Akio Morita – Sony Corporation founder
Akio Morita was a founder of Sony Corporation. Now Sony is one of the most successful companies in the world.
Morita was born on January 26, 1921 in Nagoya, Japan. For 14 generations, his family owned a company that made a rice drink called sake. He graduated from Osaka University.
As a physicist by profession, Morita was an officer in the Japanese Navy during the Second World War. In military research committee he met Masaru Ibuka, who was looking for young and talented engineers for his own company.
On May 7, 1946, they founded the Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo KK (Tokyo telecommunications engineering corporation), the predecessor of the Sony. Ibuka was 38 years old, while Morita was 25.
In 1949, the company made a magnetic recording film, and in 1950 they sold the first tape recorder in Japan.
In 1957, the company was renamed Sony (finding a Western root from the Latin sonus, meaning ‘‘sound,’’ and combining it with the English nickname ‘‘Sonny’’). In the same year Sony produced a very small radio. It was so small that it fit in a pocket. Years later, Morita decided to create a small tape recorder. It was portable. People could carry it with them and listen to music. The tape recorder also had headphones. He called it the Walkman.
In 1960, Sony released the first transistor television in the world.
In 1961, Sony Corporation of America became the first Japanese company ranking in the lists of the New York Stock Exchange. In 1989, Sony bought Columbia Pictures film studio.
Morita was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and Williams College and various medals of honor in Japan, Great Britain, France, West Germany, Austria, and Brazil, among others.
In 1982, he was awarded the Albert Medal of the Royal Society of Arts. He was the first Japanese to get this title. Two years later, he received the prestigious National Order of the Legion of Honor, and in 1991 he was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Emperor of Japan.
In 1987, Morita wrote Made In Japan, a historical biography detailing his rise to success.
People called him “Mr. Sony”. He traveled around the world and met world leaders and businesspeople. He worked very hard.
On November 25, 1994, Morita announced his resignation as head of Sony. Morita and his wife, Yoshiko, had two sons and a daughter.
Morita died of pneumonia on October 3, 1999 in Tokyo at the age of 78.