Let’s start with the first one on the left. This rarely seen logo will not win any design contests, but there are two things that stand out immediately. First, it is written in Romaji (the ABC’s). Second, they spelled Toyota “wrong”. Actually the spelling of Toyoda in the first logo is correct. The other two are technically “wrong”. Toyota was founded by Sakichi Toyoda (born 1867). His name is spelled with a “da”. It was changed later for reasons I will discuss below. In 1900, when Japan started to industrialize, Sakichi Toyoda was making looming machines that accomplished the difficult task of weaving thread into cloth. They did not start making cars until the 1930’s. In the early 1900’s it must have been very progressive to write your company’s name in “Romaji”. Especially when that company’s name is using your own family name, Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. Romaji, (literally; “Roman”, “ji”-letters) is when in Japanese, you use the Roman ABC’s to spell out words. It is very common in today’s Japan, but at the time must have been very forward thinking. Keep in mind that when Mr. Toyoda would write his name, he would write it in Kanji, the character based Japanese alphabet (sample of name below). He also had two other ways to write it in Japanese, Hiragana and Katakana (also seen below). He chose to write the company logo in Romaji. The second logo won’t win any design contests either. Actually, it did win a design contest. In 1936, three years after Toyoda established an automobile department, Toyoda held an open contest to design their new logo. Out of 27,000 entries this is the one that was chosen. Before all you import car guys get crazy and call it the “teq” logo, which I have seen in numerous Toyota enthusiast forums, you should be aware that this is not hard-to-read English. It is in fact, very calculated Japanese. I have taken the liberty of creating the imaginary logo that you are seeing in your head. WARNING: The logo on the left only exist in your head. Your eyes want to see the logo on the left! But it does not exist. You even want to give it a back story like; “teq” is short for “technology”, which is the Toyota research and development department before it was changed to “TRD” (Toyota Racing Development). Don’t let the Katakana intimidate you! Don’t start reading in English. Pull yourself together! If you read Part 1 of Toyota and Katakana you will start to recognize this logo for what it is: Three Japanese Katakana letters, (to, yo, and ta) forming the word “Toyota” This new logo was more than just a visual graphic change. The name switched from roman letters to Japanese Katakana. When read in Japanese the last letter reads as “ta” not “da”. There are two little lines that turn the voiced “da” sound into an unvoiced “ta” sound (below). It was decided to remove the 2 marks in the logo, and therefore change it to Toyo”ta”.