How did Subaru come up with their logo? What does the Subaru emblem mean?

Stanley Subaru answers these questions about the Subaru logo below:

Subaru is the automobile manufacturing division of Japanese transportation conglomerate FujiHeavy Industries (FHI).

Subaru is internationally known for their use of the Boxer engine layout similar to those in cars like the Volkswagen Beetle and Porche 911, in most of their vehicles above 1500 cc as well as their use of the all wheel drive drive-train layout, the 4x4 first introduced in 1972, and the AWD became standard equipment for mid-size and smaller cars in most international markets as of 1996, and is now standard in all US market Subaru vehicles. The lone exception is the BRZ introduced in 2012, utilizing RWD. They also offer many turbocharged versions of their passenger cars, such as the Impreza WRX.

Subaru 1500, top; 1958 Subaru 360.

FujiHeavy Industries, the parent company of Subaru, is currently in a partial partnership with ToyotaMotor Corporation, which owns 16.5% of FHI.

Subaru is the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster, which in turn inspires the Subaru logo and alludes to the five companies that merged to create FHI. The word "subaru" means "united" in Japanese, and Fuji Heavy Industries has used the term to describe how the Pleiades constellation is a unification of the stars.  Fuji Heavy Industries is therefore a constellation of companies united together.

In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters (Messier Object 45, or M45), is an open star cluster containing middle-aged hot B-Type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky.  Pleiades has several meanings in different cultures and traditions.

The cluster is dominated by hot blue and extremely luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Dust that forms a faint reflection nebula around the brightest stars was thought at first to be left over from the formation of the cluster (hence the alternate name Maia Nebula after the star Maia), but is now known to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium that the stars are currently passing through. Astronomers estimate that the cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighborhood.

The nine brightest stars of the Pleiades are named for the Seven Sisters of Greek mythology: Sterope, Merope, Electra, Maia, Taygeta, Celaeno, and Alcyone, along with their parents Atlas and Pleione. As daughters of Atlas, the Hyades were sisters of the Pleiades. The English name of the cluster itself is of Greek origin, though of uncertain etymology. Suggested derivations include: from  pleîn, to sail, making the Pleiades the "sailing ones"; from pleos, full or many; or from peleiades, flock of doves.

Phenomenica, an online encyclopedia of Mysteries, Phenomena, Ancient History and Science, describes the Greek mythological origins of Pleiades:


"There is nothing else like the Pleiades star cluster in the sky. Few observers can look very long at the night sky at this time of year without noticing the Pleiades stars and wondering what they really are.  The traditional Greek legend for the Seven Sisters - as this cluster has long been known - is that they are the daughters of Atlas and Pleione. Their father, Atlas, rebelled against Zeus, the king of the gods, who retaliated by sentencing him to forever holding up the heavens on his shoulders.  This so grieved the sisters that Zeus placed them in the heavens so that they could be close to their father.

Interestingly, widely separated and totally different cultures have always described the Pleiades as the "Seven Sisters," "Seven Maidens," or "Seven Little Girls." Yet, only six stars are readily visible to most observers.  Those with more acute eyesight may glimpse up to 12 under good conditions. But why this cluster has been cited by more than one early people as having seven members remains a mystery."



1. From Phenomenica "Gleaming Venus to Have Rendezvous With Seven Sisters on Tuesday" written in April, 2012.: <> Accessed on July 13, 2012.

2.  From Wikipedia "Pleiades": <>, Accessed on July 13, 2012.

3. Fuji Heavy Industries, <>, Accessed on July 13, 2012.

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