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    換喩

    According to the Mitsubishi Fuso website, the company name has charming origins:

    When the B46 autobus was created, the company held an internal search for a nickname, and the name that was selected was Fuso. Fuso (扶桑: “caretaking” + “mulberry”) is a Chinese word of ancient origin that refers to “sacred trees that grow in the Land of the Rising Sun on the East Sea” and was used as a variant name for Japan. The actual fuso trees are called “bussoge” and are more generally known as “[Chinese] hibiscus.”

    The site doesn’t mention that, while mitsubishi (三菱) is commonly understood to mean “three diamonds,” the hishi literally means “water chestnut,” so there’s kind of a mixed plant metaphor thing going on there. I suppose that might be considered an additional part of the charm.

    Not so charming, unfortunately, is the company’s endless string of problems with defective trucks. The latest problem is with wheel hubs that were introduced in response to previous defects:

    Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp. has announced it will recall tens of thousands of its large trucks because of concerns over a potential defect in the wheel hub, company sources said Tuesday.

    The wheel hub in question is a new type introduced following a large-scale recall in 2004. However, fractures and cracks in the hubs have been discovered in a number of cases since October.

    Until now, the company has maintained to the Construction and Transport Ministry that the problem would not occur under normal conditions and that it was the result of a maintenance error. However, the sources said the company now believes the new hub is simply too weak.

    Five years ago, a woman driving with her two children in Yokohama was killed when a wheel detached from a passing truck. The accident was highly publicized because it’s the kind of thing that’s not supposed to happen in Japan, with its vaunted transportation systems and technology. Note that Mitsubishi Motors, M. Fuso’s parent corporation, has had completely unrelated problems of its own with, among other things, the clutches in its cars.

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