawa Ki-94

After graduating, he joined Tachikawa Aircraft Corporation and was related to the development of the Tachikawa Ki-94 in 1943 as the chief designer. The high-altitude interceptor aircraft was designed to intercept the bomber, and proposed to the Imperial Japanese Army. One aircraft was completed in August 1945 but before it flew, the World War II ended.[2]

Before the start of the development, Hasegawa had designed an airfoil based on his theory, and publishing the paper in the scholarly journal of the Japan Society for Aeronautical Sciences (present The Japan Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences) in March, 1942. He named it "TH airfoil theory" after his name (Tatsuo Hasegawa). He used the "TH airfoil" to the Ki-94.[3]

The idea of this theory is very similar to the Supercritical airfoil theory that NASA created later in the 1960s, thus, when NASA lodged the patent application of the airfoil in Japan in 1979, this patent was not admitted to the agency.[3]


He lost job by the end of the war because Japan was prohibited to manufacture the airplane under control of the General Head Quarter (GHQ) of General Douglas MacArthur, but, in next year, Hasegawa was employed by Toyota which was recruiting engineers at that time.[4]

After he joined Toyota, Hasegawa was involved in the development of the Toyota Crown as the sub-chief (fuku-Shusa) of the development to support his chief (Shusa), Kenya Nakamura.[5]

At the development for the Crown, the Shusa (product manager) Organization was introduced first time.[6] It is considered that this system referred to the Chief designer system of the fighter development.[4]

The first generation of the Toyota Corolla.

Afterwards, he led the developments of the first generation models of Toyota Publica, Sports 800, Corolla, Celica and Carina, as the chief (Shusa).[2] He also was involved in the Toyopet SKB truck, the precursor to the Toyota Dyna

He was promoted to the general manager of the product planning office and senior director, and retired from this industry in 1982.[2]

After Toyota

Hasegawa was a senior consultant to DuPont, Delaware, between 1982 and 1988, where he advised them on the marketing strategy aimed at automobile industry. Detroit Development Center may be one of his contributions.

Afterwards, he returned to Japan and concentrating on gardening with roses and cattleyas.

On November 15, 2004, he was elected one of 2004 inductees in Japan Automotive Hall of Fame for application of aerodynamics theory to automobile design, and main-stream product planning and management in corporate environment.

On April 29, 2008, Tatsuo Hasegawa died aged 92 in Yokohama, Kanagawa.[2]


  1. "元トヨタ自動車工業専務の長谷川龍雄さん死去" (in Japanese). asahi.com. 2008-05-07. http://www.asahi.com/obituaries/update/0507/NGY200805070008.html?ref=rss. Retrieved on 7 May 2008. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Akio Hasegawa, son of Tatsuo Hasegawa (2008-05-07). "My Father Tatsuo Hasegawa (1916 - 2008)". http://members.aol.com/pinealguy/tatsuo.htm. Retrieved on 2008-05-07. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Akio Yamazaki (in Japanese). 幻の高高度戦闘機 キ94―B‐29迎撃機の開発秘録. Japan: Miki Press (三樹書房). ISBN 4895222993. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "初代カローラ開発の長谷川龍雄氏による「主査10ヶ条」" (in Japanese). NB online. 2006-08-29. http://business.nikkeibp.co.jp/article/tech/20060825/108606/. Retrieved on 2008-05-07. 
  5. "初長谷川龍雄物語" (in Japanese). Toyota Publica Owners Club. http://www6.ocn.ne.jp/~publica/hasegawa-1.html. Retrieved on 2008-05-07. 
  6. Kentaro Nobeoka (1995-04-04). "Reorganizing for Multi-Project Management: Toyota’s New Structure of Product Development Centers" (PDF). Kobe University. http://imvp.mit.edu/papers/95/Nobeoka/nobe-3.pdf. Retrieved on 2008-05-07. 

Re: 2. Akio Hasegawa's page; AOL hometown web service was officially shut down on October 31 2008, so the page was translocated to new host at <<http://www.geocities.jp/pinealguy/tatsuo/tatsuo.htm>>

External links