Masaru Ibuka, Co-Founder of Sony, Dies

“On this day in 1997, Masaru Ibuka, the innovative co-founder and leading engineer of Sony Corporation, died of heart failure in Tokyo. Ibuka and Sony did much to boost the post-World War II Japanese economic miracle, and he is considered by many to be the most influential person in the history of the electronics industry.

Ibuka was born in 1908, north of Tokyo in Nikko City and went on to study at the Waseda University’s School of Science and Engineering. He was singled out early for his innovative mind and in 1933, the year of his graduation, he won a prestigious prize at the Paris Exhibition for work he had done manipulating neon.

After World War II, in May 1946, Ibuka and a wartime colleague named Akio Morito founded Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo, which translates as the Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation. Morito, known for his marketing savvy, proved a worthy partner. Their company introduced the first tape recorder, the Type-G, into Japan in 1950, and the first transistor radio in 1955. Three years later they would rename their company Sony Corporation–combining the Latin sonus meaning sound and a nickname for young boys in Japan at the time, “”sonny””–and began their dominance of the electronics industry.

In 1967, Ibuka oversaw the invention of the pioneering Trinitron TV System, which was a substantial improvement on existing colour televisions at the time. With its brighter images, it maintained a hold on the premium television market for decades until the introduction of plasma and LCD screens in the early 2000s.

Despite retiring from his management position in 1976, Ibuka continued his work with Sony and oversaw the production of the iconic Walkman and, with Philips, the development of the compact disc. His pioneering efforts solidified Sony’s place at the forefront of the electronics industry and made it one of the most recognisable companies in the world.

Ibuka was particularly interested in early education and wrote two books on the subject. He also served as the Chairman of the Boy Scouts of Japan. His innovative technology and inspirational efforts continue to reach millions even over a decade after his death.”