All the lock nuts used in the construction of Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo’s latest high-profile attraction, were Hardlock Nuts, invented by Wakabayashi.
The product’s capabilities have been widely recognized. The Hardlock Nut continues to be used for the construction of train tracks, shinkansen (bullet train) cars, buildings, and production plants. This trust has made its way overseas, and the lock nut now ensures the safety of railroad lines and the manufacturing industry in various countries. It also ensures the safety of NASA’s launch pad.
As the developer, all of this trust comes with a great deal of responsibility. When he started his first business in his twenties, Wakabayashi put all his energy into dealing with complaints. After that, he vowed that he would invent a product that was completely safe. Wakabayashi started his second business to develop and manufacture the Hardlock Nut, an idea he came up with based on the torii gate at Sumiyoshi Taisha (a Shinto shrine).
His first invention came in elementary school when he was living in a farming community, where he had been evacuated to during World War II. His desire to invent things that are useful has not wavered since.
Every morning, before morning assembly, all company employees clean up the area near the factory, which is something that takes place come rain or shine. This tenacious entrepreneur, who says that a company without a foundation of spiritual values cannot stay at the top, continues to brainstorm ideas at the model railroad area, which has been setup inside the factory.

Katsuhiko Wakabayashi

Wakabayashi was born in Osaka City in 1933. After graduating from the Osaka Institute of Technology, he worked as a design engineer with a valve manufacturer. In 1961, he developed the U-Nut, a type of lock nut, and founded his own company. He developed the Hardlock Nut in 1974 and founded Hard Lock Industry Co., Ltd. In 2009, he won the Special Prize in the 3rd Monozukuri Nippon Grand Award, which was presented by the Prime Minister of Japan. In the fall of that year, he was awarded The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, which was presented by the emperor of Japan under the recommendation of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Spirit and Spine
‘Kitohone’

created by
THE SPIRIT AND SPINE
CREATIVE FORCE,Tokyo

project direction
Gaku Okubo (ISUKE INC.)
photography
Yoshitomo Tanaka (Vivot)
site design
ISUKE INC. and ICA
title calligraphy
Kenryo Hara (Kikkokai)