Founder of Sony Corporation
Akio Morita was a Japanese businessman who co-founded the Sony Corporation. Born in Nagoya in 1921, his family were sake brewers who had been in the business for over 400 years. Mr Morita was viewed as the natural heir to the family business. From an early age he had a preoccupation with the functions of electronic appliances and was interested in maths and physics during his schooling years. He went on to study Physics at Osaka Imperial University and upon graduating was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Japanese Army during World War Two. It was during this time that Mr Morita met Masaru Ibuka, who would later become his co-founder of the Sony Corporation. In 1946 Mr Morita and Mr Ibuka founded the Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K, which had 20 employees and an initial capital of 190,000 yen. In 1949 the company developed the magnetic recording tape and sold its first tape recorder in 1950. By 1957 they had created a pocket-sized radio and in 1958 they changed their company name to Sony. During this period, Mr Morita was instrumental in Sony’s marketing, finances and human resources departments while Mr Ibuka worked on product improvements and technological developments. In 1960 they produced the first transistor television and in 1975 they produced the first home video recorder. In 1979 they released the Walkman, which became the world’s first portable music player. In 1984 they produced the Discman; an advancement on their previous Walkman products. From 1960 onward they expanded their company, opening up stores in the United States and becoming the first Japanese company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Mr Morita relinquished his position as Chairman in 1994 due to illness and died in 1999.