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THE LEGEND OF “WASAMON” #5 : One Pedal Cars

Mayuna Mizutani Mayuna Mizutani 11/05/2018 11 min read
In the center of Kyushu, in the far west of Japan, lies a land called Kumamoto. Surrounded by a bottle green sea and towering mountains, this place of outstanding beauty is known as the “Land of Fire”…and where there is beautiful nature, unique and intriguing cultures flourish. Naturally, the people of Kumamoto have imbued their own culture and language with these same, mystifying characteristics…  


— the article series that aims to introduce the “WASAMON” people of Kumamoto.   ep.5 – Axel & Brake, all in one!? The Magic of “One-Pedal” Cars!     What do you think of when you see the phrase “Made in Japan”? For all you loyal comic book fans out there, I imagine it would be MANGA… But for those who don’t read Manga, they would undoubtably think of “Cars”. TOYOTA, HONDA, MAZDA… Japanese cars are beloved by many drivers around the world, thanks to their high quality focus on safety. On the other hand, some people make fun of Japanese cars, saying that they are “Boring”, “uncool” and too “SAFE”! Buying a Japanese car would be a “steady” choice, though many “petrol heads” may say it’s insipid. BUT! There is a WASAMON in Kumamoto, ushering in a new phase in the way we drive cars! Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you “NARUSE Machinery” – a machinery maker in Tamana city, Kumamoto, who have revolutionized the way cars can be operated.

The “One Pedal”.

The “One Pedal” is an unified pedal, with all the functions of the other pedals congregated into one. Fantastically easy to use, you slide your foot horizontally to use increase speed (the “axel”) and push onto the pedal to brake. For all you none-drivers out there, there are usually 2~3 pedals in a car: the “axel”, the “brake” and the “clutch (only on MT)”. Generally speaking, the axel enables the car to move forward, while the brake makes it stop with the clutch there to smoothly change gears. Drivers need to step on the right pedal at the right time to ensure a safe and comfortable drive. Although driving a car is fun and convenient, the driver must be aware that they are surrounded by many dangers. There has been untold accidents where the drivers has stepped on the wrong pedal. The drivers are sometimes confused with which pedal to step on, especially among elderly drivers whose movements tend to be a lot slower.

Mr. Masuyuki Naruse, the inventor of the “One Pedal”. “I am quite the clumsy type, so I do think more than anybody else. And I don’t give up easily either (laughs). But I believe that’s why I could invent the handy ‘One Pedal'”, he says.

The president of NARUSE Machinery, Mr. Masuyuki Naruse, experienced this problem 30 years ago, when out driving his car. The fear he felt drove him to invent a car component which would make driving more safer, contrary to the fact that his company did not make car machinery. After 3 years of intense study and research, Mr. Masuyuki Naruse finally invented a prototype of the “One Pedal”. And 10 years late, the “One Pedal” has become the pedal it is now. Now, the “One Pedal” has a patent, both domestically and internationally. Although the number of cars actually utilizing the “One Pedal” is still small, interest, plus the number of offers are increasing year on year! Not only does the “One Pedal” help to minimize potential accidents, it’s proven to be an invaluable invention for the physically disabled. With MT cars, you have to step on the clutch with your left foot, while breaking with the right foot, both of which are extremely difficult for drivers with mobility issues. As for AT cars, though there might be less pedals, drivers still have to exchange the foot position rapidly to ensure the car operates. But with one pedal operating all car functions with easy operation, the “One Pedal” has offered a lifeline to many.

Mr. Koshin Arata, who works as a salesman at NARUSE Machinery. Every day he goes out to fulfill his duties with the “One Pedal” car.

Mr. Koshin Arata, a salesman at NARUSE Machinery, and himself disabled, received the news of this new invention with delight, going onto say… “Due to disease, I had to have my right leg amputated, beginning my new life with an artificial leg. Despairing that I couldn’t drive a car anymore, I encountered the ‘One Pedal’. I got familiar with operating it in a flash, enabling me to drive again that same day. I really couldn’t have been happier, and 3 years ago, I entered this company hoping to spread that same joy to more and more people around the world.” Mr. Arata has a dream, to support all the disabled people who love to drive – from those who lost their leg by diseases and accidents, to people who were injured by mines.

This is how the “One Pedal” looks like on an actual car. This model can be used by both the left and right feet.

What started as an idea to minimize accidents has became a ray of hope for the drivers with difficulties. “One Pedal” has earned its place as an epoch-making design which bravely strayed away from the standard “2~3 pedal” ideas while ensuring the “safety” of Japanese car design. I strongly believe this passion, coupled with the challenging spirit of the people at NARUSE Machinery will revolutionize the way cars are designed in the future!   Penmaru: I heard that Tamana city provides a subsidy to people who install the NARUSE “One Pedal”! Isn’t it just so cool to be able to drive a car by one leg? Maybe I should try the “One Pedal” when I learn to drive a car!     Shihan: NARUSE Machinery was originally a small company that provided machinery for agricultural/fishery use. The way they created something NEW out of small resources definitely embodies their “WASAMON” spirit, I suppose!     The next episode will be the FINAL EPISODE of this series!! The topic is… that lovely SOMETHING that decorates your fragrant afternoon break time! Be sure to prepare your snacks as you read our next, and last thrilling installment! See you next time♪   Would you like to try driving the “One Pedal “car? What kind of creative features do the cars in your country have? Please do let us know, by sharing this article with your friends on SNS! Don’t forget to follow Mayu on Twitter /Facebook, as well!
Mayuna Mizutani

Mayuna Mizutani