Inside Mazda

Jinba Ittai

The Oneness of Horse and Rider

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Just like the symbiotic relationship developed over time by a horse and rider—Jinba Ittai—driving the MX-5 Miata feels like a natural extension of your being. When Mazda released the first-generation MX-5 Miata in the U.S. in 1989, the company ignited an evolutionary revolution.

As a former program manager for the MX-5 at Mazda Japan, Takeo Kijima has worked hard to implement the newest technologies and the Jinba Ittai principle to ensure the best driving experience.

“When the car and driver are in perfect harmony,” Kijima said, “driving is fun.”

A horse and rider communicate through tactile response. The horse adjusts its gait to allow the archer to release his arrow. Kijima explains that Mazda aims to create the same relationship between car and driver.

“For instance,” Kijima added, “the location of the shift lever, whether it’s more in the front, off to the side or farther back, will determine what muscles are used to operate it. We need to balance the amount of strength needed to feel oneness.”

When the original MX-5 debuted in 1989, it adhered closely to the core principles of the basic roadsters, but with one important difference: The MX-5 was reliable. It didn’t leak oil all over your driveway. It started every time and didn’t overheat, even in 100-degree weather. Bringing reliability to the small roadster segment was an evolutionary revolution.

An overnight sensation, the MX-5 became the light, nimble and affordable roadster to have.

While most people initially bought the new Mazda for its looks, they very quickly discovered the Miata was also a very willing partner when it came to having fun on the road. All of those attributes carry over unfiltered into the fourth-generation, 2016 MX-5.

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