Masaru Ibuka PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 31 October 2008 09:05

Masaru Ibuka

Born: April 11, 1908, Nikkō City, Japan

Died: December 19, 1997, Tokyo

Age: 89

Cause of death: Heart failure.

Notable because: Co-founded Sony. He died just 3 Months after his friend and Sony co-founder Akio Morita. Tennis player.


Masaru Ibuka was a Japanese electronics industrialist. He co-founded what is now Sony.

He graduated in 1933 from Waseda University where he was nicknamed "genius inventor." After graduating, he went to work at Photo-Chemical Laboratory, a company which processed movie film. In 1945, he left the company and founded a radio repair shop in Tokyo.

In 1946 Ibuka and Akio Morita co-founded Sony Corporation, originally named Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation (prior to 1958). Ibuka was instrumental in securing the licensing of transistor technology to Sony from Bell Labs in the 1950s, thus making Sony one of the first companies to apply transistor technology to non-military uses. Ibuka served as president of Sony from 1950 to 1971, and then served as chairman of Sony between 1971 and 1976. Ibuka left Sony in 1976, but maintained close ties as an advisor until his death in 1997 of a heart failure.

On May 7, 1946, Morita and Ibuka founded Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation, the forerunner to 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 made the decision 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. He helped sell his new radio by claiming that it was "pocket sized" and had the ability to fit in a normal shirt pocket. However, the radio was slightly too big to fit in a shirt pocket, so Morita made his business men wear shirts with slightly larger pockets giving the radio a "pocket sized" appearance. In 1960 it produced the first transistor television in the world. 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 Columbia Records and other CBS labels in 1988 and Columbia Pictures in 1989.

On November 25, 1994, Morita announced his resignation as Sony chairman, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while playing tennis. His successor, Norio Ohga, had joined the company after sending Morita a letter denouncing the poor quality of the company's tape recorders.

Ibuka also authored the book Kindergarten is Too Late (1971), in which he claims that the most significant human learning occurs from ages 9 months to 3 years and suggests ways and means to take advantage of this. The book's foreword was written by Glenn Doman, founder of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, an organization that teaches parents about child brain development. Ibuka and Doman agreed that the first years of life were vital for education.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 December 2008 15:44

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