The father and the son contributed in improving shipbuilding technology in Japan over the two generations.
Focusing on the future potential of the Japanese shipbuilding industry, Hunter founded Osaka Iron Works in 1881, which became Hitachi Zosen Corporation as it is known today. Capturing the perfect timing in the industry when sailing ships were being switched over to steamships, Hunter completed Japan’s first steel vessel. The company built a pioneering construction technology for iron and steel ships in the 1890s, including the successful production of a triple steam engine, contributing to the advancement of Japanese shipbuilding technology.
His business is noteworthy in that it was created by a foreign founder as a private enterprise without any protection from the government.
Ryutaro Hanta, who inherited his business from his father, Hunter, worked on renewing management strategies and technology. He continued to expand the business, for example, by starting construction of large ships in 1900.
Despite the company’s separation from the shipbuilding business in 2002 and the shift to its current core business: energy and water in the environmental field, Hunter’s “Pioneer Spirit” still lives on in the company, 100 years after his death.