Tokuji Hayakawa

Managing Real Estate Broker with Fathom Realty PB00068179

Tokuji Hayakawa was born in Tokyo, Japan back in 1893.  He was adopted, where he left primary school after the second grade to his family’s poverty.  He found work as a maker of metallic ornaments to help the family survive.  He died in Tokyo in 1980, he was 86.

What you may not know about Tokuji is that he was an inventor also.  He invented the “Tokubijō.”  It was a belt buckle that used rollers to fasten a belt without puncturing it.  His first order was the 4,752 buckles.  He opened his own foundry the Hayakawa Kinzoku Kōgyō making the buckle.  In 1915, he invented the “Ever Ready Sharp” mechanical pencil, hence the name of his company changed to the Sharp Corporation.  Interesting on how corporations, companies get their name isn’t it?

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Comments (19)

Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, James Dray 

History Collection: History Tokuji Hayakawa - Company Founder Sharp

A Tale of Two Pencils: Charles R. Keeran's Eversharp and Hayakawa ...

Jul 04, 2020 03:46 AM
John Henry, Florida Architect

thanks for the research!!

Jul 07, 2020 10:00 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, James, for sharing this interesting story.

Jul 04, 2020 04:42 AM
Raymond E. Camp
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good morning James,

It had to beat walking to the basement for the pencil sharpener!

Make yourself an astonishing day.

Jul 04, 2020 05:34 AM
Donald Urschalitz
Lubeck Realty Group - Jupiter, FL
P.A. Realtor ABR RSPS North Palm Beach County

Well there is no boundaries for the human imagination. Stay safe and enjoy the 4th.

Jul 04, 2020 05:53 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello James - thank you for the information on Mr Hayakawa.  He definitely seems like a person who was both ready as well as sharp.  In many ways.  

Jul 04, 2020 06:34 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Happy 4th of July James and thanks for another great history lesson for us here in the rain.


Jul 04, 2020 07:03 AM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Happy 4th James to you and family. Interesting story. 

Jul 04, 2020 07:51 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning James Dray - that name certainly became a household word.

Jul 04, 2020 09:08 AM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

Wow, pretty amazing story, and he lived to the ripe old age of 86 :)

Jul 04, 2020 11:30 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

How very interesting!!!  And yes, Sharp is a very familiar name! Happy July Fourth!!!

Jul 04, 2020 02:15 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Had no idea about Sharp and how it came about loved it,  Hope you had a fantastic Fourth of July James!

Jul 04, 2020 09:31 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

This style of pencil is very popular in our home with two artists in the family James Dray . As far as the belt buckle... I have had horrible luck with it.

Jul 05, 2020 07:12 AM
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

 Hi James Dray,  from my years at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, I was so fortunate to have many Japanese friends.  I found this story today very interesting.  Seems  TOKUJI  HAYA KAWA  had a motivated and strong inner drive.

Speaking of names, I like the rhythm in the Japanese name.  For instance, two of my friends had the following last names:
      YOSHI MOTO     and     YAMA SAKI.

Jul 05, 2020 01:31 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I thought I also read, someplace, that he was the inventor of the ball point pen along with the Sharp dynasty...

Happy Monday once again, James Dray 

Jul 06, 2020 09:34 AM
AndreaBFerreira CRS - SRS - CLHMS
Keyes Co. - Davie, FL
Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County in FL

We learn something new everyday. Thank you for sharing... fun facts help to break the ice sometimes... Have a great day.

Jul 07, 2020 07:49 AM
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

wow, good one there, James!!  Had no clue.  As usual.

Jul 07, 2020 10:00 AM
Bill Dean
Haggerty Team St. Louis, Mo. - Fenton, MO
William Dean - Broker, Salesperson

So I guess it is safe to say that Tokuji  was a Sharp guy who really buckled down?    lol

Jul 07, 2020 02:27 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Such a simple thing...a belt with a roller that allows the belt to fit people of various waist measurement...and without making holes in the belt. So simple and, yet, pure genius!

Jul 07, 2020 04:58 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi James:

That was pretty interesting. The mechanical pencil alone was an achievement, and who hasn't heard of Sharp? Rather intriguing how he go from the belt buckle to the pencil!


Jul 08, 2020 08:36 PM