Within each Lexus production facility, there is no greater honour than to be called a takumi. Yet equally, there is no greater responsibility.
In Japan, the word takumi refers to a craftsperson who is unrivalled in their particular field of expertise. It is applied to artisans who have been honing their senses and level of skill over a period of at least 25 years.
Each takumi master is positioned as a team leader, instructor, talent scout and quality control auditor. Each focuses on a particular element of the process, where it becomes their passion and obsession. Together they ensure that no vehicle passes to the next build stage or leaves the factory until it has been meticulously checked and approved. There are no shortcuts built into this process.
These highly skilled takumi therefore play a key role in delivering the unrivalled quality present in every Lexus vehicle. They are the guardians of our artisan philosophy. They are the craftspeople that have the responsibility of applying the most subtle and finely tuned human senses to the production process: sight that can see marks invisible to the untrained eye, hearing that can tune an engine with surgical precision, and touch that can detect imperfections of a fraction of a millimetre.
The practice of ‘guerilla testing’ – hiding imperfections to test the team – is just one of the ways that Lexus craftspeople constantly test and train their sensory skills.
There is only one route to such superior craftsmanship: time. Most of the renowned skills of each takumi predate the digital age and yet while Lexus is committed to ensuring that this expertise is passed on to the next generation of craftspeople, many of the automated functions within each production facility have been programmed with takumi-like skills. Our technology learns from and is nurtured by the finest craftspeople, the end result being automation with artisanal flair.
We also recognise that technological innovation drives Lexus craft to new levels, powering original techniques and making use of unconventional materials where possible.
In that respect, Lexus recognises that partnering with artisans from other fields is integral to our overall commitment to excellence. We actively seek collaborations with people who inspire us with their time-honed skills and creativity. These collaborations have resulted in unique aesthetic touches to delight the customer, such as the kiriko glass ornamentation of the Lexus LS and the laser-etched wood veneers of the Lexus RX.
And this brings us back to you, the Lexus owner, the ultimate beneficiary of the skills and attention to detail of each takumi master. So we could similarly ask: What does takumi craftsmanship mean to you as a Lexus driver? We would be delighted to hear your comments via the contact box below.