Akio Morita

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{son, year, death}
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{@card@, make, design}
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Akio Morita KBE (盛田 昭夫 Morita Akio, January 26, 1921, Tokoname, Aichi – October 3, 1999, Tokyo) was a Japanese businessman and co-founder of Sony Corporation along with Masaru Ibuka.

Contents

Early life

Morita's family was involved in sake, miso and soy sauce production in the Chita Peninsula, Aichi Prefecture since 1665. He was the oldest of four siblings and his father Kyuzaemon trained him as a child to take over the family business. Akio, however, found his true calling in mathematics and physics, and in 1944 he graduated from Osaka Imperial University with a degree in physics. He later joined the navy and served as a lieutenant during World War II. During his service, Morita met his future business partner Masaru Ibuka in the Navy's Wartime Research Committee.

Sony

On May 7, 1946, Morita and Ibuka founded Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation, the forerunner of Sony Corporation) with about 20 employees and initial capital of ¥190,000. Ibuka was 38 years old, Morita, 25. Morita's family invested in Sony during the early period and was the largest shareholder.

In 1949, the company developed magnetic recording tape and in 1950, sold the first tape recorder in Japan. In 1957, it produced a pocket-sized radio (the first to be fully-transistorized), and in 1958, Morita and Ibuka decided to rename their company Sony (sonus is Latin for sound, and Sonny-boys is Japanese slang for "whiz kids"). Morita was an advocate for all the products made by the Sony Corporation. However, since the radio was slightly too big to fit in a shirt pocket, Morita made his employees wear shirts with slightly larger pockets to give the radio a "pocket sized" appearance. In 1960, it produced the first transistor television in the world. In 1975, it released the first Betamax home video recorder, a year before VHS came out. In 1979, the Walkman was introduced, making it the world's first portable music player. In 1984, Sony launched the Discman series which extended their Walkman brand to portable CD products.

In 1960, the Sony Corporation of America was established in the United States. In 1961, the Sony Corporation of America was the first Japanese company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Sony bought CBS Records Group (Columbia Records, Epic Records and other CBS labels) in 1988 and Columbia Pictures Entertainment (Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures and others) in 1989.

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