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Social Innovation

As a company that's been focused on Social Innovation since its inception, Hitachi has an illustrious history of developing leading-edge technology and innovative products that enhance lives, improve communities, and inspire action.

The company has amassed an impressive list of significant milestones and breakthroughs dating back to 1910 when Namihei Odaira, founder of Hitachi, created the 5HP electric motor. As one of the forerunners in the development of motor technology, Odaira played a pioneering role in what has become an indispensable device for a wide range of fields including power generation, transportation, and manufacturing.

On track for bigger and better things

In 1924, Hitachi elevated its ambitions when it became the first Japanese company to produce a large-scale electric locomotive. Although it was built for the Ministry of Railways and designed to pull freight, company officials point to it as one of the predecessors to the remarkable transportation solutions and technologies that Hitachi has developed to move communities forward in the years since.

Between 1930 and 1950, Hitachi proved their abilities. In this time, the company diversified its product range to offer communications equipment, transformers, elevators, refrigerators, and electrical cables.

In 1960, Hitachi accepted an offer to supervise the construction of the Tokyo Monorail-a task for which no other company expressed an interest as it was considered a very difficult undertaking at the time. This massive project over and under the sea was completed in 1964. Hitachi also participated in the prototype development of railcars for the Tokaido Shinkansen Line which opened for service in the same year. This high-speed rail line reduced the travel time between Tokyo and Osaka from 7 hours to just 3 hours and 10 minutes, a reduction that significantly changed the lifestyles of the Japanese people.

Adding to their list of accomplishments

As a precursor to what is arguably the most significant invention known to man, Hitachi introduced the first domestically produced supercomputer in 1982, enabling ultra-high speed computation in scientific calculations. That same year, the National Museum of Nature and Science in Japan designated it as a Future Technology Heritage.

The 1990s was a productive decade for the company as they developed a wide range of innovative products that have had a profound impact on the way we live our lives. From connecting people and relaying information through their fiber optic data transmission equipment, personal fax machines, and digital cameras, to improving medical care and saving lives with magnetocardiography technology, the magnitude of their contributions to society is far reaching.

As a global major player

The dawn of a new century has underlined the organization's commitment to the business of social innovation with an array of initiatives in information and telecommunication systems, medical equipment, power systems, and industrial, transportation and urban development systems.

With a wealth of experience and an impressive product portfolio, Hitachi is wholly focused on promoting the innovations that have a positive impact on every facet of life. They are routinely called upon to play a key role in a variety of important projects related to a global infrastructure in need of repair including water issues, energy, and transportation.

Milestones at a glance

1910 - 1919 Created a domestically produced 5HP electric motor
1920 - 1929 Built Japan's first domestically produced large electric locomotive
1930 - 1939 Supplied 2,500 hydro-electrolytic cells
1940 - 1959 Produced the first water turbine generator
1960 - 1979 Contributed to Tokyo Monorail
1980 - 1989 S-810: the first domestically produced supercomputer
1990 - 1999 Created the DNA sequencer to accelerate the elucidation of the human genome
2000 - Developed the Proton Therapy System expected to enable early treatment of cancer

Namihei Odaira : Founder of Hitachi

  • Born in Tochigi Prefecture in 1874
  • Graduate of Tokyo Imperial University in electrical engineering
  • Operated an electrical repair shop in a copper mine
  • Manufactured a domestically-produced 5-HP motor
  • Founded Hitachi in 1910

Hitachi's Research and Development

Hitachi's Research and Development