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Biography of Akio Morita - Sony Company Founder

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Akio Morita was born on January 26, 1921, in the city of Nagoya, maker of a family of sake (Japanese typical beer). Morita family has been in the brewing sake for nearly 400 years in the city of Tokoname, near Nagoya. Under his father's strict upbringing, Kyuzaemon, Akio was groomed to become the heir to the family business. As a student, Akio often sat on the company meeting with his father and he will help the family business even on school holidays.

Morita family at that time has come to know the lifestyle of Western-style culture, such as automobiles and electric phonograph. Each time he was freed from household chores, the young Akio became engrossed dismantle the phonograph and put them back.

From an early age, Akio fond of tinkering with electronic equipment, and mathematics and physics were his favorite subjects for elementary and junior high school days. After graduating from High School, he entered the Physics Department at Osaka Imperial University.

During that time, Japan was in the middle of the Pacific War. In 1944, Akio, who has been a Navy lieutenant after graduating from university that year, met with Masaru Ibuka in the Navy's Wartime Research Committee.

When he returned to the family home in Nagoya after the war, Morita was invited to join the faculty of Tokyo Institute of Technology by one professor. Morita packed his belongings and prepared to leave for Tokyo, when an article about the research laboratory founded by Ibuka appeared in the Asahi newspaper column called, "Blue Pencil." With the end of the war, Ibuka had founded Tokyo Telecommunications Research Institute to initiate a new beginning. After reading this article, Morita visited Ibuka in Tokyo and they decided to establish a new company together.

On May 7, 1946, Ibuka and Morita founded Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo KK (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation) with about 20 employees and initial capital of ¥ 190,000. At that time, the 38-year-old Ibuka and Morita 25 years.

During their long partnership, Ibuka devoted to energy technology research and product development, while Morita was instrumental in leading Sony in the fields of marketing, globalization, finance and human resources. Morita also spearheaded Sony's entry into the software business, and he contributed to the overall management of the company.

Urge the company to expand its business globally visible in the decision to change its corporate name to Sony in 1958, a decision that was not well received both inside and outside the Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo company since has been widely known. To cope with such views, Morita stressed the need to change the company name to something easier to pronounce and remember, for the company to grow and improve global presence. In addition, Morita reasoned that the company could one day be developed into products other than electronics and Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo's name will no longer be appropriate. Therefore, he changed his name to Sony Corporation and decided to write a 'Sony' in katakana alphabet (Japanese alphabet normally used to write foreign names), something that was unheard of at that time.

In 1960, Sony Corporation of America was founded in the United States. Morita decided to move to the U.S. with his family and the lead in creating new sales channels for the company. He believes that Sony should develop its own direct sales channels, rather than relying on a local dealer.

Many products have been launched throughout the history of Sony can be credited to Morita creativity and innovative ideas. His ideas gave birth to a completely new lifestyle and culture, and this is evident from such products as the Walkman and video cassette recorder.

Morita also demonstrated its ability to break away from conventional thinking in the field of finance, when Sony issued American Depositary Receipts in the United States in 1961. This is the first time that a Japanese company had offered shares in the New York Stock Exchange, and this allows the company to raise capital not only in Japan. Sony opened the way for Japanese companies to raise foreign capital, at the general practice of Japanese management is to borrow funds from banks.

In the field of human resources, Morita wrote a book called Never Mind School Records in 1966 and stressed that school records are not important in carrying out the work. Morita's point of view, which was first identified more than 30 years ago, was followed today by many companies in Japan.

Such as Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo changed the name to Sony indicates, Morita wanted to diversify business operations outside of Sony electronics. In 1968, the company entered the music software business in Japan by establishing CBS / Sony Group Inc., together with CBS, Inc. from the U.S. Then in 1979, Sony entered the financial business in Japan with the founding of Sony Prudential Life Insurance Co Ltd, a 50 - 50 joint venture with The Prudential Life Insurance Co. of America. Furthermore, Sony acquired CBS Records Inc., a group of CBS records in 1988. The next year, Sony acquired Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc., which enables the company to become a comprehensive entertainment companies that have good quality software and content richness hardware.

Besides managing Sony, Morita was active in building a cultural bridge between Japan and abroad as Vice Chairman of the Keidanren (Japan Federation of Economic Organizations) and as a member of the Japan-US Economic Relations Group, better known as the "Wise Men's Group. He was instrumental in trying to reduce trade friction between Japan and the United States, and through the publication of literary works such as Made in Japan, he became, "one of the most famous in the United States of Japan"

Morita is the first award given Japan's Albert Medal of the United Kingdom's Royal Society of Arts in 1982. In 1984, he received the National Order of the Legion of Honor (ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur), the highest and most prestigious in France, and in 1991, he was awarded the First Class Order of the Sacred Treasure from HM the Emperor of Japan. In addition, Morita received numerous awards from countries such as Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the United States, which shows the extent of its global recognition.

Morita emit natural light, and his personality, which he himself described as "cheerful," loved by many people. He had many friends both in Japan and overseas, including individuals like Kiichi Miyazawa, former Prime Minister of Japan, Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, and orchestra conductors like Zubin Mehta and the late Herbert von Karajan.

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