Since birth Morita seemed to be destined to change the way business is done. From his rich entrepreneurial heritage, to partnering up with Masaru Ibuka to create Sony, and pushing the limits of Sony even further by diversifying and expanding the company globally. Morita has proven his worth as a technoprophet. The world would not be the same if Morita and Sony did not exist.
Morita saw diversification has a way to push Sony to new heights. From 1970 to 1990 Morita ventured out of the electronics field and dived into areas such as Music, Insurance, and Movies. These ventures allowed Sony to become a company that deals with both software and hardware which allows it to keep the control of its operation internally.
However, with Sony expanding so quickly it had begun to raise tension in other foreign places especially in America. Morita foresaw this and was already active in building a cultural bridge between Japan and foreign countries as Vice Chairman of the Keidanren (Japan Federation of Economic Organizations) and as a member of the Japan-U.S. Economic Relations Group. Morita was very influential in easing the trade frictions between Japan and the U.S. One of the he did it was through one of his writings called "Made in Japan."
The book details Sony's humble beginnings and the Japanese's on work. Morita wrote that the Americans and Japanese were very similar in many aspects and this lead too many gaining a better understanding of the products that came out of Japan.
In order to fully take advantage of their new found success it was necessary for Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo to change its name. Morita realized that the company name was difficult for Americans to pronounce. Which lead Morita to change the company from Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo to Sony.
Sony comes from the mix of the Latin word sonus, which means the root of sonic and sound and the English word sunny. In Japan the word Sonny-boys was slang for whiz kids.
However, Sonny sounded too much like the saying soh-nee which means business goes bad in Japanese. So, Morita decided to make up a word and thus that is how the word Sony was coined. Of course many were against but Morita stayed firm in his decision and this lead the company to issue American Depositary Receipts in the U.S in 1961.
This allowed Sony to be the first Japanese company that had offered shares on the New York Stock Exchange. This paved the way for Japanese companies to raise capital in America which was against common practice at the time. Morita's Sony is changing the technological landscape on all levels but this is only the beginning.
TKK was the first to build Japan's first tape recorder called the Type-G. This was one of Morita first contributions to the technology field but it wouldn't be until the 1950s that would set him on the map.
Morita's partner Ibuka traveled to the United States in order to research Bell Labs' invention, the transistor. At the time most applications of transistors were being used for military purposes but Ibuka sought to use it for communication.
With Morita's know-how they licensed Bell Labs' technology and created the world's first commercially successful transistor radios. They created a series of transistors radios not only sold worldwide but which enable the company to expand and diversify its product selection.
This meeting would set the stage that would soon become the foundation of Sony. Morita meet Masaru Ibuka during his time in the Navy with its Wartime Research Committee in 1944.
It wouldn't be until ten years later that Morita saw an article about a research laboratory founded by Ibuka. The research laboratory was called Tokyo Telecommunications Research Institute and Morita decided to head to Tokyo and establish a new company with Ibuka.
The new company was named Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K. which in English means Tokyo Telecommunication Engineering Corporation. At the time Morita was expected to succeed the family business and he wanted to receive his father's approval before fully pursuing the idea.
Morita explained the new company to his father and to his surprise his father gave him his full blessing, saying "if it's what you want to do, that fine. I'm counting on you to do a good job."
Not only did his father give him moral support but also financial support by selling land to fund the new business. This was the time for TKK short for Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo to set the stage for Morita to become a Technoprophet.
At an early age Morita has always been a gifted individual. His family had embraced the western culture especially in the technologies that they used. They had devices such as the automobile and the electric phonograph.
It seems whenever Morita was not busy with household chores he would be found taking apart the family's phonograph and putting it back together. During his elementary and middle school years Akio favorite subject was mathematics and physics.
After graduating from high school, Morita entered the Physics Department at Osaka Imperial University. Morita interests didn't exactly align with the family's tradition but his father gave his support to Morita's passion. This would later help Morita and Masaru Ibuka (future partner) in their next venture.
Morita was born on January 26, 1921 in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan and is the eldest son of Kyuzaemon (father) and Shu (mother). The Morita family comes from a long line of entrepreneurs that dealt in the business of brewing sake for over 400 years.
It is easy to see where Morita got his knack for business from. Akio is the fifteenth-generation head of his family. It was planned that Akio would succeed the family business but he had a dream that didn't include sake, at least making it.
Hello, my name is Mac and I'm doing a blog on founder and former CEO of Sony, Akio Morita. This blog is for my Communication and Technology in the Information Age Course.
The purpose is to prove that Morita should be classified as a "Technoprophet". A Technoprophet is an individual who has been instrumental in changing the technological landscape. Morita fits the bill as one of the minds behind the multi-billion dollar technology and electronics company.
I will cover in this blog his general background information, the meeting with his partner, impact he has had on the technological landscape, and what qualifies him as a Technoprophet.
1."Akio Morita Library." Akio Morita Library. Morita Asset Management, n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2012.
2.LALL, ANURAG. "Anurag's Blog." : Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation. Blogger, 18 Sept. 2007. Web. 18 Dec. 2012.
3."Sony Corporation of America." Sony USA. Sony Corporation, n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2012.