Akio Morita (January 26, 1921 - October 3, 1999) was a Japanese businessman and co-founder of Sony Corporation along with Masaru Ibuka. Selected by Time magazine as one of 20 "most influential business geniuses" in the 20th century, he was arguably the best known Japanese in his time. Akio Morita was born in the village of Kosugaya, Japan.
Morita had said "the two important things are wisdom and speed" — Sony made decisions quickly and was willing to take on challenges.
From the beginning of our business, we started... we have been working to make our product to suit American people. We keep our engineers and we keep our designer and now we move our factory in the United States. 85 percent of our TV's sold here with the Sony name are made in the United States.
Tapping into that market in 1988, Morita approved the purchase of CBS Records and enjoyed success with artists including Estefan, Michael Jackson, and Bruce Springsteen. Sony's controversial foray into the movie business has been substantially less glorious. Morita organized the 1989 purchase of Columbia Pictures, which, all told, cost Sony $6 billion.
Morita moved his family to New York City in 1963. He wanted to learn all he could about Americans and their culture, so that Sony could design products tailored to the American market. He also spent a lot of time socializing with the rich and powerful elite and was able to build lasting relationships with many of America’s business and political leaders.
During the 1970s, portable tape players were popular in America, but they were big and heavy. Morita had an idea for a small battery-powered tape player with headphones, so that a person could listen to music and still have great freedom of movement.
There is abundant evidence that Morita often appraised "Westerners" from the opposite side of a cultural divide. He worked hard to decipher the cultural puzzles that stood between him and them, but he was always aware of the chasm and at pain to hide the distance he felt.
The renaming was classic Morita, who was as much a marketing genius as a tech wizard. Sony would prove to be the most innovative company in postwar Japan, ushering in numerous breakthroughs in consumer electronics
In 1958, Morita and Ibuka decided to change the name of their company from Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation to the much simpler name that we now recognize: Sony. Sony is Latin for "sound" and a Japanese slang term for "whiz kids."
Sony introduced various innovative products to America and the world. The famous 'Walkman' has even become part of the standard lexicon (language) of the English world. One of a ton of other products that Sony also introduced that stands out is the VCR, or video cassette recorder.
Akio Morita is remembered in the contribution of Sony. Yet, he contributed in many more ways.
But Morita believed that music was such an important part of any culture that if he could only find a way to make music more portable or mobile, he would have a hit on his hands.
Then, in the 1950s, Ibuka and Morita got a license from Bell Labs to build transistors. The Japanese were still hard hit by the war, and couldn't really afford expensive electronics, so Ibuka set his sights on the American market with a brand new idea -- a small, transistorized radio that could fit in your pocket. As it was, a US company built such a radio first, but more as a gimmick than an actual product. When Sony, as Morita's company was soon renamed, came out with their radio, it quickly took over the market.
The company was born in 1946 amidst the ruins of a Japan shattered by World War II. 25-Year-old Akio Morita started the company, along with colleague Masaru Ibuka and a $500 loan.
The visionary was selected in 1998 as one of Time magazine's list of 20 most influential businesspeople of the 20th century. He was the only non-American on the list
After studying at Osaka Imperial University, Morita graduated with a degree in physics and joined the Navy. It was during his time serving as a lieutenant in WWII that Morita met his future business partner, Masaru Ibuka.
From an early age, Akio was fond of tinkering with electronic appliances, and mathematics and physics were his favorite subjects during his elementary and junior high school days. After graduating from High School Number Eight, he entered the Physics Department at Osaka Imperial University.
Akio Morita was born on January 26, 1921, in the city of Nagoya, to a family of sake brewers. The Morita family has been brewing sake for nearly 400 years in the city of Tokoname, near Nagoya. Under the strict eyes of his father, Kyuzaemon, Akio was groomed to become the heir to the family business.