This story starts more than fifteen years ago, all the way back to
The words of Yorizane, who at that time was the head of our technical
department, triggered the start of our search for optimum seating
"Don't you agree that a truly great seat is a seat in which you
forget you are "sitting" on something?"
Keeping this thought in mind, we embarked on our quest to develop
an excellent automotive seat; our first task was to study the seating
of as many European cars as possible, which were known for their comfort,
to try and understand the key elements of their superior quality.
At the motor show in Frankfurt, our current technical director even
went as far as to sit on the Opel's seat for no less than two hours,
trying to "memorize" how it felt, all the while enduring
the glares of those around him at the exhibit.
We tried a wide variety of materials; we have looked at, tried, and
made prototypes out of many possible materials said to have good cushioning
qualities, such as viscoelastic urethane used in low-resilience pillows,
polyester fiber cushions, and gels.
These materials all had excellent qualities, but when considered for
use in the automotive seating environment, they had several drawbacks,
Suddenly, the latch needle, circular knitting machine used for women's
hosiery that we had seen in Europe came to mind. A knitted textile's
structure had the cushioning properties we were seeking. Thus began
the development of our "3-D weave" material, based on a
sample of so-called "space fabric" that we had obtained.
However, the development process wasn't easy. Engineers in Germany, known for their excellence in seating technology, laughed at the idea; "You can't build a seat solely out of three dimentional fabric!"
There were indeed various issues to tackle, such as its rigidity.
We aimed to increase its strength by utilizing a very heavy thread,
but it was difficult to find someone that could even make such a product.
At the point in which we were at a total loss for how to proceed,
we happened upon a "three-dimensional solid weave" completely
by chance. It then took 10 years to realize the fruits of our idea.
Yorizane, who triggered the whole process, warmly watched over us for those ten years. He had already reached the age at which he would have retired. As his retirement drew near, he began having health problems, and was having difficulty walking due to the illness, which was affecting his balance. Yorizane would call over one of the people on his seat development team, asking him to carry him on his back, that person becoming a substitute for Yorizane's own legs--but it was never done in the spirit of bullying or harassment. Then one day, one of the team members had a sudden inspiration. "Why does he have us carry him on our backs?"
It is the human body that has superior cushioning characteristics--it
is more comfortable than anything.
He said this to Mr. Yorizane, who he was carrying around at the time;
Yorizane gave him a playful blow to the head. "You finally realized
it, you fool!"
Those were Yorizane's last instructions to us.
"A cushion that has characteristics similar to those of muscle
would be ideal."
After all that time, we had finally hit upon the answer. It became
the foundation of our development project.