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TableofContents

MADEINJAPAN

Acknowledgments

WAR:SurvivalandHope

I

II

III

PEACE:OurNewLifeBegins

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II

III

IV

V

SELLINGTOTHEWORLD:MyLearningCurve

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II

III

IV

V

VI

VII

ONMANAGEMENT:It’sAllintheFamily

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II

III

AMERICANANDJAPANESESTYLES:TheDifference

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II

III

IV

COMPETITION:TheFuelofJapaneseEnterprise

I

II

III

IV

TECHNOLOGY:SurvivalExercise

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II

III

IV

JAPANANDTHEWORLD:AlienationandAlliance

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II

WORLDTRADE:AvertingCrisis

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II

III

MADEINJAPAN

AKIOMORITAandSONY

AkioMoritawithEdwinM.ReingoldandMitsukoShimomura

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Acknowledgments

Fortyyearsago,ontheafternoonofMay7,1946,sometwentypeople

gatheredonthethirdfloorofaburned-outdepartmentstorebuildinginwar-

devastated downtown Tokyo to establish a new company: Tokyo TelecommunicationsEngineeringCorporation,whichwaslatertobecomethe

SonyCorporation.Thefounderofthiscompany,MasaruIbuka,wasthirty-

eightyearsold.Iwastwenty-five.Knowinghimhasbeenoneofthegreatest blessingsinmylife,andworkingwithhimhasbeenasourceofimmensejoy. ThisbookowesitsexistencetomylongassociationwithMasaruIbuka. AlmostaweekafterthefortiethanniversaryofSony,mywifeYoshiko andIcelebratedourthirty-fifthweddinganniversary.Yoshikohasplayeda greatroleasmydiplomatandpartner,andtogetherwithmysonsHideoand Masao,andmydaughterNaoko,shehasprovidedmewiththesupportand understandingthatallowedmetodevotemyselftomywork. Icannotexpressenoughthankstomyparents,tomymentors,andtomy innumerablefriendsandcolleagueswithinandoutsideSonywhohavehelped tonurtureanenvironmentofcreativityandsupport. MydeepestgratitudegoestoEdwinReingoldandMitsukoShimomura, wholistenedwithendlesspatienceandenthusiasmtomythoughtsandlong stories.Withoutthemthisbookcouldnothavebeencompleted. Also I wish to express my sincere appreciation to many others, particularly my assistants, Megumi Yoshii and Lidia Maruyama, for their importantstaffworkinthepreparationofmaterialsforthisbook.

WAR:SurvivalandHope

I

Iwashavinglunchwithmynavycolleagueswhentheincrediblenewsof theatomicbombingofHiroshimaarrived.Theinformationwassketchy—we werenoteventoldwhatkindofbombhadbeendropped—butasatechnical officerjustoutofcollegewithadegreeinphysics,Iunderstoodwhatthe bombwasandwhatitmeanttoJapan,andtome.Thefuturehadneverbeen moreuncertain—Japanhadneverlostawar—andonlyayoungmancould beoptimistic.YetIhadconfidenceinmyselfandinmyfutureeventhen. Formanymonths,IhadknownthatJapanwaslosingthewarandthat continuingitwasfutile,butIalsoknewthatthemilitarywouldwanttofight to the last man. I was twenty-four, with a degree from Osaka Imperial University,andwasworkingwithaninterdisciplinaryteamofscientistsand engineers trying to perfect thermal-guidance weapons and night-vision gunsights.ThemilitaryauthoritieshopedthatJapanesetechnologywouldturn thetideofthewar,butalthoughweworkeddiligently,weknewthatitwas lateandthatourprojectswerenotdestinedtosucceed.Wewerelackingin resourcesandintime.Andnow,afterHiroshima,itwasobvioustomethat timehadrunout. Unlikethecivilianpopulationatthetime,whichwasunderthestrict surveillanceandcontrolofthepoliceandthemilitary,Ihadaccesstonaval informationandIcouldlistentoshortwaveradiobroadcasts,althoughitwas

illegalevenforanavalofficeroffduty.IknewbeforeAugust6,1945,that

Americanstrengthwasoverwhelmingandthatthewarwasasmuchaslost.

YetIwasnotpreparedforthenewsoftheatomicbomb.Thebombtook

everyonebysurprise.

Onthathot,humidsummerday,weknewnothingofthehorrorofthe

bombthatwasdropped.Thenewsbulletinwegotatournavylunchtablesaid

onlythatthebombthatfellwas“anewkindofweaponthatflashedand

shone,”butthatdescriptiontoldusthissurelyhadtobeanatomicdevice.

Actually,Japanesemilitaryauthoritieswithheldthedetailsofwhathappened

atHiroshimaforquitealongtime,andsomeofficersrefusedtobelievethat

theAmericanshadthebomb.Wehadnotcomefarenoughinourtheoretical

researchtoknowthedimensionsofthedestructivepowerofsuchaweapon,

torealizethetremendouslossoflifeitcouldcause.Wedidn’tknowhow

horribleanatomicweaponcouldbe,butIhadseentheterribleresultsof

conventionalfirebombing,and,infact,IwasinTokyojustafterthenightof

March9-10,whentheincendiarybombsfromwaveafterwaveofB-29’shad

whippedupafirestormthatkilledonehundredthousandpeopleinjustafew hours.IhadalsoseenthehorrorofthebombingofNagoya,myhometown. PartsofallofJapan’smajorindustrialcities,withtheexceptionofKyoto,

werecharredwastelandsin1945,depressingheapsofblackenedremains:the

homesofmillionsofJapanese.Thatanatomicbombcouldbeworsewas almostunimaginable. Althoughthebombwasdroppedat8:15 A.M.onAugust6,wedidn’t

hearaboutituntilnoononAugust7.MyreactiontotheHiroshimabombwas

thereactionofascientist.Sittingthereatlunch,Ilostallinterestinthericein frontofme,asmuchofaluxuryasitwasinwartimeJapan.Ilookedaround atmycolleaguesandsaidtoeveryoneatthetable,“Wemightaswellgiveup ourresearchrightnow.IftheAmericanscanbuildanatomicbomb,wemust betoofarbehindineveryfieldtocatchup.”Mysuperiorofficergotvery angrywithme. Iknewsomethingaboutthepotentialofatomicpower,butIthoughtit wouldtakeatleasttwentyyearsforanatomicbombtobedeveloped,andit wasshockingtorealizethattheAmericanshaddoneit.Itwasobviousthatif the Americans had come this far, our technology had to be primitive in comparison.Noweaponwecoulddevisecouldpossiblymatchit,Isaid,and itseemedtometherewasnothing,nonewweaponordefensivedevice,that wecouldbuildintimetocounterit.ThenewsofHiroshimawassomething trulyincredibletome.Thetechnologygapitrepresentedwastremendous. Although we knew there was a difference between American and Japanesetechnology,wethoughtourswasverygood,anditwas,butwestill tried to get as many new ideas as we could from elsewhere. Once, for

example,wegotsomesalvagedequipmentfromashot-downB-29bomber,

andwenoticedthattheAmericanswereusingsomeadvancedtechnologyand differentelectricalcircuitry,butitwasn’tagreatdealbetterthanourown. ThatiswhywhenIfirstheardoftheatomicattackonHiroshima,it struckmethatAmericanindustrialmightwasgreaterthanwerealized,simply overwhelming.I,forone,shouldhavebeenpreparedforit.Infact,asaboyin highschoolIhadseenafilmoftheconstructionoftheFordMotorCompany RiverRougecomplexinDearborn,Michigan,andwasthrilledbytheconcept ofthisgiganticproject.Thefilmshowedbigshipsbringingironorefrom faraway mines to the Ford River Rouge steel mill, which turned it into differentkindsandshapesofsteel.Whenthesteelwasfinished,itwasmoved toanotherpartofthecomplex,whereitwasmoldedorstampedintopartsfor automobiles,andthepartswerethenassembledintocarsinanotherpartof

thesameplant.Japanhadnointegratedmanufacturinglikethatatthetime.It isironic,though,thatmanyyearslater,whenJapanwasrecoveringfromthe waranddevelopingitsownnewindustrialsystem,buildingnewandefficient plantsontidewaterlocationsanddevelopingintegrationlikewehadseenin theFordprewaroperation,IhadanopportunitytovisittheRiverRouge complex.Iwassurprisedandpuzzledanddisappointedtoseetheverysame scenesthatIrememberedfromthatfilmmadealmosttwentyyearsbefore— thesameequipmentseemedtobeinservice,anditmademewonderthen aboutthefutureofAmerica’sindustrialplantanditssupremeposition,the envyoftheworld.

ButinAugust1945,Iwasstillreelingfromtherealizationthatthere

wouldbedramaticchangesinstoreforJapanandme.Ihadbeenthinkingfor alongtimeaboutmyfuture.Ihadbeenpersuadedbyanofficertoenlistin thenavywhileincollegeunderaprogramthatwouldallowmetocontinue mystudiesandtoavoidthrowingmylifeawayinsomefutileseabattle thousandsofmilesfromhome.AndthenafterHiroshimaandthesecond atomicbombingatNagasaki,itwasbroughthometomemorethaneverthat Japanwouldneedallthetalentitcouldsaveforthefuture.Idon’tmind sayingthateventhen,asayoungman,IfeltthatsomehowIhadaroletoplay inthatfuture.Ididn’tknowhowbigaroleitwouldturnouttobe. NeitherdidIrealizethenhowinlateryearsIwoulddevotemanyhours, weeks,andmonths,andtravelliterallymillionsofmilestohelpbringJapan andtheUnitedStatesandotherWesternnationsclosertogether. Iwasbornthefirstsonandfifteenth-generationheirtooneofJapan’s finestandoldestsake-brewingfamilies.ThesakeofJapanisnotonlythe nationaldrinkbutalsoaculturalsymboltotheJapanesepeople.Itisevena partofmanyreligiousrituals—attraditionalmarriageceremoniesthecouple shares a cup of sake. The Morita family of Kosugaya village, near the industrialcityofNagoya,hasbeenmakingsakeforthreehundredyearsunder thebrandname“Nenohimatsu.”Thenamewastakenfromthetitleofapoem intheMan’yoshu,Japan’sfamousanthologyofpoetry,whichwascompiled intheeighthcentury.Thenamecomesfromthetraditionalcourtcustomof goingintothecountrysideonthefirstdayoftheYearoftheRat,inthe zodiacalcountingoftheyears,andselectingapineseedlingtobringhome andplantinthegarden.Thepinesymbolizeslongevityandhappiness,andby plantingapinetreeatthebeginningofthenewyear,thepeoplewerewishing forhealthandprosperitythroughouttheyear. TheMoritacompanyalsoproducedsoysauceandmisopaste,astaple ingredientoftheJapanesedietformakingsoupandforflavoringotherfoods. Beinginabusinesssocentraltothelifeofthecommunity,theMoritafamily

hasalwaystakenapositionofcivicleadershipaswell. Myfatherwasaverygoodbusinessman,buthetookoverafineold businessthatwasinseriousfinancialtrouble.Grandfatherandhisfatherwere aestheticpersonswhoweredevotedtothefineartsandcraftsofJapanand China,andtheybothspentmuchoftheirtimeandmoneyintheircivicwork and in patronizing artists, craftsmen, and art dealers. Fine ceramics and utensilsfortheteaceremony,beautifulfurniture,paintings,andtheother objectsthataccompanythesocialritualsofupper-classJapaneselifehave alwaysbeenhighlyprized—andalsoveryhighlypriced.Formanyyears, JapanhasbestowedthetitleLivingNationalTreasureonthebestcraftsmen andartistsoftraditionalJapaneseculture—painters,potters,textilemakers, swordsmiths, weavers, designers, calligraphers, and others. The works of these superb craftsmen are always in great demand among lovers of fine things.Unfortunately,thetasteofacoupleofgenerationsofMoritafamily headswassorefinedandtheircollectingskillssoacutethatthebusiness sufferedwhiletheypursuedtheirartisticinterests,lettingthebusinesstake careofitself,or,rather,puttingitinotherhands. TheyreliedonhiredmanagerstoruntheMoritacompany,buttothese managersthebusinesswasnomorethanalivelihood,andifthebusinessdid notdowell,thatwastoberegretted,butitwasnotcrucialtotheirpersonal survival.Intheend,allthemanagersstoodtolosewasajob.Theydidnot carrytheresponsibilityofthegenerations,ofmaintainingthecontinuityand prosperityoftheenterpriseandthefinancialwell-beingoftheMoritafamily. Andsothatiswhywhenthebusinessfellintomyfather’shands,asthefirst son of the family, he was faced with the immediate task of bringing the companybacktoprofitabilityandrestoringtheMoritafamilyfortunes.No outsidemanagercouldbecountedontodothatforhim. Itwasnotasimplematter.Whenhewascalledawayfromhisstudiesto take over the business, my father, Kyuzaemon Morita, was a student of business administration at Keio University in Tokyo. The company was facingbankruptcy,andfatherunderstoodthat,althoughhewasbeingforced toabandonhisacademicstudies,hewasbeingtestedwithareal-lifecrisis— notatextbookproblemorcasestudy,butthefutureoftheMoritafamily.He returned home and began to set the company on its feet with hands-on management. Ironically,andfortunatelyforallofusinthefamily,hegotsomeofthe moneytopayoffthecompanydebtsandputtheneglectedfactorybackinto good condition by selling many of the fine art objects his father and grandfatherhadpurchased.Thesethingshadappreciatedinvalueoverthe years,andsothefamily’sinvestmentinart,whileitwasnottoowisefromthe

pointofviewofrunningabusiness,turnedouttobebeneficialandinfact wascrucialinhelpingtorescuethebusiness.Amongthetreasureshehadto sellwerethreeespeciallyvaluableitems:aChinesescroll,abronzemirror fromChina,andanancientornamentofjadedatingbacktoJapan’sYayoi

periodsomewherebetween350B.C.andA.D.250.Myfatherwasaserious

andconservativeman,andheknewhowmuchthesespecialitemsmeantto hisfather,andsohevowedthatassoonasthefamilyfortunescouldaffordit, the items would be bought back. Indeed, in several years they were “redeemed”andonceagainaddedtothefamilycollection. BythetimeIwasborn,thefirstsonofKyuzaemonandShukoMorita, thebusinesswasonitsfeetagain,andIneverhadtoknowprivationathome asachild.Onthecontrary,Iwasalwaysprivileged.Wewerearichfamily, and we lived in a huge (by Japanese standards), rambling house on Shirakabecho,oneofthefinestresidentialstreetsofNagoya.Peoplecalledit arichman’sstreet.Wehadatenniscourtonourproperty,andtheToyodas acrossthestreethadone,andsodidourotherneighborsoneitherside.We neededabighouseinthosedaysbecausethereweresomanyofusliving underthesamebigtileroof:myselfandmybrothers,Kazuaki,whoistwo yearsyoungerthanIam,andMasaaki,whoissixyearsyounger,andmy sister,Kikuko,whoisthreeyearsyoungerthanIam.Then,ofcourse,there were my father and mother, and an aunt whose husband had died young beforetheycouldhaveanychildren,andmyfather’syoungerbrother,who hadspentfouryearsinFrancestudyingpainting,andmyfather’sparents,and sixservants,andthreeorfouryoungpeoplefromourancestralvillagethat ourfamilywashelpingtosendthroughschoolinexchangeforworkaround thehouse. Itseemedasthoughsomethingwasalwaysgoingoninthehouse,andI guessitisnowonder,consideringthecrowdthatinhabitedit.Wemaintained our privacy, though, and my parents and their children usually dined separatelyfromtherestofthehousehold.Butonspecialoccasions,likea birthday,wewouldopenalltheslidingdoorsbetweentheroomsandhavea bigpartywithtwentyorthirtyofusandourfriends.Onabirthday,wewould gatherforthepartyandhavealottery.Everybodywonaprizeandtherewasa lot of laughing and joking and eating. Of course, managing such a full household,andmediatingthedisputesanddisagreementsthatcameupamong thechildrenandtheyoungservantsandthestudentswholivedwithus,wasa full-timejobformymother,acleverwomanofgreatpatience. Mymotherwasonlyseventeenwhenshemarriedmyfather,andsheand fatherworriedforsometimethattheymightnotbeabletohaveachild. Havingasonandheirwasveryimportantthen,asitstillisinJapan,andit

wassevenyearsbeforeImademyappearance,totheirgreatrelief.Mother was a quiet, artistic, and gentle woman who took her responsibility of managingthehouseveryseriously,andshewasconstantlybusyseeingthat theworkwasdoneandthatrelationsweresmooth,oratleastcivil,amongall thosepeople.ShewasveryassertiveforaJapanesehousewife,whichinthose dayswasveryunusual.Shehadfirmopinions,especiallyaboutmyeducation, althoughshewasneverliketoday’spushy“educationmothers”whoforce theirchildrenthroughcramcoursestomakesuretheygetintothe“right” schoolsanduniversities.Ifeltsheunderstoodeverything,andshewaseasyto talkto,certainlyeasierthanmyfather,whoselifewasdominatedbythe businesshehadtosave,rebuild,andnurture,andsoIwenttohermoreoften thantomyfatherforadviceandhelp. Mymotherchangedmanytraditionsinourfamily.Althoughshecame fromasamuraifamilyononesideandwasawareofthetraditions—she alwaysworekimono—shewasalsowillingtoacceptnewways.Ofcoursewe children did a fair amount of arguing and fighting, but as I grew older, actuallyevenbeforemyteens,Iwithdrewtothestudyofmyowninterests andIreliedonhermoreandmoreforadvice.Shewasinchargeofourhome, completely,andshegavemearoomofmyownwithadesk.Igotasecond deskwhenIstartedmyexperiments,becauseIneededaworkbench.Shealso boughtmeabed,soIdidn’thavetousequiltedbeddingonthetatamimatsas mostothersinthehousedid.Iwasbeingmodernizedevenasachild.My motherandfatherwanteditthatwaybecausetheyweregroomingmetocarry onastheheirtothefamilybusinessandasthenextheadoftheMoritafamily, literallythefifteenthMoritatotakethenameKyuzaemon. Ithasbeencustomaryinourfamilythatwhenthesontakesoveras familyheadheabandonshisgivennameandassumesthetraditionalgiven name, Kyuzaemon. Most of the first sons for fifteen generations have alternativelybeengivenatbirththefirstnamesTsunesukeorHikotaro.My fatherwasHikotaroMoritauntilheassumedtheroleofheadofthefamily andbecamethefourteenthKyuzaemon.Hisfather,whowasbornTsunesuke Morita,becameKyuzaemonMoritawhenhetookover,andwhenheretired and passed the duties and responsibilities to my father, Kyuzaemon took anotherfirstname,NobuhideMorita. But when I was born, my father thought the name waiting for me, Tsunesuke,wastooold-fashionedforthetwentiethcentury,sohecalledona venerable Japanese scholar of Chinese lore and literature for advice on naming me. This man was a renowned scholar, and a friend of my grandfather,andherecommendedthenameAkio,whichusesthecharacter for “enlightened,” pronounced “aki.” The character also appeared in my

grandfather’s name. Chinese characters usually have more than one pronunciation,andsomehavedozens,andsomyfirstnamecouldbereadto mean enlightened or uncommon, and coupled with Morita, which means “prosperousricefield,”itseemedanoptimisticandhopefulidentitytocarry throughlife.Myparentslikedmynameverymuchandusedthesyllablein the given names of both of my brothers, Masaaki and Kazuaki. Imperial reignsinJapanaregiveneranames,andyearsintheofficialcalendarare counted from one at the beginning of each era. When Hirohito became

emperorafterthedeathofhisfatherin1926,theimperialfamilyconsulted

thesamefamousscholarofChineseinseekinganauspiciousnameforhis reign.Henamedtheera“Showa,”meaning“enlightenedpeace,”usingthe samecharacterasthe“aki”inmyname,butpronounced“sho.”(Theyear

1986isofficiallyknownasShowa61,thesixty-firstyearofthisimperialera

calledShowa.) My family has suggested to me that I should really take the name Kyuzaemonnow.Itispossibletogointofamilycourtandhaveyourname changedifyoucanprovethehistoricalprecedent,butIthinkitwouldnotbe wiseforme,becausesomanypeopleknowmeasAkioallovertheworld. ButIsometimessignmynamewiththeinitialsAKM,whichcouldmean Akio Kyuzaemon Morita, and I have a personalized license plate on the

LincolnContinentalIkeepintheUnitedStates,AKM-15.Onedaymyfirst

son,Hideo,willtakeoverasheadofthefamily,butwhetherhewillbecome Kyuzaemonornotisuptohim,althoughmywifeandIwouldlikehimtodo it.Butthatisreallygettingaheadofmystory. Iwasmadeawareofmyfamilytraditionandmyancestorsfromearly childhood.Myfamilywasblessedwithmenofcultureandloversofart,like mygrandfatherandhisfather.Theywerealsocivicleadersandofficialsof our village going back to the era of the Tokugawa Shogunate, in the seventeenthcentury.Theywereanelite,andtheywereaccordedtheprivilege inthosedaysofusingasurnameandcarryingasword.Whenevermyparents wouldtakemebacktoKosugayaforavisitorjustaday’strip,thepeople therewouldfussovermeandbuildupmyego. My father’s great-grandfather, the eleventh Kyuzae-mon, liked new thingsandnewideasandduringtheMeijiera,beforethebeginningofthis century,heinvitedaFrenchmantoJapantohelphimwithanideahehadof growinggrapesandmakingwine.Hehadanamepickedoutandwasexcited aboutproducingWestern-stylewineaswellassake.Japanwasopeningtothe worldthenafterovertwohundredandfiftyyearsofself-imposedseclusion. NewthingswereinvogueandEmperorMeijiwasencouragingtheJapanese to learn from the West, especially Western lifestyles and technologies. In

Tokyotheywereholdingformalballroomdances,andpeoplewereemulating EuropeanclothingandhairstylesandtryingWesternfood,evenatthepalace. Therewereotherreasonsfortryingtoproducewine.Thegovernmentof EmperorMeijiforesawacomingriceshortage,andricewasthebasisofsake. Theplantingofvineyards,andsubstitutionofwineforsake,wherepossible, wouldmakeiteasiertowithstandthericeharvestshortfallsthatsomewere predicting.Historiansalsosaythegovernmentwaslookingforemployment formanysamuraiwarriorswhowereoutofworkunderthenewgovernment.

Wehadalargeamountoffarmland,andsoin1880,withtheencouragement

oftheMeijigovernment,thegraperootstockwasbroughtfromFranceand plantedthere.Myancestorinstalledamachineforprocessingthegrapesand builtproperwineryfacilities,importingpeoplefromnearbyareastoworkthe vineyards.Fouryearslaterasmallamountofwinewasproduced,andhopes wereraisedthatthisnewindustrycouldflourish.Butitwasnottobe. ThiswasthetimewhentheFrenchvineyardswerebeingdevastated, first by the oidium mildew and then by the disastrous phylloxera, small licelikeinsectsthatattackedthevines.Apparentlytherootstockthatwas broughtfromFrancewasinfected,anddespitealltheelaboratepreparations theprojectwasafailure.PhylloxerawerefoundinKyuzaemon’svineyardsin

1885,andthevineshadtobedestroyed.Kyuzaemonhadtosellthelandto

pay off his debts. The vineyards were converted to mulberry fields, for silkwormcultivation.ButothertraditionalMoritaproducts,suchassoysauce

andsake,foundtheirwaytoaParisinternationalexpositionin1899,andone

ofthemwonagoldmedal,averyimpressivethingforaJapanesecompanyin thosedays.Anyway,thisancestorofminehadtheeagernesstotrysomething newandhadthecourageandstrengthnottogiveupifasingleprojectfailed. His predecessor as family head had started a beer business by hiring a ChinesebrewmasterwhohadlearnedhistradeinEngland.Healsofoundeda bakingcompany,nowcalledPasco,whichprosperedandtodayhasoverseas branches. Tenacity, perseverance, and optimism are traits that have been handeddowntomethroughthefamilygenes.Ithinkmyfatherrecognized thisinme.

Myfather’sgreat-grandfatherdiedin1894,andin1918abronzestatue

ofhimwasputupinKosugayainrecognitionoftheservicehegavetothe community. He had used his own money to build roads and make other communityimprovementsanddidsomanyothergoodworksthatEmperor Meiji, who once visited the vicinity of our little village, decorated him. Unfortunately,duringthewarthestatuewasmelteddownforuseinthewar effort,butamoldwastakenandaporcelainbustwasmade,whichstillstands inawoodedareainfrontofashrineinKosugaya.

Although our family history seems to revolve around Kosugaya, my parentsmovedfromthequietlittlevillagetothecityofNagoya,thecapitalof our prefecture, and I was born there on January 26, 1921. The move to Nagoya,abustlingindustrialcity,whichwasthecapitalofAichiPrefecture, waspartoffather’scampaigntomodernizetheMoritacompanyandinstilla newspiritintheoldfirm.Besides,thecitywasamoreconvenientplacefrom whichtorunamodernbusinessthanacharminglittlecountrysidevillage.So Igrewupinthecityratherthaninthetinyvillageofmyancestors,although westillconsiderourrootstobeinKosugaya. Recentlywediscoveredmanyoftheancientrecordsofthevillageinour family’s storehouses, and we have found them so interesting that I have formedafoundationforthepreservationandstudyofthislibraryofhistorical documents.Thematerialisallverydetailedandtellsagreatdealaboutrural lifeinJapanthreehundredyearsagofromaverypracticalpointofview.We havecataloguedtheserecordsanddeliveredboundcopiesofthecatalogueto majorlibrariesanduniversitiesinJapan.Wehavebuiltaglassed-inenclosure tocovertheoldstorehousesandathree-storybuildingaspartofthesame structure,wherescholarsnowcometostudythedocuments,whichwestill keepintheiroriginalplaceinthestorehouses.IhaveoftenthoughtthatifI everretireIcanspendmanymorebusyyearsstudyinghistoryandworking withthosehistoricalrecordsinKosugaya. Myfatherwasquitegenerousinhistreatmentofme,butIwas,afterall, carryingthefirstson’sburden,andhewasdeterminedtogivemeabusiness educationstartingveryearlyinlife.Fatherwasconditionedbythetimes,and because,asthefamily’seldestson,hehadhadtogiveuphisschoolingto rescue the family fortunes, he remained a very practical, and I think conservative—almosttooconservative,Ithoughtatthetime—businessman whenitcametomakingdecisionsonnewventuresordoingthingsoutofthe ordinary.Heseemedtotaketoolongtomakeadecision,andhewasalways worryingaboutsomething.SometimesIthoughtheworriedthathedidn’t haveanythingtoworryabout.Ioftenquarreledwithhimaboutsomeofthe obligationsthatfelltome,andIthinkhelikedtheselittledisputesasawayof bringing me out, getting me to reason and to try to present arguments logically.Heeventurnedmyangerintotraining.AsIgotolder,Icontinuedto disagreewithhimoftenabouthisconservatism,butitservedthefamilywell. Andincontrasttohisseriousandcautiousbusinesspersonality,hewasa warmandgenerousfather.Hespentallhisleisuretimewithhischildren,and Ihavemanyfondmemoriesofmyfatherteachingushowtoswimandfish andhike. Butbusinesswasbusinesstohim,andtherewasnotmuchfuninvolved.

WhenIwasasyoungastenoreleven,Iwasfirsttakentothecompanyoffice andthesakebrewery.Iwasshownhowthebusinesswasrun,andIhadtosit atmyfather’ssidethroughlongandboringboardmeetings.ButIwastaught howtotalktopeoplewhoworkforyou,andIlearnedwhileIwasstillin elementaryschoolsomethingaboutwhatgoesoninbusinessdiscussions. Sincemyfatherwastheboss,hecouldcallhismanagerstoourhomefor reportsandforconferences,andhewouldalwaysinsistthatIlistenin.Aftera whileIgottoenjoyit. Iwasalwaystold,“Youarethebossfromthestart.Youaretheeldest soninthefamily.Rememberthat.”IwasnotallowedtoforgetthatIwastobe myfather’ssuccessorinthetopmanagementofourcompanyandtheheadof ourhouseholdoneday.IthinkitwasveryimportantthatIwasalsocautioned timeandagainasayoungman,“Don’tthinkthatbecauseyouareatthetop youcanbossothersaround.Beveryclearonwhatyouhavedecidedtodo andwhatyouaskotherstodoandtakefullresponsibilityforit.”Iwastaught thatscoldingsubordinatesandlookingforpeopletoblameforproblems— seekingscapegoats—isuseless.Theproperthing,totheJapanesewayof thinkingthatIwastaughtathome,istomakeuseofthemotivationsyou sharewithpeopletoaccomplishsomethingthatwillbetotheadvantageof both.Everybodywantstosucceed.Inlearningtoworkwithemployees,I discovered, a manager needs to cultivate the traits of patience and understanding.Youcan’tmakeselfishmovesorgetmeanwithpeople.These concepts have stayed with me and helped me develop the philosophy of managementthatservedmeverywellinthepastandcontinuestoserveme andmycompanytoday. My family was also guided by family precepts stemming from our Buddhistreligion.Thefamilywasdevout,andweheldtheusualreligious servicesathome.Wechildrenwouldbehandedabookofsutrasandwouldbe requiredtotrytoreadthecomplicatedcharactersalongwiththeadults.I wouldn’tsayIamareligiousman,butthesecustomsandtraditionshavebeen importantinmyfamilyandwestilladheretothem.Inlateryears,whenwe wouldgohometovisitmyfatherandmother,wewouldalwaysfirstgotothe familyaltarandbowtoitbeforedoinganything. As a young boy in middle school, my holidays were consumed by business,business,business.Myfatherwouldtakemetotheofficewhenhe hadameetingandIwouldsitthroughit,orlistenwhenreportsweremadeto him.Thentherewasinventory.Weusedtocallitstock-checking,andweused theancient,traditional,andveryaccuratewayofdoingit:wewouldgointo theplant,withthepresidentofthecompanylookingoverourshoulders,and count everything. Then there was the sake-tasting from the barrels in

midwintertocheckitsdevelopmentinthecomplicatedmaturingandrefining process.Ioftenhadtogoalong.Iwastaughttoinspectthebrewingprocess, thentakeasmallsipofsaketogettheflavor,andthenspititout.Inever developedatasteforanythingalcoholicdespitethis,ormaybebecauseofit. Althoughmyfatherwasbynatureaveryconservativeperson,hewanted his family to have the things they needed and desired. He was always

interested in new, imported technologies and foreign products. When the familystilllivedinKosugaya,hestartedataxiandbusservicethereby importingaFordtouringcar.Forthefirstcompanydriver,hechosetheman whopulledthejinriksha,thetwo-wheeled,man-poweredtaxithatwasthen quitecommoninJapan.Inmychildhoodrecollections,IrememberSunday outings,ridinginanopenModelTorModelAFord,bumpingalongthe rutted,narrow,anddustyroadsataveryslowspeed,mymothersittinginthe backseatinaverydignifiedandstatelywayholdingherparasoluprightto

shadeherfromthesun.Later,fatherusedtogotoworkinhischauffeur-

drivenBuick.AthomewehadaGeneralElectricwashingmachineanda Westinghouserefrigerator. ButeventhoughthefamilywastosomedegreeWesternized,Ithinkthe firstreallystrongforeigninfluenceinmylifewasmyUncleKeizo,whocame homefromParisafteraboutfouryearsabroadandbroughtthefirsttruly Westernwindintoourhouse.Hewasverysophisticated,muchmorethanany ofus.Evenbeforehecame,Iwasneverrequiredtowearkimono,andmy fatherworeWesternclothingatworkandchangedintotraditionaldressat home; even his father often wore Western clothing. My grandfather was intriguedbytheWest—helikedAmericanmovies,andIrememberhetook metoseeKongwhenIwasaverysmallboy.ButUncleKeizobroughta personalaccountoftheoutsideworldtous,andwewereallintrigued.He broughtbackhispaintingsofParis,photographsofFrance,andpicturestaken onhistripstoLondonandNewYork,andhealsoshowedusfilmshehad

takenwithaPathemoviecamera,whichused9.5-millimeterfilm.Heowned

aRenaultcarinParis,whichhedrovehimself,andhadpicturestoproveit. AlthoughIwasonlyeightyearsold,itmadesuchanimpressiononmethatI learnedalltheforeignwordsIcould—PlacedelaConcorde,Montmartre, ConeyIsland.WhenhetoldusaboutConeyIsland,Iwasfascinated,and

yearslater,onmyveryfirsttriptoNewYorkin1953,1wenttoConeyIsland

onmyfirstSundaybecauseofhisstories.Ihadawonderfultime;Irodethe

rollercoasterandeventriedtheparachutedrop.

Myfatherfollowedtheexampleofhisfather.Heusedtosaythatallthe

moneyintheworldcannotgiveapersoneducationunlessthatpersonis

willingtositdownbyhimselfandstudyhard.Butmoneycanprovideone

kindofeducation,theeducationyoucangetbytravel.Thatiswhathappened withmyuncle,whocamehomeandsetuphisatelierinourhouseandstayed withusforalongtimeuntilhegotmarried.Mygrandfathersupportedhim thosefouryearshewasstudyingabroad.Yearslatermyfatherwouldgiveme moneytotravelonmyhighschoolvacations,andwithaschoolmateIvisited manyplacesinJapan.WehadarelativeinKorea,whichhadbeenunder

Japaneseoccupationsince1904andwasannexedtoJapanin1910,andI

visitedthere,andafterKoreaIwentasfarasManchuria—Ievenrodeonthe firstallair-conditioned,streamlinedtrain,whichwascalled“theAsia,”in

1939or1940,andmynexttripwouldhavebeentotheUnitedStates,butthe

warpostponedthattripformorethanadecade. Athomewewereanunusuallymodernfamily.Mymotherwasvery fondofWesternclassicalmusic,andsheboughtmanyphonographrecordsfor ouroldVictrola.Mygrandfatheroftentookhertoconcerts,andIbelievemy interest in electronics and sound reproduction began because of her. We wouldlistentothescratchy-soundingrecordingsofthegreatmusicmastersof Europeoverandoveragainfromthebighornspeaker.Withthekindof mechanicalrecordingequipmentthatwasavailabletothemakersinthose days,itwasdifficulttoreproducethesoundofafullorchestra,sothebest recordswerevocalsandinstrumentalsolos.Mymotherwasveryfondof Enrico Caruso and the violinist Efrem Zimbalist, as I recall. Whenever famousartistscametoNagoya,wealwayswenttohearthem.Iremember hearingthegreatRussianbasso,FeodorChaliapin,andtheGermanpianist WilhelmKempff,whowasthenaveryyoungman.Inthosedaysonelocal record shop owner imported Victor Red Seal classical records, and each monthwhenanewshipmentarrivedhewouldsendoneofeachtitletomy motheronapproval.Icanstillremembercrankingtheoldmechanicalplayer vigorouslywhenIwasjustasmallkid.Then,whenIwasinjuniorhigh school,anelectricphonographwasimportedtoJapanfromtheUnitedStates anditwasinevitablethatwewouldgetone. Myfatherthoughtthatifyoulikedmusicyoushouldhavegoodsound. Besides,hetolduslater,hewasworriedthatlisteningtothattinny-sounding Victrolawouldbebadforourearsandourmusicalappreciation.Hedidn’t understandorappreciatemusicfromanartisticortechnicalstandpoint,buthe wantedhisfamilytohavethebestpossiblechancetohearthemusicasitwas played.Hefeltthattheonlywayapersoncouldlearntoappreciategood musicandgoodsoundwasbylisteningtothebestsoundthatwasavailable. Sowhenthefirstnewphonographsarrived,hespentalotofmoneytobuy oneofthefirstinJapan,oratleastthefirstinourlocality.Irememberthatthe newmachine,alsoaVictor,costanincredibleamount—sixhundredyen.In

thosedaysyoucouldbuyaJapaneseautomobileforonlyfifteenhundredyen. Iwillneverforgetthefantasticsoundthatcamefromthenewelectric machine—incomparison,ofcourse,totheoldmechanicalmachine.Itwasa completelydifferentsound,andIwasabsolutelyastounded.Thefirstrecord wereceivedafterthenewmachinearrivedwasRavel’s“Bolero.”Ilikedthe “Bolero”becauseitconveyedpathostome,andhearingitwiththisnew, morerealisticsoundbowledmeover.Ilistenedtoourrecordsoverandover again—Mozart,Bach,Beethoven,Brahms—fullofexcitementandwonder that an electrical device like the vacuum tube could take the same old scratchy, hissing records we knew so well and make them sound so marvelous. Iwasobsessedwiththisnewdiscoveryandallthequestionsitraisedin mymind.Ihadarelativewhowasanengineer,andwhenIheardthathehad builtanelectricphonographbyhimselfIwaseagertoseeit.Iwenttohis houseandhedemonstratedittome.Itwasincomponents,allwiredtogether andstrungoutonthestrawmatfloorofhishouse.Itseemedmarvelousthat thingslikethiscouldbebuiltbyamateurs,notonlybybigfactories.Infact, makingradioswasbecomingapopularhobby,andsomenewspapersand magazineswouldruncolumnswithdiagramsandpartslistsandinstructions toshowtheirreadershowtodoit.ThiswassomethingIhadtodo. Ibegantobuybooksaboutelectronics,andIsubscribedtoJapaneseand foreign magazines that contained all the latest information about sound reproductionandradio.SoonIwasspendingsomuchtimeonelectronicsthat itwashurtingmyschoolwork.Iwasdevotingnearlyallmyafter-schoolhours tomynewhobby,makingelectricdevicesfromthediagramsinaJapanese magazinecalledWirelessExperiments. Mydreamwastobuildanelectricphonographandmakearecordingof myownvoice.IkeptexpandingmyexperimentsasIlearnedmoreandmore aboutthenewtechnology.IhadtoteachmyselfbecausethesubjectsIwas reallyinterestedinwerenottaughtinmyschoolinthosedays.ButImanaged tobuildacrudeelectricphonographandaradioreceiveronmyown.Ieven made a crude recording of my voice and played it back on my electric phonograph. Infact,IbecamesoengrossedinmyelectronictinkeringthatIalmost flunked out of school. My mother was called to the school often for conferences about my poor academic performance. The principal was concerned and annoyed by my lack of interest in conventional studies. I rememberthatweusedtobeassigneddesksinclassaccordingtoourgrades. Thereweretwohundredandfiftyinourclass,dividedintofivegroupsof fiftyeach.Thetopstudentofeachgroupwastheheadboy,andtheseatswere

assigned from the back of the room in descending order of achievement. Althoughtheclassrankingschangedeveryyear,Iwasalwaysseatedupfront undertheeyeoftheteacher,withtheslowlearners. Idon’twanttobetootoughonmyselfhere,soIwilladmitthatIwas

goodatmathematics,physics,andchemistry.ButIwouldalwaysgetbelow-

averagegradesingeography,history,andJapanese.Iusedtobecalledtothe principal’sofficetobetalkedtoaboutmyunevenwork.Whenitwouldget really bad, my parents would scold me and order me to put away my electronictoys.Iwouldobeyuntilmygradesbegantolookalittlebetter,and thenIwouldgobacktothethingsIlikedbest.

II

WhenIwasinmiddleschool,Ireadaboutmagneticrecordingforthe firsttimeinWirelessandExperiments.UptothenfewpeopleinJapaneven hadelectricphonographs,whichplayedpoorlymaderecordsofshellacor aluminumwithsteelneedlesthatgavebadsoundandworeouttherecords fast.ButthenNHK,theJapanBroadcastingCompany,importedaGerman steel-beltrecorder.Thismachinewasabrand-newdesign.Itusedametal ribbonorbeltastherecordingmedium,anditgavemuchbetterfidelitythan theelectricmachineslikeournewVictor. Aboutthatsametime,itwasannouncedthatDr.KenzoNagaiofTohoku Universityhadproducedawirerecorder.Iwasfascinatedbytheideaof recordingmyownvoiceanddecidedtobuildawirerecordermyself.Iknew virtuallynothing,butIhadtherecklessenthusiasmoftheyoung,andsoI wentoutandboughtsomepianowireandwenttowork.Thefirstchallenge, atleastthemostcriticalchallenge,wastodesignandmakearecordinghead. Iworkedforawholeyearatit,tryingonethingafteranother,butevery attemptfailed.IlaterlearnedwhyIfailed:theheadgap,thepointwherethe soundistransferredtothewireintheformofanelectronicsignal,wastoo wideandsothesignaljustdissipated.Iknewnothingoftheimportanceofa biascurrent,whichDr.Nagaihadperfected,orhowtogenerateit.Thebooks andmagazinesIhadaccesstointhosedayshadnotexplainedittome,and myownknowledgewasprimitive.Andso,withoutknowingmorethansome basic principles and simple, practical methods, I struggled along. I was disappointedbymyfailures,andfrustrated,buttheydidnotdiscourageme. WhenIenteredthefinalyearofmiddleschool,Itoldmyparentsand teachersthatIwouldtakethesciencedepartmentexaminationsfortheEighth Higher School—in Japan in those days our school curriculum was very advanced,andhigherschoolincludedwhatintheUnitedStateswouldbethe first two years of college. My decision surprised them all, because even thoughmygradesinthesciencesandmathweregood,myoverallgrades were pretty terrible, and they reminded me that to get into the science departmentIwouldhavetopasssometoughexaminationsonsubjectsIhad neglected.Iknewit,butIwasdetermined.AndsoIbecamearonin. In ancienttimesasamuraiwhodidnothaveamasterorwhohadlosthisfief wascalledaronin,andastudentwhogotoffthetrackandhadtospendtime studyingonhisownforhisnextexaminationsaftergraduationisreferredto thiswayeventoday.ForoneyearIbuckleddownandstudiedharderthanI

hadeverstudied. Ihadprivatetutorstohelp mewithEnglish, advanced mathematics,andtheJapaneseandChineseclassics.Ididn’tdoanythingelse thatwholeyearbutstudy.AndImadeit. I’dliketosaythatbecauseofmyintenseeffortsthatyearImovedtothe headoftheclass,butIcan’t.However,Iearnedanotherdistinction:Ibecame thelowest-rankinggraduateofmyschoolevertobeadmittedtothescience departmentoftheEighthHigherSchool.Nostudentwhohadrankedone hundredandeightiethinhisclassasIdidhadeverbeenadmittedtothe sciencedepartmentbefore,butImadeitbecauseofmysuccessfulyearof studyandmydetermination.Ihavealwaysbeendetermined. Highschoolwasnotasnap,ofcourse,andIdiscoveredthateventhe sciencedepartmentcurriculumwasfullofdullanduninterestingsubjects— mineralsandbotanyandotherthingsIwasn’tinterestedin—andIfound myselfindangeroffailingforatime,butinmythirdyear,whenweareable tospecialize,Ichosephysics,whereIalwaysgotstraightA’s.Iwasinlove withphysicsandIidolizedmyinstructors.

Butdespitemyoptimismandenthusiasm,theyearwas1940andthe

futurecouldnothavelookedbleaker.Theworldwasinturmoil.InEurope FrancehadsurrenderedtotheGermanarmies,Englandwasbeingattackedby Luftwaffebombers,andWinstonChurchillwastellinghispeoplethatthey hadnothingtolookforwardtobut“blood,toil,tears,andsweat.”Japanwas ontheroadtodisaster,althoughthenewsathomewasreportedfavorablyand censorship was in force. As students we didn’t think much about global issues,orevendomesticpolitics,butthemilitarymenwhocontrolledthe

nationhadannouncedamobilizationlawin1938,andaboutthetimeIbegan

mycollegestudiesJapandominatedthemapofAsia.Athomealltheold politicalpartiesweredissolved.UndertheeconomicsqueezeoftheU.S.and theAlliedpowers,andthethreatofacutoffofthenation’srawmaterialsand oil,thedecisionwasbeingmadetogotowarwiththeUnitedStates,if necessary,forJapan’ssurvivalanditscontinuedcontrolofthenationsithad forcedintotheso-calledGreaterEastAsiaCoProsperitySphere.Important historywasbeingmade,butatthetimeIwasinterestedonlyinphysics. Oneofmyfavoriteteachersinhighschool,GakujunHattori,wasvery kindtomeandwasabiginfluenceinmylife.Iwasgoodatphysicsand ProfessorHattori,whowatchedmyprogresswithgreatsatisfaction,knewmy heartwassetoncontinuinginthesamefieldbeyondhigherschool.Whenit wastimeformetostartthinkingaboutuniversity,Idiscussedthesituation with him. I knew that the faculty at Osaka Imperial University’s physics department included such famous researchers as Hidetsugu Yagi, who inventedtheYagiantenna,whichwassoimportantinthedevelopmentof

modernradar.ThedepartmentalsohadProfessorK.Okabe,theinventorof themagnetron,thedevicethatfirstmadeitpossibletogeneratemicrowave frequencypower. OnedayProfessorHattorisaidtome,“Morita,aclassmateofminefrom TokyoUniversityisalsoteachingatOsakanow,amannamedTsunesaburo Asada.Heisthemostoutstandingscientistinthefieldofappliedphysics.If that’swhatyouwanttostudy,ProfessorAsadaisthemanyoushouldmeet. Whydon’tyougoseehimduringyoursummerholidays?Icanarrangeitfor you.”Ijumpedatthechance,andonmynextvacationIwentstraightto OsakaandlookedupProfessorAsada. IlikedhimtheminuteIwalkedintohisclutteredoffice.Theprofessor wasashort,rotundfellowwithatwinkleinhiseyewhospokewiththehard, nasalaccentsofOsaka.Itwasobviousthathelikedtotellandtohearajoke, andalthoughhewasamasterhedidnotplaytheroleofthesternorpompous professor.HewasararityinJapan,whereteacherswereaccordedagreatdeal of respect, almost reverence, and generally seemed to take their exalted position seriously. Professor Asada didn’t seem at all interested in the trappingsofstatus.Wehititoffrightfromthestart.Itwasmeetingthis marvelousmanthatmademedecidethatOsakawaswhereIwouldstudy ratherthanthemorefamousTokyoorKyotouniversities.BothTokyoand Kyotohadgoodphysicsdepartmentsandwerestaffedwithnationallyknown, butmoredoctrinaireorolder,professors.AtleastIthoughtsoatthetime. ProfessorAsadashowedmearoundhislaboratoryandwetalkedquitea lotthatday.Hegavemeakindoforalexamination—hewantedtoknowwhat Iknew,whatexperimentsIhaddone,whatIhadconstructed,andwhatIwas interestedin.Thenhetoldmeaboutwhatkindofworkwasgoingoninhis lab and that clinched it for me. Professor Asada was very serious about appliedscience,andamongthethingshewasworkingonwaslightbeam telephone transmission, using high pressure mercury lamps. He could demonstratehowveryhighintensitylightbeamscouldbemodulatedbyaudio frequency.Iwantedtostudywiththisbrilliant,confident,andsurprisingly relaxedandjovialscientist. Inthefieldofmodernphysics,OsakaImperialUniversitybecamethe mecca for serious students and experimenters. It was the newest science departmentofanyJapaneseuniversity,andthereforeithadthemostmodern facilities.Also,sincetheuniversitywasnew,manyoftheprofessorsand instructors were younger people and not hidebound or wedded to old- fashionedideas. MyfatherwasdisappointedthatIdidnotchoosetogointoeconomics butchosescienceformycollegecareer.Fromhispointofview,evenifIhad

goneintothesciencedepartmentImighthavestudiedagriculturalchemistry, whichwouldhavegivenmesomecoursesrelevanttothebrewingindustry, butIwaspursuinginsteadthemostbasicofthesciences,physics.Iwantedto knowwhythingsworked.Hedidnottrytochangemymind,butIamsurehe stillexpectedmetoassumemyroleinthefamilybusinesswhenthetime came.Hebelievedthatphysicswouldeventuallybeonlyahobbyformeand Isometimesfearedthatthat’swhatwouldhappen. But,ofcourse,whenIentereduniversitywewereatwar,andProfessor Asada’slaboratoryhadbeenpressedintoserviceasanavalresearchfacility.I continuedtoexperiment,butIskippedasmanylecturesaspossibleinorder to get more lab time. I felt that most of the professors were boring as lecturers,andsincetheyhadallwrittenbooksandpapersIcouldalwaysfind outwhattheyhadtosaybyreadingthem.BecauseIwasmissingthelectures, Iwasabletospendmoretimeinthelabthantheotherstudents.Professor Asadahelpedmemoreandmore,andbeforelong,Iwasabletohelphimin somesmalljobsforthenavy,mainlyelectronics,whichwasclosertotrue physicsthanworkingwiththeoldelectricalcircuitsortheelectromechanical ones. Attheuniversity,ProfessorAsadawasregardedastheexpertinapplied physics, and newspapers would often ask him to answer questions about science for them. Eventually he began to write a short weekly column elaboratingonthelatestdevelopmentsinresearchandtechnology,atleast thosethatwerenotsecret.Readersofthenewspaperwouldwritetohimtoget his opinion of their scientific ideas. The column became quite lively and popular. IoftenhelpedProfessorAsadawithhisresearch,andoccasionallywhen hewastoobusyIwouldwritethecolumn.Irememberthatinoneofthese columnsIdiscussedthetheoryofatomicenergyandIexpressedtheideathat, as I wrote it, “if atomic energy were treated appropriately, an extremely powerfulweaponcouldbemade.”Theideaofatomicenergyoranatomic weaponseemedremoteatthetime.ThereweretwocyclotronsinJapan,and progresstowardcreatinganatomicreactionwasbeingmadeveryslowly. Japanesetechnology,then,tothebestofmyknowledge,wouldonlypermit the separation of a few milligrams of U-235 a day, and at that rate, I calculatedthattoaccumulateenoughtomakeabombwouldrequiretwenty years.Ofcourse,Ididnotknowhowfarthescientificcommunityinthe UnitedStatesandinGermanyhadcome.AndnobodyinJapanknewabout theManhattanProject. SomeofDr.Asada’sworkwasresearchfortheImperialJapaneseNavy, andIhelpedhimwithit.IndoingsoIcameincontactwithseveralnaval

officers from the Aviation Technology Center, which was located at Yokosuka,nearYokohama.Iwasnearinggraduationandhadnotyetbeen draftedwhenonedayanofficertoldmethatphysicsgraduatescouldapply forashort-termcommissionandbecometechnicalofficersjustbypassingan examination.Iwasn’ttookeenontheideaofbecominganavalofficeratall, althoughIthoughtitmightbewisertovolunteerandpickmyassignmentthan

be drafted into the army or navy and have no choice. Another officer, a captain,cametothelabonedayandtoldmetherewasanotherpossibility.

Thenavythenhadaprogramforassigningenlisteestouniversities.Asecond-

year student could apply for a commission, and once accepted he would becomeanemployeeofthenavyforlife.Thatlatterpartinitselfseemedvery worrisome—Ididnotwanttobecomeacareernavalofficer—butIdeveloped aninterestinitquicklywhenhedescribedthealternative.Hesaidshort-term commissioned officers with physics backgrounds were being assigned to shipsofthelinetooperatethenewradarsetsthatwerecomingintousethen, andthatmeantwarzoneassignmentandprobablytheendofmystudies,if not my life. So the choice was to be drafted eventually and face a very uncertainassignment,toapplyforashorttermcommissionandgotosea,or tosignupwiththenavypermanentlyandcontinuemystudies. HerecommendedthatItakethetestforapermanentnavypositionwith ascholarship,soIcouldcontinuemyworkrightthereinthelabandgetmy degree.Hesaidhedidn’twanttoseededicatedresearcherslikemebeingsent tosea.ItwashisthoughtthatafterbeingacceptedintotheprogramIwould onlyhavetoundergobasictrainingandthenIcouldrejointheresearchcenter. “That’sthesafestwayforyou,”hetoldme.“Youcankeepupyourresearch andwecancontinuetouseyou.” Ididn’thavetothinkitovertoolong.Idecidedthatthelifetimeservice ideawaspreferableatthetime—nobodyknewwhatwasgoingtohappen— andsoItooktheexaminationandpassedit.Thenavygavemethirtyyena monthandagold-coloredanchorinsigniatowearonmycollar.WiththatI becameanavymanassignedtotheuniversityandmyjobwastocontinueto studyphysics.Butthisdidnotlastlong.Inmythirdyearthewarintensified, andwephysicsstudentswereputunderdirectmilitarycontrollikeeveryone elseinthecountry;IwasassignedtotheOfficeofAviationTechnologyat

Yokosukainearly1945.

Butitwasn’twhatIexpected.Theybilletedmeinaworkers’dormitory,

andthefirstmorning,insteadofgoingintoalaboratoryasIanticipated,Iwas

marchedwiththerestofthedraftedworkersintoafactory.Somebodyhanded

meametalfileandassignedmetothemachineshop.EverydayIwouldslave

awayinthatshop,filingsteelparts.Afterafewdays,IbegantothinkthatifI

didn’tgetoutoftheresoonIwouldgocrazy.AlloverJapanstudentswere takenoutofschoolandworkersweretakenoffnonessentialjobstodowar work,andnowuniversitysciencestudentsseemedtobenoexception. YoshikoKamei,thewomanwhowastobemywife,wasalsoassigned fromhercollegeclassroomtoafactorywhereshemadewoodenpartsforthe wingsofatrainingaircraftcalledRedDragonfly.Shestillknowshowtouse carpentrytoolsbecauseofthatwork.Whentheairplanepartsfactorywas bombed,shewasassignedtoaplantwheretheymadehospitalgownsfor wounded soldiers, and later she was transferred to a printing shop where militaryscripwasprintedforuseintheoccupiedareasofAsia.Mostschools couldonlyholdonedayofclassesaweekinthelatterstagesofthewar,and someheldnoclassesatall.Therewerefewyoungmenathometodothese jobsbecauseJapan’smilitarymanpowerwasspreadfarandthin.Yoshikoand

Ididnotmeetuntil1951andweweremarriedthatyear.

After several weeks of this factory drudgery, someone must have realized I was improperly assigned, because I was suddenly and without explanationtransferredtotheopticslaboratoryandIbegantofeelthatIwas gettingbacktotheworkingworldIknewbest.Therewereofficersthereand workers who were graduates of photography schools, but I was the only universitystudentmajoringinphysics,sotheysavedallthedifficulttechnical problemsformetostudy.Myfirstassignmentwastotrytofindouthowto preventthedamagetoaerialphotographscausedbyjaggedstreaksofstatic electricitygeneratedinthedryatmosphereataltitude.Ineededaccesstoa goodlibrarytoresearchthisjob,andsoIconceivedaplan.PretendingthatI hadcomedirectlyfromthenavy,Icalledonaveryfamousprofessoratthe PhysicsandChemistryResearchInstituteinTokyo,ProfessorJiroTsuji,to gethispermissiontousetheinstitute’sresearchlibrary.Hekindlyofferedme fullassistance. ThenImadeapplicationwithmyunittogotoTokyoeverydaytodomy research.Imusthavebeenveryconvincing,becauseIgotpermissionalmost immediately. But commuting on slow, crowded wartime trains from YokohamatoTokyo,whichtookwelloveranhour,becameverytiresome,so Imovedintothehomeofaclosefriendandclassmatefromprimaryschool whohadbeenalawstudentatTokyoUniversitywhenhewasdraftedintothe navy.OnweekdaysIwouldgototheresearchinstitute,andonSaturdaysI would return to the workers’dormitory and spend the weekend with my fellowworkers.Iwaslearninghowtobeamilitarywheeler-dealer. ButIwasn’tshirkingwork.Iwastryingtofigureouthowtoprevent thosestaticelectricstreaks.Iknewthatwhenaerialpicturesweretakenby mappingcameras,whichusedverybigspoolsoffilm,sparkswereoften

causedbystaticelectricity,whichwouldruinthepicture.Ibegantogetsome ideasthroughmyreadingandexperimenting.Imovedintothedarkroom, whereplentyoffilmwasavailable,andtriedtosimulatethesparksinthelab. Iusedvariousvoltagesacrossthecamerapartsandthefilm,andIswitched polarity. In a short time I managed to come close to duplicating the phenomenoninthelab.InmyfirstreportIsaidthat,althoughIhadmanaged tosimulatethephenomenontoacertainextent,Istillhadtofindoutprecisely whatcauseditandhowtoremedyit,butIcouldnotcarryonwith this experimentbecausetheopticsdivisiondidnothavetheproperfacilities.Of course,themostsuitableplacewiththebestequipmentwasthelaboratoryof ProfessorAsada,andIaskedtobeassignedundertemporaryorderstothe Asadalab. IthoughtIwouldmakeiteasierformysuperiorstomakethedecision, soItoldthemthatIdidn’tneedanytravelexpenses,andsincethelabwasin myolduniversityIknewwhereIcouldstayfreeofcharge.AllIwouldneed fromthemwaspermissiontostudyinthelab.Theironlyinvestmentwouldbe alargequantityoffilm,sincefilminthosedayswasveryscarceandIcould notgetitanywhereelse.Whattheirapprovalwouldmeanforme,Ihoped, would be the possibility of completing this assignment with the more advanced equipment at the university lab. And, as I hoped, I not only completeditbutwasabletousemyformalresearchreporttothenavyasmy seniorthesis. Theysawitmyway,authorizingaloadoffilm,whichIpackedintomy rucksackbeforeIreturnedtomyuniversity.Soforafewmonths,whileothers werebeinggivenahardtime,Iwasstayingattheoldapartmentmyfamily hadrentedformeasastudent,gettingvaluableadvicefromProfessorAsada, and merely sending in a report on my research every week. It was the opportunitytodooriginalworkatmyownpacethatIliked,andofcourseI continuedtolearnfromProfessorAsada.

Fortyyearslater,in1985,Iattendedareunionofthestaffoftheoptics

labandIgaveaspeechconfessingmymotiveforleaving.IsaidIhaddonea

veryselfishthingandapologizedforanyinconveniencemyselfishnessmay

havecausedtheothermembersofthelab.Theyallapplauded,andthenmy

formersuperiorofficergotupandsaidhealsohadaconfessiontomake.He

saidthedayIleftforOsakawithmyloadoffilmandmyfreedomhereported

tohissuperiorofficer,anadmiral:“Theadmiralwasfurious!Hescoldedme

severelyandsaidthattherewasabsolutelynoprecedentforwhatIhaddone.”

Thisdressingdownwentonfortwohours,andmybosswasdismissedwith

anordertogotoOsakaandbringbackMorita.Thenextmorningheappeared

beforetheadmiraltoannouncehisdeparturetobringmebackwhenthe

admiralwavedhishandimpatientlyandtoldhimtoforgetit.AndsoIwas allowedtoremaininOsaka.ButforfortyyearsIwasunawareofthetroubleI hadcaused,andnowIfeltIhadtoapologizeforitdoubly.Weallgotagood laughoutofit,inretrospect. With my graduation from university, I automatically became a professionalnavalofficer,andthismeantthatIhadtoundergosomeactual militarytraining,soIwasshippedofftoamarinecorpsbaseatHamamatsu, notfarfromNagoya,whereIwentthroughtheusualfour-monthofficer’s indoctrinationandtrainingcourse.Ifounditdifficult,butprovingmyself physicallywasveryrewarding. Atthattimeonlystudentsinthesciences,likeme,couldbeexempted fromthedraftforawhile.MybrotherKazuaki,whowasstudyingeconomics atWasedaUniversity,couldnotqualifyforadefermentandwasdraftedinto thenavyandgivenflighttrainingintwin-enginebombers.Andrightaftermy graduation, when I was at the Hamamatsu base, he was at the navy’s Toyohashi Air Base, which is very close by, and he was flying over my barracksontrainingmissionseveryday.Hewasfortunatetobeassignedto thetwin-enginenightbombingunitbecausethetrainingtookalongtimeand thewarwasoverbeforehegraduated.Someofhisschoolclassmateswere assignedtofighters,whichwasamuchshortertrainingcourse,andsome became kamikaze pilots who flew suicide missions and, of course, never returned. Myyoungerbrother,Masaaki,wasinmiddleschool,andthemilitary was encouraging youngsters to volunteer. Entire classes were joining up. Japanatthetimewasfullofwarfervorandalthoughayoungmanmightnot wanttovolunteerhewouldbeostracizedifhedidnot.AndsoMasaakiwas onlyfourteenorfifteenyearsoldwhenhisentireclassdecidedtheywould jointhenavy.Myparentswereshockedanddidn’twanthimtogo,buthe insisted,andIremembermymother’stearswhenheleftthehouse.Itookhim tothetrainandIcriedtoo.Hewentintonavalflighttraining,andfortunately hewasintheearlystagesofhistrainingwhenthewarended.Allthree brothersatonetimeoranotherfoundthemselvesflyinginnavalplanes.Inmy experimentsIwentonmanynightflightsasapassengertotesttheequipment we were using in our attempts to make a heat-seeking weapon, and my colleaguestaughtmehowtopilotaplane,unofficially,ofcourse.Forawhile threebrotherswereflyingintheairandmymotherthoughttherewasnohope thatwewouldsurvivethewar.Fortunately,allthreeofusmadeitthrough unharmed. ThewarwiththeUnitedStateswasatragedyandtomostJapanesea surpriseandashock,despiteallthepropagandaabouttheWesterncountries

ganginguponJapan.Asachild,ofcourse,Iwasnotawareofallthepolitical eventsthatweretakingplaceinthetwentiesandearlythirties,butbythetime

Iwasthirteen,in1934,wewerebeinggivenmilitarydrillabouttwohoursa

week.AllthroughthoseyearswewerebroughtuptoconsidertheSovietsthe potentialenemyandweretoldthattherewasapossibilityofwarwiththe SovietUnion.WeweretaughtthatCommunismwasdangerousandthatthe reasonJapanwentintoManchuriawastosecureaborderandabufferzone againsttheCommunistsfortheprotectionofJapan. Hotheadedultra-nationalists,fascists,andsomejuniormilitaryofficers hadcreatedseveralseriousincidentsathomeandabroadforJapaninthose

days,andpeoplelikemyfatherwereworriedaboutthefuture.In1932,a

group of these ultra-nationalists, together with forty-two young officers, attackedtheso-calledprivilegedclasses,killingfinanceministerJunnosuke Inoueandaleadingbusinessman,BaronTakumaDan,whoheadedthegiant

Mitsuigroupofcompanies.Laterthatyear,onMay15,theyassassinated

PrimeMinisterTsuyoshiInukaiandattackedthehomeofthelordprivyseal and also the offices of some of the giant holding companies. They also stormedtheNipponBankandtheMitsubishiBank. Peopleofourclasswerealarmedbytheseevents.Althoughtherebels wereaimingattheestablishmentoffascism,theseeventslookedlikepartsof

aCommunistplottomanyconservativepeople.Then,in1936,thefamous

February26incidenttookplace,whenanotherbandofarmyrebelsoccupied

theprimeminister’sofficialresidenceandthewarofficeandassassinated formerprimeministerMakotoSaito,whowaslordkeeperoftheprivyseal,a general who was in charge of military education, and a former finance minister.Theywoundedthegrandchamberlainandbroughtthewrathofthe emperordownonthemselves.Militaryforcewasusedtosubduetherebels, andfifteenofficersandseveraloftheircivilianhelperswerelaterexecuted. Althoughtherevoltfailed,itbecamemoreandmoreevidentthatthe upper-classpoliticiansandbusinessmenhadbeenintimidatedbytheattacks. Thenationwasinpooreconomicconditionandtheyoungfascistofficers, though they were misguided, managed to arouse the sympathy of many people.InJapanthereisatraditionofsympathyforthosewhostrikeout againstoverwhelmingodds,eveniftheiridealismorzealismisplaced.Many ofJapan’sfolkheroesaremenwhodiedtryingtoaccomplishtheimpossible. Fromthemiddlethirties,themilitaryincreaseditscontroloverpoliticsand thefascistsbegantodictatepolicy.Inthisatmosphereitwasdifficultfor peopletospeakout.EvenintheDiet,theJapaneseparliament,fewelected membershadthecouragetospeakoutagainstthemilitaristsandthosewho diditoncewerenotgivenasecondchancetospeak.Andsothemilitarists

tooktheupperhand. Whenevermyfatherandhisfriendswouldgettogether,theywouldtalk ofthedangersahead.Theywerebusinessmenandtheyweremoreliberalin theirthinkingthanthefascists,buttheywereunabletodoanythingbutkeep silentinpublic. Youngpeopleinschoolsonlyknewwhattheyweretold,andatthattime informationwasone-sided.ThemissionoftheJapaneseforcesthatinvaded Chinawasglamourized.Somepeoplehadheardrumorsoftheattackson Chinesecities,ofwhatwashappeninginNanking,andIassumemyfather heardmorethanhesaid,buttheyoungerpeopledidn’tpaytoomuchattention tosuchthings.IknewthatrelationsbetweentheUnitedStatesandJapanwere gettingworse,butIneverexpectedwar. Ihadbuiltatimeclock,whichwasattachedtomyradioandwassetto wake me up at six o’clock every morning. I remember very clearly the

morningofDecember8,1941—itwasstillDecember7intheUnitedStates

—whenmytimerturnedonmyradioandIheardtheannouncementthat JapaneseforceshadattackedPearlHarbor.Iwasshocked.Everyoneinour housewasstunnedbythisnews,andIrememberthinkingthatthiswasa dangerousthing.IhadgrownupbelievingtheWestwassomewhatsuperiorin technology.Forexample,atthattimemetalvacuumtubescouldbebought onlyinAmerica—wedidn’thaveanysuchthinginJapan.IhadboughtRCA tubesformyexperiments.AndknowingaboutAmerica’stechnologythrough moviesandproductssuchascarsandphonographsandfrommyuncle,Iwas concernedthatamistakehadbeenmade. ButinthoseweeksrightafterPearlHarbor,ournewspapersgaveusa steadystreamofgoodnewsofJapanesemilitaryvictories—ourforcessank the two British capital ships, Prince of Wales and Repulse, which were supposedtobeinvincible;theytookthePhilippinesandHongKong,allinthe monthofDecember;andIbegantothinkthatperhapswewerestrongerthanI realized. Once the war started the general public, including my parents, believedthatwehadnoalternativebuttocooperateinthewareffort.The newspaperswerefullofthenewsofthepressurestheUnitedStateswas puttingonus,oftheimmigrationlawsthatdiscriminatedagainstJapanese, andthedemandsthatweleaveChinaandManchuria,ourbuffer,wethought, againstCommunism.Andthatwasthecryweallheard,thattheRedswerea dangerandthreattoJapanandthatonlythefascistsweregoingtoprotectus fromthem. Everythingthemilitary-dominatedgovernmentdidwasmadetoappear anorderoftheemperor,andtheyforcedschoolchildrenandadultsaliketodo incrediblethings.Aschoolprincipalwhomadeamistakewhenherecitedthe

ImperialRescriptonEducationcommittedsuicidetoatoneforit.Thought policeandspecialpoliceroamedthecountryarrestingpeopleontheslightest suspicionthattheywerenotloyalorobedientenoughorreverentenough. Conductorsonthetrolleycarsthatranpasttheimperialpalacegroundsin Tokyo would announce the moment everybody was expected to bow.

Schoolchildren bowed to the portable Shinto shrine that held the written wordsoftheemperor.Thesewerewaysthemilitaryusedtokeepthenationin theirpower,andpeoplelikemeandmyparentswentalong.Onemighthave dissentinhisheart,andthereweremanywhodid,butitwasdifficultand dangeroustoexpressit.Resisterswere“reeducated”inspecialcamps,and thosewhostillresistedwerethrownintothemostmenialjobs.Allleftistsand Communistswereroundedupandjailed. Whenmyfour-monthperiodofmilitarytrainingwasover,Ireceivedthe rankoflieutenantandwasorderedbacktotheopticaldivisionatYokosuka. In short order, I was assigned to help supervise a special unit that had

evacuatedtothecountrysidetoworkonthermalguidanceweaponsandnight-

visiongunsights.WeweretobebasedatabigoldcountryhouseinZushi,a smalltownsouthofKamakura,lookingoutontoSagamibay.Ourunitwas headedbyacaptain,andthereweresomeotherhigh-rankingofficers,plus twoorthreelieutenants,likeme,andafewensigns.Theseniorlieutenantwas thedutyofficer,asortofgeneralaffairsmanager.ThatwasI.AboardshipI wouldhavebeenthedeckofficer.Ihadtohandleallthedetailsofourdaily life,includingprovidingfoodforthegroup,butIfoundtheenvironmentof thecountryhousewonderfuldespitetheresponsibilitiesIhad.Thehousewas builtontheWesternstyle,facedwithstucco,withacourtyardgarden.Movie companieshaduseditfrequentlywhentheywantedaWesternsettingfora film.Thehousewasbuiltatthefootofacliffjustabovethebeach,andItook aroomatthenearbyNagisaHotel,whichhadalsobeentakenoverbythe navyasanofficers’residence,andcommutedtoworkinthemorningby walkingalongthebeachfromthehoteltothehouse.Itseemedincongruous becausesometimesitwasaspeacefulasanybeachresort,yetwewereright

underthereturnpathoftheB-29’sthatweremethodicallyhittingTokyoand

KawasakiandYokohamaalmosteverydaywithincendiarybombsandhigh

explosives.

AlthoughIwasveryyoung,Ihadhadplentyofmanagementtrainingat

homealreadyandIcouldtakecareofmyentiregroup.Therewasashortage

offoodinourunit,andwehadtouseouringenuitytogetenoughtoputon

thetable.Averycleverensignundermestruckupafriendshipwithafish

shopownerfromZushiwhousedtoshowuponthebeachfrequently.As

navymenwewereentitledtoasmallsakerationandsowewouldexchange

oursake,whichwasscarce,forabitoffreshfish.Butitstillwasn’tenough foryoungpeopletoeat,soIhituponanotheridea.Isentalettertomyfamily bymilitarymailaskingthemtosendmeabarrelofsoysauceandabarrelof soybeanpastemarked“ForNavalUse.”AtthattimetheMoritacompanywas makingdehydratedsoybeanpasteforthearmy—Japanesecandowithout almostanythingbuttheirsoybeansoup—andalcoholproductsforthenavy. Thiskindofshipmentwouldnotlookunusual.Ofcourseitwasanaughty thingformetodo,butalthoughIamsureitwasabreachofregulations,we hadtolivebyourwitsinthosedaysandIthinkIcouldhavedefendedit successfully if I had been challenged. When the miso and the soy sauce arrived,westoreditinthebasement,andwheneverfishwasavailablewe wouldbartersomeofourprecioushiddensupply.Thatwayourlittleunit stayedrelativelywellfedandhappyunderdifficultcircumstances. Ibelongedtoaspecialprojectgroupcomposedofresearchersfromthe army,navy,andciviliansector,allworkingonheat-seekingdevices.Wewere brainstormingthechallenge,withthetaskofbeingoriginalandaudaciousin ourthinking.Oneofthecivilianrepresentativesinourgroupwasabrilliant electronicsengineerwhowasinchargeofhisowncompanyinthosedays,a manwhowasdestinedtohaveagreatdealofinfluenceinmylife.Masaru Ibukaisthirteenyearsmysenior,buthewastobecomemyveryclosefriend, colleague,partner,andco-founderofthecompanywewouldcreate:theSony Corporation. Beingpartofthisdevelopmentgroupwasquiteheadystuffforme.Iwas youngandcocky,butIwasgettingusedtobeinginthecompanyofsuperiors. Wehadallbeenthrowntogetheronaprojectthatwasaheadofitstime.Our smallteamspentdaystogether,duringwhichwegottoknowagreatdeal abouteachother,butwecouldnotmakemuchprogressontheheatseeker. (TheAmericanSidewindermissile,whichisthesortofdeviceweweretrying tomake,didnotappearuntilmanyyearsafterthewar.)Iwasmerelyarecent universitygraduate,butinourjointmeetingsIfoundmyselffacingrenowned professorsandofficersfromthearmywhowouldleanacrossthetableand demand,“Whatistheopinionofthenavyonthispoint?”TowhichIhadto reply,asseriouslyasIcould,“Well,gentlemen,inthenavy’sview…Iwas gratefulformyfather’straininginthosemoments. Mr.Ibuka’scontributiontothisgroupwassignificant.Hehaddeviseda powerful amplifier at his company, the Japan Measuring Instrument Company,whichwasbeingusedinadevicethatcoulddetectasubmarine thirtymetersbelowthesurfaceofthewaterbymeasuringanydisturbancein theearth’smagneticflux.Theunitwassuspendedfromanairplane,andits keypartwasIbuka’samplifier,whichwaspowerfulenoughtodetectand

amplify a very small frequency of only one or two cycles per second to

aroundsixhundredcycles,whereitcouldbenoted.Ihavereadthattwenty-

sixenemysubmarinesweredetectedaroundFormosawiththisdeviceduring itsfull-scaletesting,butitwassolatein’thewarthatbythetimethedetector was ready to be deployed there weren’t enough planes available to carry them.JapanwaslosingcontroloftheairasAmericanforceskeptmoving closertoJapan’smainislands,withtroopsstormingtheislandchaintothe southanddailybombingsdestroyingouraircraftfactories. AstimewentontheairraidsbecamemorefrequentoverTokyoandall through the industrial and military area of Kawasaki and Yokohama, just northofourhaven,whichwasontheMiuraPeninsula.Whenevertheraids began,thealarmswouldgooffallaroundus,andalthoughwewerenever bombedwewerealwaysalerted.Itseemedtomethatsincewewereatthe bottom of the cliff it would be pretty difficult to be hit by a bomb, and besides,whowouldwanttobombusanyway?Wewerenotanactivemilitary force,andIwassuretheAmericansdidn’tevenknowweexisted.Thatwas notmilitarythinking,butitwaslogical.Ifeltifwegothitbyabombitwould beanaccident.SoIcalledeveryonetogethertohearwhatIhadinmind. Iputitassimplyaspossible.“Undernavalregulations,”Isaid,“wehave togetupwheneverthealarmsounds,putonouruniforms,andmanthefire pumps.Butsinceitseemsalmostimpossibletogetbombedinthislocation, I’mnotgoingtowakeyouupeveniftheairraidalarmsdogooff.”They seemedtolikethat. “Ontheotherhand,”Iwarnedthem,“ifabombdoesfallherethereis nothingwecoulddoaboutit.Inthatcaseitwouldbetheendanyway.”My colleaguesacceptedmyreasoningwithrelief.AndtoshowthemthatImeant whatIsaid,Imovedoutofthehotelandverydramaticallymovedmygear intoasecond-floorroomatourvilla.Itwasn’tabravethingtodoatall.I realizedthattherewouldbenopointintheAmericansbombingaplacelike this. At the end, we weren’t doing any really important research there anymore,anditseemedbettertosleepduringthenightthantogetupduring eachalertanddragthroughthenextdaysufferingfromlackofsleep.

III

InJulyandAugustof1945,therewereraidsovertheTokyo-Yokohama

areaalmosteverydayandeverynight.WecouldwatchthebigsilverB-29’s

passingoverheadaftertheirbombingrunsinlandandanantiaircraftbattery

nearbywouldopenfire.Sometimesfromourwindows,wecouldseeaB-29

beinghitandfallingintothesea.Thereweretracerscrisscrossingtheskyand spentshellsallovertheground.Duringtheraids,wecouldoftenfeelthe earthshaking,butweeventuallysleptthroughmostofthoseraids.IguessI shouldn’tadmitthat,butithasbeenmanyyearsandIthinkthestatuteof limitationsmusthaverunoutbynow. Thethingthatconcernedmeagreatdealthen wasthatthemilitary wouldnotgiveupthiswarnomatterhowbadlyitwasgoingandthatthe Miura Peninsula, where we were stationed, would become a bloody battleground, a last ditch battleground for the fanatical military, Japan’s Bataan.Weknownowthattherewasaninvasionplan,called“Olympic,”that calledforlandingsinoursouthernmostmainislandofKyushu,butweall knew that the concentration of military targets in our area would be too importanttobypassandthatifworsecametoworst,therewouldbealotof fightingonthewaytoTokyo.Aftertheatomicbombwasdropped,Iknewwe wereheadingforthecrisis.Inthedaysfollowingthebombing,manymilitary peopledecidedtotake“official”tripstovisittheirfamilies.Butbeingduty officerIcouldn’tleave,eventhoughthesituationwasgettingmoreandmore worrisome and confused. One day I received orders to do some work in Nagoya,andsincemyfamilyhomewasnearbyIaskedforaday’sleaveto visitmyparents.Myrequestwasapproved. IrememberthatbeforeleavingIannouncedtomyfellowofficersthatit wasquitepossiblethewarwouldendwhileIwasaway.Inthatcase,Isaid, noonecouldpredictwhatwouldhappentoourstation—thenavymighteven orderustocommitmasssuicide.Inthatcase,Isaid,Iwouldnotcomebackto jointhemastheyobeyedthatfinalorder.Itwasnotmuchofajoke,andI guessanofficeroftheImperialJapaneseNavyshouldneverhavesaidsucha thingtohissuperiors,butIjusthadtosayit.Onelieutenantgotveryangry andyelled,“LieutenantMorita,whatareyoutalkingabout?Ifyoudonot comeback,youwillbechargedwithdesertioninthefaceoftheenemy!”It wastheworstthreathecouldthinkof. Iturnedtohimandsaidcalmly,“Whenthiswarends,Lieutenant,the crimeofdesertioninthefaceoftheenemywillnolongerexist.”

AftertakingcareofmyofficialbusinessinNagoya,Ihurriedbacktoour ancestralhomeinKosugayawheremyfamilywasthenlivingagain.Thecity ofNagoyaandmostofAichiPrefecturewastargetedbytheAmericanAir Forcebecauseoftheindustrialplantslocatedthere,whichincludedaircraft factories—the famous Zero fighter was built in Nagoya—and antiaircraft artilleryplants.ByJulythebombinghaddestroyedorbadlydamagedhalfof theindustrialbuildingsinNagoya,andstatisticsreleasedsometimelatersaid

that32percentofthepopulationhadbeen“dehoused”inthefirebombing.It

wassimplynotsafeforcivilians,somanypeoplewhodidnothavetobein thecitymovedaway,likemyparents.Thebombingcausedmillionsofpeople

toflee.ActuallyNagoyasufferedlessthanYokohama,where69percentof

thepopulationwashomeless,orKobe,wherethenumberwas58percent,or

Tokyo,with46percent.Thisputquiteaburdenonthepeopleinthesmaller

communitieswheretherefugeessoughtshelter. MyfuturewiferemainedinTokyowithherfatherandonebrother,and therestofthefamilywenttolivewithrelativesinthecountryside.InTokyo theysurvivedthebombinginthecrampedbackyardairraidshelter,butone nighttheirfineoldhousewasdestroyedbyincendiaries,andtheylivedfor weeksintheshelternexttotherubblethatwasoncetheirhome.Thehouse, whichwasbrimmingwithbooks,smolderedsohotlyforsolongthatYoshiko actuallycookedmealsovertheembersformanydays.

ItwastheeveningofAugust14whenIfoundmyfamilyathome.We

hadafinereunion,butmyfatherlookedworried.Hewasconcernedaboutthe endofthewar.LikemostJapanesethen,hehadsensedforalongtimethat thewarwaslost,buthehadnoideahowitwouldendandwhatwouldhappen after.Heconfidedtomethathewasconsideringevacuatingtosomeother, moreremoteplace.Itoldhimthattherewasnopointindoingthat,because from what I knew and could see, they were as safe where they were as anybodycouldbe,consideringtheuncertaintyofeveryone’sfuture.Noone knewwhattoexpectfromtheAmericans.ItoldmyfatherthatIexpectedthe warwouldnotcontinuemuchlonger.Wetalkeduntilwellpastmidnight,and thenIfellasleep,exhausted. Iwasshakenawakebymymotherintheearlymorning—itseemedthatI hadhardlysleptatall.Motherwasagitated,andwithgreatexcitementshe saidthatEmperorHirohitowasgoingtomakeanannouncementontheradio

atnoon.ItwasAugust15.Eventheannouncementthattheemperorwould

speaktothenationwasstunning.Somethingextraordinarywastocome.The emperor’s voice had never been heard by the Japanese people. In fact ordinarypeoplewerenotallowedtolookathim,andwhenhetraveledbycar ortrain,peoplealongtheroutewererequiredtofaceaway.Weallknewwe

wereexperiencinghistoricmoments. Because I was, after all, a naval officer, I put on my full uniform, including my sword, and I stood at attention while we listened to the broadcast.Therewasalotofstaticontheradioandalotofbackgroundnoise, butthehigh,thinvoiceofHisMajestycamethrough. AlthoughthepeopleofJapanhadneverbeforeheardhisvoice,weknew itwastheemperor.Hespokeinthehighlymanneredold-fashionedlanguage ofthecourt,andeventhoughwecouldn’tfollowthewordsexactly,weknew whatthemessagewas,whathewastellingus,andwewerefrightenedandyet relieved. Thewarwasover.

PEACE:OurNewLifeBegins

I

Suddenly our world was different. The emperor, who until now had neverbeforespokendirectlytohispeople,toldustheimmediatefuturewould be grim. He said that we could “pave the way for a grand peace for all generationstocome,”butwehadtodoit“byenduringtheunendurableand sufferingwhatisinsufferable.”HeurgedJapantolookahead.“Uniteyour totalstrengthtobedevotedtotheconstructionforthefuture,”hesaid.Andhe challengedthenationto“keeppacewiththeprogressoftheworld.” Iknewmydutywastogobacktomystationanddowhatwouldbe requiredofme.Eventhoughweallunderstoodthatthewarwasover,nobody knewwhatwouldhappennext,andIwasanticipatingmassconfusion.Icould imagine the situation back at Zushi among the workers at our station, confusedanduncertainaboutwhathadtobedone.Theciviliansamongthem were all very young and many of them were girls. They were my responsibilitysinceIwasthedutyofficer,andIfeltitwouldbeprudentto sendthemtotheirhomesassoonaspossible.Wedidn’tknowwhetherthere wouldbeadifficultoccupationperiodorhowtheJapanesemilitarywouldbe treated.Wouldweallbearrestedandthrownintojail? Itoldmymother,“Whateverhappens,Imustgoback,”andIaskedher topreparesomefoodfortheroad.Shemadeasupplyofcookedriceballsand wrappedthemsoIcouldcarrytheminmybag.Ithoughtitmighttakeme threedaystogetbacktomybaseifthebusesandtrainswerenotrunning.I assumedthatmostlocaltransportwouldbeatastandstillandthatImight havetohitchridestogetthere.Foodwouldbescarceontheway.Irodea borrowedbicycleaboutfourmilestothelocaltrainstation,andbecauseIwas anofficerIhadnotroublebuyinga.ticketforthenighttrain.Isatdownand waited,expectingalongvigil,buttomysurprisethetrainarrivedpreciselyon time—very Japanese, I thought— and I got aboard expecting a difficult searchforaseat,butIfoundthetrainhadveryfewpassengers.Itwasneat andcleanandcomfortable,soIhadaneasytripbacktoZushiandmystation. AndIstillhadmostofathree-daysupplyofriceballstoeat. MymissionwasturningouttobeeasierthanIthoughtitwouldbe—or atleastdifferent.AlthoughIwasnotseeingitfirsthand,therewasconfusion and fear all over Japan, and as I had expected there were some military attemptstopreventthesurrender,oneofthemveryclose,atAtsugi,where

NavyCaptainYasunaKozono,anairgroupcommander,gatheredhismen andtoldthemthattosurrenderwouldbetreason.Severalairunitsinthearea threatened to stage suicide attacks on the American fleet when it entered Tokyo Bay to accept the surrender, and the military affairs bureau immediatelytooktheprecautionoforderingallaircraftdisarmedandfuel tanksemptied.Therewereotherincidents,asIfearedtherewouldbe.None, however,turnedouttobethemajorlast-ditchfightIexpectedfromthenavy. We were to learn much later that there had been attempts to prevent the emperor’smessagefrombeingbroadcast.Someyoungofficershadplanned tooccupytheimperialpalacetotrytoencouragethearmytojoinintheir rebellionagainstthesurrender.Asmallbandofrebelsattackedtheprime minister’sofficialresidence,andonlybysomequickthinkingdidtheprime minister,KantaroSuzuki,escapebyusinganemergencyexitfromhisprivate residence.Therebelsalsosearchedforthelordprivyseal,MarquisKido,but hewassafelyinsidetheimperialpalace.Somearmyandnavyaviatorseven flewovertheTokyoareadroppingleafletscallingoncitizenstoresist,saying theemperor’sstatementwasinvalid.Somearmyofficerskilledthemselvesto protestthesurrenderbecausetechnicallythearmieswerestillundefeated,

althoughtherehadbeengrievouslosses—nofewerthan2,750,000Japanese

soldiers,sailors,andairmenhaddiedinthewar.Intheendeventhemilitary fanaticshadtobowtotheinevitable,“toenduretheunendurable.”

IwasbackonstationbyAugust16,andsomeofmyfellowofficers

reactedwithsurprisetoseeme—especiallytheofficerIhadtauntedaboutnot returningifsuicidewereordered.Hedidnotknowmewell,Ithought.The officersallseemedtobeinakindofdaze. ManyJapanesesoldiersweresoonontheirwayhomefromtheirbases around Japan and were beginning to crowd the trains and buses. It was difficultforsomeofthemtounderstandthesurrender.Althoughmostofthe Japanesearmyinthefieldwasstillunbeaten,itwasstretchedthinallacross Asia. The string of horrendous losses at Leyte, Iwo Jima, Saipan, and OkinawaandAmerica’ssuperiorairpoweragainstthehomeislandsandthe useofatomicweaponswereevidenceenoughthatthewarcouldnotbewon. Andthen,ofcourse,whentheSovietUnionenteredthewaragainstJapan after the Hiroshima bomb, there was great fear that our old hypothetical enemywouldtakeadvantageofourweakenedconditionandtrytooccupyus. ‘HieSovietsseizedthesouthernhalfofSakhalinislandandfourislandsjust northofHokkaido—theclosestoneisinsightoftheJapanesemainland—and theystillholdthemtoday.TheUnitedStatesreturnedOkinawa,whichthey

seizedin1945,toJapanesesovereigntyin1972.

In1945theRussiansstormedintoManchuria—ourbufferagainstthem

forsomanyyears—whenourforceswererelativelysmallandweakened, unabletodefendagainstmassiveRussianarmor.TherewaschaosasJapanese civiliansandsoldierstriedtoescapefromtheRussians,butintheendabout fivehundredthousandJapanesesoldiersweretakenprisonerandsenttolabor camps in Siberia and other places in the Soviet Union. Some of them remainedprisonersandvirtualslavelaborersforaslongastwelveyears. ManyfamiliesofJapaneseinManchuriaweresplitintheconfusion.Orphans weretakeninbyChinese,andinsomecasesJapanesemothersandfathers unabletoescapewereabletopersuadeChinesefamiliestotaketheirchildren inandprotectthem.Eventoday,fourdecadesafterthewar,eachyearChinese citizenswhobelievetheyarechildrenseparatedfromtheirparentsinthe confusionofdefeatarebroughttoJapanandhelpedinthesearchfortheir long-lostrelatives.Amazingly,somestillmanagetolocatetheiragedparents orotherkin,sometimesthroughtellingwhatlittletheyrememberoftheir livesbeforetheseparationorbysomescarordistinguishingmark.But,of course,astheyearsgobyfewerandfewerofthoseparentsarealive.There arethosewhosaytothisdaythattheemperor’sdecisiontosurrenderwas broughtaboutalmostasmuchbythefearoftheSoviets—thefearthatthey mightinvadethehomeislandsorpartitionthecountry,ashadbeendoneto Germany—asbythehorribleeventsatHiroshimaandNagasaki. TomostJapanesetheendofthewarwasagreatreliefaswellasa national tragedy. Japanese newspapers reported the beginning of the Occupation with breathless articles describing the Occupation and the occupiersinsurprisingways.Forexample,theDomeinewsagencydescribed agroupofAmericannavyfliersasbeing“verylight-heartedandagreeable; theydidnotshowanyattitude,whetherinspeechormanner,ofboastingof theirvictory….Theagreeableattitudeshownbythesepilotsissomethingof whicheveryJapanesemustbeevermindfulwhencomingintocontactwith theU.S.occupationalforcesfromnowon.”SomeJapaneseeventoastedthe arrival of the Americans, but most looked at them with some fear and suspicion. Meanwhile,wehadnoorders.Wewaitedfordays,withnothingtodo but drink sake. The first order that came told us to burn our important documents,andIsometimesthinkweweremuchtoo diligentaboutit.I burnedallmypapers,includingallmyreportsandallthedatafromour experiments.Ihadsomepersonalnotebooksandrecords,andIburnedthem, too, although I have often thought since then that they would be very interestingtohavenowandthatIhadbeenfoolishtoburnthem.Later,we receivedamessageorderingustosavesomeparticularkindsofdata,butit wastoolate—everythinghadgoneupinsmoke.Manypeoplethroughout

Japanwereburningtheirrecordsinthosedaysbecausenooneknewhowthe Americanswouldtreatusasaconqueredpeople,whethertheywouldlookfor incriminating evidence, or what. Newspapers burned their photographic archives;somecompaniesdidawaywiththeirrecords—allneedlessly.Some peopleactuallyburiedimportantpapersandfamilyrecordsintheirgardens.It wasanexampleofjusthowconfusedthingswerethroughoutthecountry,not justatnavyheadquarters.Wewerealsoorderedtodestroyanyimportant machinery,butwedidn’thaveanyspecialmachines;wedidn’tevenhaveany weapons.Thenfinallyanordercameauthorizingmetosendtheworkstaff home.ItwastheorderIwaswaitingfor,butcarryingoutthemissionwas moredifficultthanorderingittobedone.Therewasalackoftransportfor ordinaryworkers.Somefamiliesofourstaffwereseparatedandlivingin evacuationareasfarawayfromtheirnormalhomes.SoIhadtoplanhowI wouldgetthesepeoplemovedout,andquickly.Howcouldwedoitwithout transportationorfood?Theensignwhodiscoveredthefishmerchantwho dealtwithusforsakeandbeanpastecametomewithanovelidea. Werealizedthattheofficefurnitureandlaboratoryequipmentwehad wasvaluable,perhapsworthmorethanmoneyinatimeofwarshortages.We hadbeentoldtodestroyit.Insomeunits,menweretakingthispropertyhome andsellingitontheblackmarket.Takingacuefromtheprofiteers,wewent tothebiggesttruckingcompanyintheareaandbargainedthemanystorage batterieswehadbeenusinginourexperimentsfortheshipmentofluggageto thehomesofouremployees.Thecompanywasbadlyinneedofthebatteries fortheirtrucksandwasgladtomaketheswap.Wethrewinsomeofthe office equipment, lockers, and desks for good measure. The National RailwaysstationmasteratZushiwasalsoveryhappytogetsomeusednavy officefurnitureinexchangeformostoftheexpresstrainticketsandluggage transportweneededforourcivilianstaff. Isentthehighschoolstudentsandtheyoungwomenhomefirst.There were rumors going around that we navy officers might be declared war criminals,andtheciviliansmightbearrested.Ithoughtthatwouldbeunlikely andillogicalsincewehadneverevenfoughtagainsttheAmericans,butthis kindoffearwastypicalintheconfusionthatexisted,andIbelieveditwas besttogetourpeoplehomequicklyjusttoplayitsafe.Wedidn’thaveany ideaofwhatthebehavioroftheAmericantroopswouldbesowewantedthe womentobehome.Becausetherewassuchashortageofengineersduring the war, our unit had been sent a group of third-year senior high school sciencestudents,abouttwentyofthem,andtheseveryyoungboyswerealso amongthefirstonesIwantedtosendhome.Buttwooftheboysdidn’thavea hometogobackto,sincetheirparentswerelivinginKoreaorManchuria,I

can’trememberwhich,soIsentthemtomyparents.Igavethemaletterto mymother,saying,“Icannottellhowlongwewillbekepthere.Wemight evenbekilledbytheAmericans.Sopleasetakecareofthesetwoboys.” Latermymotherchidedme,saying,“Whydidyousendustwobigeatersata timewhentherewasnorice?” Wesatarounddoingnothingformanydaysbeforeneworderscame. Afterwehadsentalltheboysandgirlshomewedidn’thaveanythingtodo. Withanopticaltelescopewehad,wewouldinspecttheAmericanshipsthat keptarrivinginSagamiBaybeforetheywentuptoTokyoBayforthesigning ofthesurrenderdocumentontheUSSMissouri.Itwasaremarkablesight—it lookedasthoughtheentireU.S.Navyhadsteamedintothebayrightinfront ofus.Iwaseagertogetoutofthere,andwhenthetimecameItookthefirst trainhome.Itwasquiteareunion,becausebothofmybrothersarrivedback homeaboutthesametime,allofussafeandsound,tothegreatjoyofmy fatherandmother.Wehadmanagedtodoourdutyandhadcomehome withoutphysicalscars.Wehadalsoavoidedthefanaticismthatseemedto gripsomuchofJapan’syouthinthosedays,inculcatedwithworshipofthe emperor and the idea of glorious death. In Japan we often talk of a psychologicalclimateoratmospherethatsometimesoccursandwhichseems to sweep people up into like-minded activity, as though everybody is breathingthesamespecialkindofair.Duringthewartheauthoritiestook advantageofthistraitbystartingmovementstovolunteer—ashappenedin myyoungerbrother’smiddle-schoolclass.ManyeageryoungJapanesewere caughtupinthisatmosphereandvolunteered,butmanyyoungkamikaze pilotswhowerefrustratedbynotbeingabletomaketheirfinalflightlater livedtobegratefulthattheydidnothavetheopportunity.Whentheemperor spoketothepeopleandmadeatourofthenationafterthewarasthenation’s symbol,akindofreveredfatherfigureinsteadofagod,acalmingsenseof normalitybegantoreturn.Tomanypeople,nowthatthewarwasover,itwas asthoughthecountryhadsufferedagiganticnaturaldisaster. The new period of peace was strange. The bombers did not come anymore,butmanycitieslookedasthoughtherewasnothingmoretobomb. IntheheartofcitiessuchasOsaka,Nagoya,Yokohama,andTokyo,onlythe sturdy concrete or stone buildings remained. Flimsy houses, shops, and factoriesmadeofwoodandpaperhadburnedlikedrytinderunderashower

ofincendiarybombsdroppedinhugeclustersbytheB-29’s.Thefirebreaks

cutthroughcertainneighborhoodstocontainthedamagehadbeenuseless

becausethewindsandflyingemberseasilyleapedoverthem.InTokyo,less

thanhalfoftheprewarpopulationofsevenmillionremainedinthecityafter

thebombingsstarted.Nearlyfourmillionhadgonetothecountrysideorto

smaller cities. The calamity was worse than the earthquake of 1923 for Tokyo,butthedevastationbyfirewassimilar,sosomeTokyoiteshadseen theircitydestroyedtwiceintheirlifetime. At the end of the war, only 10 percent of the city’s streetcars were running.Therewereonlysixtybusesinrunningconditionandjustahandful ofautomobilesandtrucks.Mosthadbeenconvertedtorunoncharcoaland woodwhenliquidfuelsranout.Sicknesswasrampantandthetuberculosis

ratewassomewhereabout22percent.Hospitalswereshortofeverything,

includingbandages,cotton,anddisinfectants.Departmentstoreshelveswere emptyorheldalotofuselessunsoldgoodslikeviolinbowsandunstrung tennisrackets.Somemovietheaterswerestillopenandshowingfilms,and theywerecrowdedwithpeoplewhohadnothingtodoandnowheretogoand wantedtodiverttheirmindsfromtheirmiseryforacoupleofhours. TheMoritafamilywasfortunatebecausewehadlostnooneinthewar andthecompanyofficesandfactoryinNagoya,andevenourhome,survived withnoseriousbombingdamage.Afterthefirstfewdaysofreunionand relaxation,webegandiscussingthefuture,andparticularlymine,astheeldest son.Fatherwasstillveryhealthyandrobustandinchargeofthebusiness, andtherereallywasn’tanyneedformeattheMoritacompanyatthetime. Duringthewarthefactoryhadcontinuedtooperateonwarwork,producing powderedmisoandalcohol,andsothebusinesswasinworkingcondition.I madesomesuggestionsforimprovementswhileIwashome,buttherewasno directneedformeatthefactory—ithadenoughmanagerswithmyfatherand hisregularstaff.Besides,Iwasonlytwenty-fourandeverybodyagreedthere wouldbeplentyoftimeformetomoveintothecompanylater. Duringmyfirstfewweeksathome,IreceivedaletterfromProfessor Hattori,thephysicsteacherwhohadbeensuchagoodadvisertomeinhigher school.HesaidhehadmovedtothephysicsdepartmentattheTokyoInstitute ofTechnology,andhewashelpingtocreateaspecialschoolfordemobilized studentswhosescienceeducationhadbeencutshortbythewar.Hisproblem wasashortageofteachers,andheinvitedme—urgedmestrongly—tojoin thefaculty.Ithoughtitwasagreatideabecauseitwouldkeepmeinphysics andwouldgetmetoTokyo,whereIhopedIcouldfindotherpossibilitiesfor interesting work now that the navy and the entire Japanese military establishmenthadbeenabolished.Igotmyparents’agreementtotakethe teachingjob,andluckily,whileIwasstillathome,Imanagedtoreestablish contactagainwithIbuka,thebrilliantengineerIhadworkedwithonthe researchprojectteam.HewasopeninganewlabinTokyo. IhadbeenintouchwithIbukainfrequentlyinthoselastfewmonthsof thewar.Asthewarwascomingtoanend,itbecamemoreandmoredifficult

forhim to get to our villa becausehe had moved his factory to Nagano Prefecture,severalhoursnorthwestofTokyobytrain,becausetheTokyo factoryandlabwerelocatedinatargetareawherethereweremanysmall factories.HetraveledtomylabinZushiformeetingsmanytimes,butIhad alsomadetripstotheappleorchardinNaganowherehisnewfactorywas located.OnedayinNaganoIbegantalkingtoIbukaaboutwhatwewoulddo afterthewarwhenIrealizedwebothknewfromlisteningtoshortwaveradio thatthewarwaslost. Ibukahadotherinsideinformation.Hisfather-in-lawwasTamonMaeda, aright-handmanofPrinceFumimaroKonoe.Konoehadbeenprimeminister of Japan several times and had fought against the military clique that eventuallydominatedthegovernmentandplungedJapanintowar.Maedawas laterpickedasJapan’sfirstpostwarministerofeducationbutwascaughtin oneofthepurgessixmonthslaterandforcedtoresignbecausehehadbeen associatedwithwartimegovernmentofficials.Neartheendofthewar,Maeda losthisTokyohomeinthebombingandmovedtothemountainresorttown ofKaruizawa,nottoofarfromNagano.Ibukavisitedhimthereoften.In thosemeetingshelearnedalotaboutwhatwashappeningdiplomaticallyand militarily. The company that Ibuka ran was called Nihon Sokuteiki, or Japan Measuring Instrument Company, and its factory in Nagano Prefecture employed fifteen hundred people making small mechanical elements that controlledthefrequencyofradardevices.Thesedeviceshadtooscillateat exactlyonethousandcyclespersecond,andIbukahadtheingeniousideaof hiringmusicstudents,whohadafinesenseofpitch,tochecktheaccuracyof theelementsagainstasimpleonethousand-cycletuningfork.Imentionthis asanexampleofthefreshnessandinventivenessofhismind,whichsomuch impressedmeandmademewanttoworkwiththisman. ButIbukadidn’tfeelprofessionallysatisfiedoutthereinthecountryside, merelyproducingcomponentsinlargequantity.IbukatoldTaijiUemura,who waspresidentofhiscompany,thathewantedtomovebacktoTokyo,and Uemurareluctantlylethimgoandthenofferedtohelpsethimupinbusiness. Ibukahadanotherfriendwhoownedwhatwasleftofadepartmentstorein TokyocalledShirokiya,atNihonbashi,whichwasliterallyinthebombed-out heartofTokyo.Thebuildinghadbeenatargetbecausetherewasavacuum tubefactoryunderground. In this empty and bare old building, set among the rubble and devastation, the burned-out homes and shops of the once-prosperous downtownareaofTokyo,IbukastartedTokyoTsushinKenkyusho,orTokyo TelecommunicationsResearchLaboratories,withsevenemployeesfromthe

oldTokyofactorywhohadpreviouslymovedwithhimtoNagano.They squeezedintotheoldtelephoneoperator’sroomonthethirdfloorofthe buildingandlaterusedspaceontheseventhfloor.Ibukaoncetoldmethatthe restoftheemployeeswhohadmovedfromTokyooriginallydidn’twantto returnbecausetherewerefewplacestoliveinTokyoandfoodwasscarce. Theyalsoknewthattherewasverylittlemoneyinthecompany’scoffersthen andthattherewas,atbest,averyuncertainfutureforthenewcompany. Ibuka’sresourceswereallinhisownpocketandinhishead.(Therewas atrickle of cash coming in from thesale of voltmeters made by his old company.)Thesmallgroupsatinconferenceinthedepressingsurroundings oftheburned-outdepartmentstore,andforweekstheytriedtofigureout whatkindofbusinessthisnewcompanycouldenterinordertomakemoney tooperate.Inthosedays,onlytheblackmarketprospered,anditwastheonly place to get certain components. The major old, established electronics companiesweregettingstartedandhadlittleinterestinsellingpartstoa competitor.Ibuka’sideawastobuildsomethingnew,butfirstthecompany hadtoestablishafinancialbase.Manystrangeideasweresuggestedinthe earlyconferences.Forexample,onememberoftheteamsaidthatsincemost ofcentralTokyohadbeenburnedoutandwasleveled,thecompanyshould leasesomevacantlandandopenaminiaturegolfcourse.Thepeopleneeded some entertainment, they reasoned. The movie theaters were crowded to capacityinthosedays.Everybodyneededsomeescape.Anothersuggested thatthefoodbusinesswasasuremoney-earnerandthatperhapssweetbean pastecakeswouldbeagoodline. Actually, food was on everybody’s mind, and so the group finally decidedtoworkonasimplericecooker,buttheyneverperfectedit,although theymademanyexperimentalmodels.Thedevicewasasimplewoodentub withspiral-shapedelectrodesinthebottom.Itdependedontheconductivity ofthewetricetocompletetheelectricalcircuitandheatuptherice.Theidea wasthatwhenthericewascookedandbegantodry,conductivitywouldbe lost,theelectricalcircuitwouldautomaticallybecut,andtheownercouldsit downtodinner.Butconsistentresultswereneverpossible.Ibukaandhisstaff triedeatingthestuff,butsometimesitwouldbeovercookedandsometimes undercooked.Theygaveitup.Theyeventhoughtofabread-bakingdevice based on the same principle of conductivity—the wet dough closing the circuitbetweenthemetalendsofawoodenbox—butneverreallyproduced one.Finally,thewiveswereputtoworkhelpingtoproduceheatingpads, stitchingthewirestothecloth.Thepadswerepopularinthestreetmarkets and brought in some badly needed cash to the families of the company employees.

ButIbukahadn’tmadehismovetoTokyotogointotheentertainmentor foodbusinessortosellhomemadeheatingpads.Hehadamoreintriguing idea:sinceshortwavereceiverswerestrictlyprohibitedduringthewar,akeen interesthaddevelopedinlisteningtoshortwavebroadcasts.Nowthatitwas nolongerillegal,perhapsthedemandcouldbemet.Ibukafiguredoutaway. Because the radio was very important for hearing air raid warnings and gettingotherinformationduringthewar,peoplehadtakenverygoodcareof theirradios,buttheycouldonlyreceivemedium-waveband,regularAM broadcasts.SoIbukadesignedashortwaveadapterunitconsistingofasmall woodenboxandasimpleradiocircuitthatrequiredonlyonevacuumtube. Thiscouldbeattachedtoanystandardradioverysimplyandwouldconvert theunittoshortwavereception.Theemployeeshadtoscroungethroughthe blackmarkettogetthetubes,someofwhichwereveryexpensive,butthe productbecameverypopularanditgaveallthepeopleatTokyoTsushin Kenkyushoaboostofconfidence. MaedahadafriendonJapan’sbiggestnewspaper,theAsahiShimbun, andthisman,RyuzoKaji,wrotearegularcolumncalled,literally,“Blue Pencil.” The Asahi newspaper in those days consisted of only one sheet

becauseofthelackofnewsprint,butthearticleonOctober6,1945,gavethe

newcompanysomegenerouspromotion:

Thereiswelcomenewsabouthowreceiverssomepeoplemayalready haveintheirhomescanbesimplymodifiedtopickupshortwavesignals.Mr. MasaruIbuka,aformerlectureratWasedaUniversity’sdepartmentofscience and engineering and son-in-law of Minister of Education Tamon Maeda, recently put up a sign for the Tokyo Telecommunications Research Laboratory on the third floor of Shirokiya in Nihonbashi. From noncommercial motives, he has set out to spread the use of shortwave receiversbytheconversionofregularreceiversorbytheuseofanadditional device.Withthefairlyhigh-classsuperheterodynereceiver,justasimple conversionallowsyoutoturnitintoafineshortwavereceiver.Withsetsone step above this, high frequency shortwave can be received with the implementationofanadditionaldevice. Thearticlewentontopredictthateventuallyprivatebroadcastswould bepermittedbytheOccupationauthoritiesandthatupgradingexistingradios wouldbeessentialbecauseoftheexpected“entanglementofwires”whenthe many new stations began broadcasting. It suggested that “by using an additionaldevice,boundariescanbeextendedsothateventhesearerendered audible.”BywayofdescribingIbuka,thewritersaidhe“usedtomanagea weaponry company, but now he wants to make the technology he is so familiarwithintosomethingthatcanbeputtogooduse.Heisstartinganew

as the town’s scholar. He says that he will accept any kind of questions includingthoseregardingtherepairofregularreceivers.” Asitturnedout,Kajigotjustsomeofitwrong—Ibukahadnotbeenin theweaponrybusiness,andhewasn’ttookeenonmakingrepairstooldsets. And,ofcourse,ifthebusinessturnedouttobenoncommercialitwasnotby choice;Ibukareallyneededthemoneytokeeppayinghisemployees.Iwas

fortunateenoughtobereadingtheNagoyaeditionofthepaperonOctober6

andwasoverjoyedtogetthe“welcomenews”aboutmyoldfriendIbuka.I wrotetohimimmediatelyandsaidIwouldliketovisithiminTokyo.IsaidI wantedtohelphiminhisnewbusinessandwouldsupporthimanywayI could.Hewrotebackimmediately,invitingmetocomeseehimandthenew company,buttoldmethatthingswereprettytightandthathewaspayinghis peopleoutofhisownpocketandwaslookingforfunding. ItraveleduptoTokyototakemynewteachingjob,andaftersettling myselfinafriend’shouseonthewesternrimofTokyo,wheretherehadbeen less damage from the bombing than in thecentral city, I lost no timein looking up my friend Ibuka in Nihon-bashi. Ibuka’s new company headquartersinthealmostgutteddepartmentstorebuildinglookedpathetic. ButtherewasenthusiasmonIbuka’sface,andheandhisemployeeswere happytobeworkingatatimewhensofewpeopleknewwhatwouldbecome ofthem. BecauseIknewIbukawashavingtroublemeetinghispayroll,Igotthe ideathatIcouldworkwiththisnewcompanypart-timeandteachpart-time. Inthisway,IbukawouldnothavetopaymeverymuchbecauseIwouldhave myteachingsalaryandwecouldbothmakeendsmeet.IbukaandItalkedfor alongtimeaboutstartingourowncompany—wehadbothbeenthinking aboutthissincesoonafterwefirstmet—andwefinallydecidedinMarch

1946thatwewoulddoitwhenwecouldgetthedetailsworkedout.SothereI

was, a university instructor on the government payroll and a part-time researcheratIbuka’snewcompanywithplanstoformourownnewcompany. Webothrealizedthatbeforewecouldactuallyformthenewcompanythere wasthedelicatequestionofmyobligationstomyfamilytobeconsidered.So IjoinedIbuka,andMaeda,whohadresignedasministerofeducation,onthe

nighttraintoKosugayainApril1946,wheretheyintendedtoaskmyfather

tohelpthenewcompanybyallowingmetojoin.Theyfelttheywantedto

demonstratetheircourtesytowardmyfatherbecausetheyknewwhatitmeant

totakeafirstsonoutofthefamilybusiness.

InJapanitwasconsideredaseriousthingtotakeason,especiallyafirst

son,outofhishomeandfamilyenvironmentandbringhimpermanentlyinto

anewatmosphereintheworldofbusiness.Insomecases,itwasalmostas

thoughanadoptionweretakingplace.Thepracticeofformallydiscussing such a plan with the parents is sometimes done today in some business circles,particularlyinsmallenterprises.Buteveninlargecompanies,family backgroundandrecommendationsandunspokenpledgesofsincerityonboth sidesarestillindicatedwhenayoungmanjoinshisbusinessfamily.The commitmentsaregenuinebecausetheycoveraworkinglife,notjustcasual employmentforafewyearsasinsomecountrieswherethereismuchmore worker mobility. I was, indeed, taking on another family and another, differentsetofresponsibilities. Ourjourneyhadbeenuncomfortable.Therewerebrokenwindowsinthe oldrailwaycoachandwehadtositinablastofcoldair,smoke,andsootall theway,butthewelcomeattheMoritahouseinKosugayawasverywarm. Ibukasaidrecentlythathestillremembershowwellmyfamilyentertained himandMaeda,“eventhoughitwasonlywithbread—theMoritafamily ownedabakeryanditwasbeautifulbread—andservedwithbutterandjam andtea.”Eventhesethingswereluxuriesintheaftermathofthewar.There werebarelyenoughofthenecessities.Japanesewerefeedingtheirsmallest childrentheirscarcericeasinglegrainatatime.Mostpeoplehaddifficulty evengettingrice.Duringthewar,peoplehadbecomeaccustomedthrough necessitytomixingbarleyandevenpotatowiththebitofricetheycouldget. The war had bankrupted and demoralized the nation and millions were strugglingthroughthoselastdaysatabaresubsistencelevel. Afteroursocializing,IbukaandMaedatoldmyfatheraboutthenew venture and what they hoped to accomplish and they said that I was absolutelyneededinthenewbusiness.Whentheyhadfinished,weallwaited tenselyforaresponse.Fatherwasobviouslypreparedforthemoment.With verylittlehesitation,hesaidthatheexpectedmetosucceedhimasheadof thefamilyandhadalsoexpectedmetotakeoverthefamilybusiness.Thenhe turnedtoMaedaandIbukaandsaid,“Butifmysonwantstodosomething elsetodevelophimselforutilizehiscapabilities,heshoulddoit.”Helooked atmeandsmiled.“Youaregoingtodowhatyoulikebest,”hesaid.Iwas delighted.Ibukawasastounded.Hetoldmelater,“Ithoughtitwouldbe hardertogetyou.”Myyoungerbrother.Kazuaki,whowasthenstudyingat WasedaUniversityinTokyo,volunteeredtotakeoverasthesakebrewerof theMoritafamilywhenthetimecameforfathertoretire.Thereweresmiles allaround.Everyonewasrelievedandhappy. BackinTokyowepooledourresourcesfortheestablishmentofournew company,TokyoTsushinKogyo,orTokyoTelecommunicationsEngineering Company—itcametoaboutfivehundreddollars.Itwasnotaprincelysum, orevenanadequateone.Wesoonranoutofmoney,andinthosedayswe

turnedoftentomyfatherforloans.Hehadfaithinusandournewcompany, andhedidnotpressforrepayment.SoIdecidedtogivehimstockinthe company.Itturnedouttobeawiseinvestmentforhimbecausehisfaithwas wellrewarded.Thestockaddedupandhebecameamajorshareholderinthe company. AlthoughIappreciatedhavingtheseparateincomefrommyteachingjob atTokyoInstituteofTechnology,myheartwasnotinteaching.Iwaseagerto gettoworkinournewcompanyfull-time.AndsoIwasactuallypleasedto readinthepaperonedaythattheOccupationauthoritieshaddecidedtopurge allteachersinJapaneseschoolswhohadbeenprofessionalarmyornavy personnel.Ifiguredthatthismeantme,becauseIwasaprofessionaltechnical officer,andaccordingtomycommissionIhadbeencommittedtoalifetime inthenowdefunctImperialJapaneseNavy.Themilitarypurgeorderedbythe AlliedPowersGeneralHeadquarters,whichrantheOccupation(everybody calleditGHQforshort),wasbasedontheideathatprofessionalmilitarymen, whohadbeenthemainculpritsinthewarandhadcontrolledthegovernment, shouldnotbeteachingandperhapsadverselyinfluencingtheimpressionable schoolchildrenofpostwarJapan.Thepurgewasgoodnewsforme,becauseI nowhadanexcusetobereleasedfrommycommitmenttotheuniversityand Icouldtakeupmyjobwiththenewcompanyfull-time. IwenttoProfessorHattoriandtoldhimthatwhileIappreciatedthe teachingjobIcouldnotcontinuebecauseofthisnews.Hewenttotheoffice tocheck,butwastoldtherehadbeennoformaladvicefromtheMinistryof Educationsotheycouldnotsaywhatshouldbedone.Theschoolaskedmeto continueuntiltheuniversityreceivedofficialnotice,soIhadtocontinueto lectureforacouplemoremonths.Iwaseagertoleave,butIfeltobligatedto continuehelpingmyoldmentor,ProfessorHattori.Ijustcouldn’tquit.When stillnonotificationhadcome,Igotaboldidea.Ishowedthenewspaper article to the dean, Koroku Wada, and expressed my concern that if I continuedtoteachanditwerediscovered,theuniversitymightbepunishedor penalizedfornot“cleaninghouse”onitsown.Isaid,“AccordingtothisI shouldbepurged,butyourofficesaidIshouldcontinuenevertheless.Iam afraidthatifIcontinueyoumightbeintroubleandIdonotwanttobe responsibleforit.”Thedeanconsideredthisideaandfinallysaid,“Allright, youcanstopteachingtoday.”Andsomyformalteachingcareerendedthen.I said a fond goodbye to Professor Hattori and went happily to the new company. MonthswentbywithoutanynoticethatIhadbeenofficiallypurged frommyuniversityjob,andeverymonththeschoolwouldcalltotellmeto comeandpickupmypay,becauseforsomereasonIremainedonthepayroll.

AndeventhoughIwasn’tteaching,mysalaryincreasedeverytwoorthree monthsasadjustmentsweremadeforinflation.ThiswentonuntilOctoberof 1946, when the Ministry of Education finally got around to issuing my personalpurgenotice.Iwelcomedthesubsidywhileitlasted,becauseour newcompanywasnotsettinganyrecordsforfinancialsuccessinthosedays. In August 1946, the Shirokiya department store was about to be renovated,andweweretoldtherewouldbenoroominitforus.Wemoved intootherquartersforawhile,inKichijoji,oneoftheoldestsectionsof Tokyo,buttheywerenotsatisfactory.Finally,wesettleddowninavery cheap,dilapidatedwoodenshackonGotenyama,ahilloncefamousforthe beautyofitscherrytreesinbloom,inShinagawanearthesouthernedgeof thecity.GotenyamahadbeenfortifiedaspartofthedefensesofTokyoBayin

1853,butwhenwemovedintoourweatherbeatenoldbuildingonacoldday

inJanuary1947,Gotenyamalookedanythingbutfortified;theevidenceof

defeatwasallaroundus.Wecouldseebombdamagewhereverwelooked.

Therewereleaksintheroofandweliterallyhadtoopenumbrellasoverour

deskssometimes.Butalthoughwewerefarfromthecenterofthecity,we

couldbemoreindependenthereandhadmoreroomthanatthedepartment

store.

InordertogettotheroomswhereTokyoTsushinKogyowaslocated,

youhadtoduckundersomeclotheslinesonwhichtheneighborssometimes

hadtheirchildren’sdiapersdryinginthebreeze.Whensomeofmyrelatives

cametoseeme,theyweresoshockedbytheshabbyconditionsthatthey

thoughtIhadbecomeananarchistandtheysaidsotomymother.Theycould

notunderstandhow,ifIwasnotaradical,Icouldchoosetoworkinaplace

likethatwhenIcouldhavebeeninNagoya,livingasbefittedmy“station”as

thesonofthepresidentofalong-establishedcompany.

II

Duringthesearchforalikelyproducttomake,itwasoftensuggestedto Ibukathatwemakearadioreceiver—therewasstillastrongdemandin Japanforradios,notjustshortwaveadapters—butIbukaadamantlyrefused. Hisreasoningwasthatthemajorcompanieswerelikelytohaveaveryfast recoveryfromthewarandwouldmakeuseoftheirowncomponentsintheir ownproductsfirstandsellpartstootherslater.Also,theywouldnaturally keeptheirlatesttechnologytothemselves,tryingtopreservetheirleadover theircompetitorsaslongaspossible.IbukaandIhadoftenspokenofthe conceptofournewcompanyasaninnovator,aclevercompanythatwould make new high technology products in ingenious ways. Merely building radioswasnotourideaofthewaytofulfilltheseideals. WetookourownunscientificsurveyofJapan’ssurvivinghouseholds. Wehadalreadysoldquiteafewshortwaveradioadapterstoenhancethe medium-waveradiosthatmanyJapanesehadcarefullypreservedthroughthe war,andnowwerealizedthattherewerealotofphonographsoutthereas well.Newmotorsandmagneticpickupswereimpossibletogetduringthe war,andsoitbecameobviousthattherewasamarketfortheseitemstobe usedtorepairandupgradetheoldwartimeandprewarphonographs.The new,popularAmericanswingandjazzmusicwasarrivingonrecords,and peoplewerehungryforit.TheAmericanshadbroughttheirmusicwiththem, andaprocesswasstartedduringtheOccupationofinformingJapanaboutthe UnitedStatesandhowtheAmericanpeoplelived.TheOccupationauthorities hadtakenovercontrolofthebroadcastingstationsandtheEnglishlanguage couldnowbetaughtintheschoolsagainandusedontheairafterbeing bannedduringthewaryears.Ideasofdemocracyandindividualfreedomand egalitarianismwerebeingplantedonveryfertilesoilaftersomanyyearsof thoughtcontrolandmilitarydictatorship. DuringtheOccupation,everythingwasinshortsupplyandtheblack marketwastheplaceeveryonehadtoshop.Ournewcompany—weformally incorporated Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo on May 7, 1946—managed to buy a small,very-much-usedDatsuntruckfortheequivalentofaboutonehundred dollars.Asitturnedout,IbukaandI,thetwotopofficersofthecompany, weretheonlymemberswhohaddriver’slicenses,sowehadtomakethe deliveriesandgooutanddotheshoppingandbringsuppliesandmaterialsto thefactory.Wewoulddoour“executive”work,helploadthedeliverygoods inthetruck,crankittogetitstarted,andmakethedeliveriesorrunthe

errands. The street scene in Tokyo was chaotic, noisy, smoky, and smelly. Gasolinewasveryscarceandexpensive,whenyoucouldfindit.Manyofthe cars,trucks,andbuseshadbeenmodifiedtorunonwasteoil,charcoal,or othersolidsthatwereburnable,includinggarbageandcoaldust.Theywere stillrunningafterthewar.Evenanoccasionaldonkeycartappearedinthe streets.Wealwaysmanagedtogetgasolineforourtruckthroughlegitimate and other means. But so many American soldiers were selling gasoline, siphoningitoutoftheirjeepsandtrucksandsomeactuallysellingitbythe barrel,thatthemilitaryauthoritiestriedtostopitbyputtingareddyeinit. Randomroadblocksweresetup.ThepolicewouldstopthetrafficandanMP wouldputalongglasstubeintoyourgastank,stopperitwithhisfinger,pull itout,andcheckthecolor.Ifitwasredyouhadalotofexplainingtodo.But they soon began to catch fewer and fewer people because some clever Japanesehaddiscoveredthatyoucouldfilteroutthepinkcolorwithcharcoal andwasdoingathrivingbusiness“legitimizing”blackmarketgasoline. We knew that the big electric companies were not interested in the replacementpartsbusiness;theyweremakingandsellingnewphonographs. Andwhilethepartsbusinesswascertainlynottheidealistic,hightechnology endeavorwewereworkingtoward,Ibukaknewwhathewasdoing.Thenew motorsandpickupswemadewereasgoodaspeoplecouldgetinthosedays, and they kept the company afloat financially. Money was very tight, and stringentcontrolsagainstinflationcreatedproblemsforus,becausetheyfroze alargepartofthemoneyincirculation.Theauthoritiesputlimitsonhow muchmoneyanindividualoracompanycouldwithdrawfromthebank.This wastheoriginalreasonforputtingeverybodytoworkmakingheatingpads— tosellsomethingsdirectlytothepublictoraisecash. ButIbukahadhismindsetonproducingacompletelynewconsumer product—notjustanupgradingofwhathadbeenontheprewarmarket,but somethingentirelynewforJapan,awirerecorder.Wehadseenexamplesof wirerecordersmadeinGermany,andresearchwasbeingdoneonspecial steelwireforthesemachinesatTohokuUniversityinnorthernJapan.The researchers had already developed excellent new technology for magnetic steelintheirlaboratories. Ibuka learned that Sumitomo Metals Corporation was capable of producingthekindofsteelwireneeded,aspecialwirewithadiameterof exactlyone-tenthofamillimeter,somethingverydifficulttomake.Ibuka madeatriptoOsakatotalkwithSumitomoaboutproducingwireforthenew recorder,butthecompanywasnotinterestedinhisorder.Herepresenteda small,newcompanyaskingforaveryhigh-techproductthatwasexpensive

toproduceandforwhichtherewouldbeonlyonecustomer.Othercompanies thathadthecapabilitytomakethewirehadthesamereaction.Butasit sometimeshappens,therefusalturnedouttobeablessingindisguise.We weren’tabletomakeawirerecorder,whichwasadisappointment.Butthe brightsidewasthattherewasarecorderinourfuture,amuchbetterproduct, thetaperecorder,althoughwedidn’tknowitatthetime. TheOccupationforceshadtakenovertheJapanBroadcastingCompany, NHK,Japan’sversionoftheBBC,andtheyneedednewtechnicalequipment such as mixing units and other studio and broadcasting equipment, with whichIbukawasfamiliar.Ibukasubmittedabidonacontracttobuildalarge broadcast mixing unit for NHK, and the American officer in charge, a brigadiergeneral,camearoundtoourshackinGo-tenyamatolookoverthis unknown factory and its management and to discuss the specifications. Ibuka’sfriendShigeoShimawasinchargeofengineeringreconstructionof war damage at NHK, and Shima had recommended that Ibuka get the contract.Shimacamewiththegeneralonhisinspectiontrip,butwhenthe generalsawourshophewastakenabackbyhowprimitiveitwas,andhe shook his head. He could not understand why the man from NHK was recommending this tiny, unknown company working in such primitive conditions.Ibuka’sfriendcouldonlyaskthegeneraltotrusthisjudgment, andtheofficerwasfinallypersuadedtogoalongwiththerecommendation, buthewassoconcernedaboutourterriblebuildingthatherecommendedwe keepbucketsofsandandwateraroundtheplaceincaseoffire. When the equipment was delivered to the NHK headquarters, then locatedonlyaboutahalfmilefromGeneralMacArthur’sheadquartersin downtownTokyo,everyonemarveledatitsquality,especiallytheskeptical officer,whowasstillpuzzledbythefactthatasmall,newcompanyina makeshiftfactorycouldproducesuchahigh-technologyproduct.Therewere congratulationsandsmilesallaround,andthegeneralwasverypleased.I thinkwewereabletoobtainfurtherjobsfromtheAmericanForcesRadio ServiceandtheFarEastAirForcebecauseofthebreakthroughintrustwe madeonthatfirstjobbydemonstratingourquality. While Ibuka was at NHK delivering the mixing unit and accepting congratulations,hespottedanAmerican-madeWilcox-Gaytaperecorderin oneoftheoffices,thefirsttaperecorderhehadlaideyeson.Afterabrief examinationofit,hemadeadecision.Thewirerecorderhehadbeentryingto buildcouldn’tmatchthistaperecorder.Thereweresomeobviousdrawbacks toawirerecorder,wonderfulastheconceptwas.Foronething,inorderto getdecentfidelity,thewirehadtopassovertherecordingandplaybackheads ataveryfastspeed,whichmeantyouhadtohavealotofwireonlarge

spools.Youcouldonlystorealimitedamountofwireonthespools—orelse youhadtohavetoo-thinwire,orenormousspools.Worse,itwasnotpossible toeditthewirerecordingsimply.Whateveryourecordedonithadtobe perfect. If you wanted to change a part of something that was already recordedonthewire,youwouldhavetorerecorditinperfectsynchronization withwhatwasalreadyonthewire,somethingverydifficulttodo. Butitwasobviousfromjustaglanceatthenewmachinethattapewas mucheasiertoworkwith.Unlikethewire,tapecouldbesplicedeasilyand simply,sothatchangescouldberecordedseparatelyandinsertedwherever theywereneeded.Youcouldgetalotoftapeonareasonablysmallspool. Bestofall,thefidelityofthetaperecordingswasbetterthanwirerecorders could produce. We had read something about tape recording, which was inventedinGermany.Infact,duringthewartheGermanswereusingtapefor runningmanyoftheirpropagandaprograms—theywentonforhoursand hours.AmpexintheUnitedStateswasamongtheearliestcompaniesinthe hardwareendofthisnewbusinessrightafterthewar,andthemajortape producerwasMinnesotaMiningandManufacturingCompany,nowcalled 3M Company. The technology was growing and improving. This kind of machine,notawirerecorder,waswhatIbukanowwantedourcompanyto produce. By this time, Ibuka had talked about so many different products as possibilitiesthathiscolleagues,andespeciallytheaccountant,weregetting weary, and Ibuka knew he had a growing credibility problem. He was determinedtobuildanewtaperecorderforJapan,andhehadtoconvincehis colleaguesandourtightfistedcomptrollerthatthiswasaviableidea.Ibuka talkedtotheAmericanofficeratNHKandaskedpermissiontoborrowthe taperecorderforjustalittlewhiletoshowtohisfellowworkers.Theofficer wasreluctantbutfinallyagreedtobringthetaperecordertothecompany himselftodemonstrateit.Everybodycrowdedaroundforthedemonstration, andwhenitwasovereverybodywasconvincedthatthiswouldbeagood project for the company to work on. Everybody, that is, except our accountant,JunichiHasegawa,amanmyfatherhadsenttousfromthefamily businesstohelpuskeepourlittlecompanyfinanciallysound. Hasegawa and Shuzaburo Tachikawa, our company’s general affairs manager,hadbothcastacoldandcriticaleyeoneverythingweweredoing andthoughtthisnewideawouldbetooexpensiveandheldlittlepromise. TheydidnotthinkweshouldallocatemoneytodoR&Dontheproject.Ibuka and I were so excited by the new concept of the tape recorder and so convinceditwasrightforusthatwedecidedtoganguponHasegawaand makehimseethelight.Weinvitedhimtodinneratablackmarketrestaurant,

where we had a magnificent feast complete with beer, which was a rare commoditythen.Weateanddranklongintothenight.Wetoldhimallabout thevirtuesofthetaperecorderandhowitwouldrevolutionizeanindustry andhowwecouldgetinonthisnewfieldearly,thatwecouldbeatallthe slow-movingcompetitionofthegiantcompaniesifwestartedimmediately, butthatwewouldhavetobecleverandfastonourfeet.Wemusthavedonea terrificsellingjobonhimbecauseheapprovedourprojectonafullstomach rightthenandthereandwewereonourway. Orsowethought.Wesoonrealizedthatthemaintroublewehadwas that we didn’t know anything about how to make the crucial part of the system,therecordingtape.Tapewastheheartofthenewprojectandthetape wasamysterytous.Fromourearlyworkonwirerecorders,wewerepretty confidentaboutbuildingthemechanicalandelectroniccomponentsforatape recorder.Butthetapeitselfwasadifferentproblem.NooneinJapanhadany experiencewithmagneticrecordingtape,andtherewerenoimportsavailable tous,soweknewwewouldhavetomakeourowntape.Ourstrategyfrom thebeginningwasnotonlytobuildamachine,butalsotomakeandsellthe recordingtape,becauseweknewtherewouldbeacontinuingmarketfortape fromourcustomerswhoboughtrecorders.Ifwesoldtaperecordersandnot tape,wewouldbehandinggoodbusinesstooureventualcompetitors. Our first and most difficult problem was to get or produce the base material.Wehadnoplastic.Wehadonlycellophane,whichweknewwas inadequate,butwehadtousewhatwasonhand.IbukaandIandabrilliant youngengineer,NobutoshiKihara,workedasateam,cuttingcellophaneinto long quarter-inch-wide strips and coating it with various experimental materials.Itwassoonobvioustousthatthiswouldnotworkbecauseeventhe bestandstrongestgradeofcellophanecouldonlytakeoneortwopasses throughtherecordingmechanismbeforeitwasstretchedhopelesslyoutof shape,whichdistortedthesound.Wehiredchemiststofigureouthowto toughencellophane,butthatdidn’tworkeither.Wetriedthickercellophane. Noluck.Finally,Iaskedacousinofmine,GoroKodera,whoworkedfor HonshuPaperCompany,ifhethoughtitwouldbepossibletoproduceavery strong,verythin,andverysmoothkraftpaperthatwemightbeabletouseas abaseforourtape.Hesaidhethoughtitwasworthatry,andinalittlewhile hesupplieduswithsomegoodqualitypaperandwewenttoworkwithour razorbladesagain. Finding good magnetic material to coat our tape with was almost impossibleinthattimeofshortages.Itseemsincredibleeventomenow,but Ibuka,Kihara,andImadethosefirsttapesbyhand.Wewouldcutenough tapeforasmallreelandthenwewouldlayoutthelongstriponthefloorof

ourlaboratory.Ourfirstattemptstogetamagneticmaterialwerefailures;the materialwasnotrightbecausethemagnetswegroundintopowderweretoo powerful.Weneededonlyaweakmagneticmaterialforourtape.Kihara’s researchledhimtooxalicferrite,whichbecomesferricoxidewhenburned. That was it! But where to get it? I grabbed Kihara and we went to the pharmaceuticalwholesalers’districtofTokyo,andthere,sureenough,we foundtheonlystorethathandledthestuff.Weboughttwobottlesofitand broughtitbacktothelab.Wehadnoelectricfurnacetoheatthechemical,so weborrowedafryingpanand,stirringthestuffwithawoodenspoon,we cookedituntilitturnedbrownandblack;thebrownstuffwasferricoxideand theblackwasferroustetraoxide.Kiharahadtheknackforcheckingthecolor ofthepowderandremovingitfromthefryingpanatjusttherightcolor.We mixedthiswithaclearJapaneselacquertogetjusttherightconsistencyso wecouldairbrushitontothestrip.Theairbrushtechniquedidn’twork,sowe triedeverythingwecouldthinkofandendeduppaintingthecoatingonby handwithfinebrushesmadeofthesoftbristlesfromaraccoon’sbelly.Toour surprise,wefoundthisgaveusthebestresults. Thosefirstpapertapeswereterrible,ofcourse.Ibukasaidthequality wassobadyoucouldhardlyhearanyonesay“moshi-moshi,”theJapanese telephonegreeting.Butwewereproudofit.Atthattimewehadforty-five peopleworkingforus,andoverathirdofthemwerecollegegraduates.We weretop-heavywithbrains,butwecouldn’tmakethehigh-qualityproduct wewantedtowithoutplasticforourtape.Whenwewereabletogetplastic, wedevelopedourowntechnologyforusingit.Wehadthetechnologyready andwereonthemarketwithtapeearlyon.(Ibukawassodeterminedtoget intothetapefieldthatweputalotofextraeffortintoit,andsomeyearslater,

inNovember1965,hegothissatisfaction—aswealldid—whenIBMchose

ourmagneticrecordingtapefordatastorageinitscomputers.Itwasthrilling forallofuswhenourcompanybegantoprovidethetechnologyformaking magnetictapetoIBMandsetupthemachineryandinstalledthetechnicians attheIBMfacilityinBoulder,Colorado.) Inthoseearlydays,thetapewasthekeytothefutureofourbusiness.As forthehardware,wehadthetaperecordermechanismperfectedtothestate

oftheart.Themachineweproducedin1950wasbulkyandheavy,butit

workedbeautifully,inourestimation,andIwasabsolutelyconvincedthat afterallthisworkwewerefinallyontheroadtogreatsuccess. When our machine was ready for sale, we were confident that once customerssawitandhearditwewouldbeswampedwithorders. Wewereinforarudeawakening.ThetaperecorderwassonewtoJapan thatalmostnooneknewwhatataperecorderwas,andmostofthepeople

whodidknowcouldnotseewhytheyshouldbuyone.Itwasnotsomething

peoplefelttheyneeded.Wecouldnotsellit.

III

Lookingbackonitfromtoday’svantagepoint,Icanseeprettyclearly whatsomeofourotherproblemswere.Thatfirstbigboxymachineweighed thirty-five kilos (about seventy-five pounds) and we put a price of one hundredandseventythousandyenonit.ThatwasalotofmoneyinJapan duringtheOccupationperiod,whenthenewyenwasofficiallyexchangedat threehundredandsixtytotheU.S.dollar.FewindividualsinJapanhadthat muchmoneytospendonsomethingtheydidn’tknowtheyneeded.(Inthose days,auniversitygraduateworkinginindustryearnedlessthantenthousand yenamonth.)Wemadefiftyoftheserecordersforamarketthatdidn’tseem toexist.NeitherIbukanorIhadhadanyrealtrainingintheconsumerendof thingsoranyrealexperienceinmakingconsumerproductsorsellingthem. Ibukahadmadeonlyproductsforthegovernmentorforbroadcasting,except forhisearlyshortwaveadaptersandphonographreplacementparts.Ihad nevermadeanythingforsaletoanyone.AndalthoughIhadhadalotof managementtrainingasaboyfrommyfather,whichIcouldputtouseinthe navy, I had no experience in merchandising or salesmanship. It never occurredtoIbukaormethattherewasanyneedforthis.Ibukabelieved stronglythatallwehadtodowasmakegoodproductsandtheorderswould come.SodidI.Webothhadalessontolearn. Wewereengineersandwehadabigdreamofsuccess.Wethoughtthat in making a unique product, we would surely make a fortune. I was determined to make this tape recorder a success; when it was ready I demonstratediteveryday,whereverIcouldfindanaudience.Itookitto businesses,totheuniversities.Iloadeditintothetruckandtookittofriends and recorded their voices talking and singing, every day. I was like an entertainer,settingupthismachineandrecordingpeople’svoicesandplaying them back to their delight and surprise. Everybody liked it, but nobody wantedtobuyit.Theyallsaid,withvariations,“Thisisfun,butthemachine istooexpensiveforatoy.” Ithenrealizedthathavinguniquetechnologyandbeingabletomake uniqueproductsarenotenoughtokeepabusinessgoing.Youhavetosellthe products,andtodothatyouhavetoshowthepotentialbuyertherealvalueof whatyouareselling.IwasstruckwiththerealizationthatIwasgoingtohave tobethemerchandiserofoursmallcompany.Wewerefortunateinhavinga geniuslikeIbukawhocouldconcentratetotallyoninnovativeproductdesign andproductionwhileIlearnedthemerchandisingendofthebusiness.

Afortunatechanceincidenthelpedmetoseethelight.Iwasstilltrying tofigureoutwhatweweredoingwrongintrying,butfailing,tosellourtape recorders,whenIhappenedtostrollbyanantiqueshopnotfarfrommyhome inTokyo.IhadnorealinterestinantiquesandIdidn’tthenappreciatetheir value.AsIstoodtherelookingattheseoldartobjectsandmarvelingatthe highpricesmarkedonthem.Inoticedacustomerbuyinganoldvase.Without hesitation,hetookouthiswalletandhandedoveralargenumberofbillsto theantiquesdealer.Thepricewashigherthanwewereaskingforourtape recorder!Why,Iwondered,wouldsomeonepaysomuchmoneyforanold objectthathadnopracticalvalue,whileanewandimportantdevicesuchas ourtaperecordercouldattractnocustomers.Itseemedobvioustomethatthe valueofthetaperecorderwasfargreaterthanthatofanantiquebecauseofits abilitytoenhancethelivesofthemanypeoplewhomightcomeincontact withit.Fewpeoplecouldappreciatethefinelinesofthevase,andsomething thatexpensivecouldhardlybehandledbymanypeople,forfearofbreaking it. One tape recorder, on the other hand, could serve hundreds, or even thousandsofpeople.Itcouldentertainthem,amusethem,educatethem,help themimprovethemselves.Tometherewasnocontest—thetaperecorderwas thebetterbargain—butIrealizedthatthevasehadperceivedvaluetothat collectorofantiques,andhehadhisownvalidreasonsforinvestingthat muchmoneyinsuchanobject.Someofmyancestorshaddonethesame,asI woulddolater.Butatthatmoment,Iknewthattosellourrecorderwewould havetoidentifythepeopleandinstitutionsthatwouldbelikelytorecognize valueinourproduct. Wenoted,orratherTamonMaedadid,thatduringthatearlypostwar periodtherewasanacuteshortageofstenographersbecausesomanypeople hadbeenpushedoutofschoolandintowarwork.Untilthatshortagecouldbe corrected,thecourtsofJapanweretryingtocopewithasmall,overworked corps of court stenographers. With Maeda’s help, we were able to demonstrateourmachinefortheJapanSupremeCourt,andwesoldtwenty machinesalmostinstantly!Thosepeoplehadnodifficultyrealizinghowthey couldputourdevicetopracticaluse;theysawthevalueinthetaperecorder immediately;tothemitwasnotoy. Itseemedtomealogicalsteptogofromthecourtsintotheschoolsof Japan.Ibukapointedouttousinoneofthemanymeetingswehadonthe subjectofsalesthatJapaneseeducationhadtraditionallybeencenteredon reading,writing,andabacusskills.ButwhentheAmericanscameattheend ofthewar,theyfeltthatverbalcommunicationsandaudio/visualtraining were very important, and the Japanese Education Ministry followed their lead. But there was little media available in Japan, only some sixteen-

millimeterfilmswithEnglishlanguagesoundtracks,whichwereofverylittle usebecauseEnglishhadbeenbannedanditsinstructionprohibitedduringthe yearsofwar. Asaconsequencefew,ifany, instructorshadthelanguage facilitytounderstandtheaudioportionofthosefilms.Andofcoursenoneof the students did. The idea of using tape recorders to play prerecorded languagetapesandthentousethemforpracticewasacceptedquickly,and theideasoonspreadtoschoolsallacrossthecountry.Everyprefecture,or state,inJapanhadsetupafilmcenter,butallthematerialswereinEnglish. WayshadtobefoundtodotheinstructioninJapanese.Thetaperecorderwas thelogicalmedium. Withthiskindofinstructiongoingonattheprefecturallevel,wefeltthat sooneveryschoolwouldneedandwantataperecorder.Ibukadiscoveredthat

theschoolshadabudgetforthiskindofequipment,sowetriedtodesigna smaller unit just for schools that we could price within the reach of an individualschool.Ourfirstsuccesswasamedium-sizedmachine,biggerthan anattachecasebutsmallerthanasmallsuitcase.WecalledittheH-type recorder.Itwassimple—onlyonetapespeedofsevenandahalfinchesper

second—andsturdy.Asaweddingpresentin1951,thestaffgavemybride

YoshikoandmethefirstproductionmodelofthisrecorderwecalledtheH-

type.

Webegantomakeportableunitsofmoreattractivedesignandtogain confidence.Ourcompanywasbeginningtoexpandandwemovedintoan adjacentandmoresubstantialbuildingonGotenyama.Newideaswerefinally beingaccepted,perhapssomeofthemtooeagerly,butJapanwasbuildingits newsociety—itwasnotrebuildingtheoldone. Aswematured,weweresoonembroiledinanewkindofwarthattaught mealotabouttheinternationalbusinessweweretodevelop.Inordertogeta high-qualityrecordedsignalontothetapeofourrecorders,wehadbeenusing Dr.KenzoNagai’s patentedhigh-frequencyACBiassystem.This system demagnetized the tape before it reached the recording head, applied an alternatingcurrenttotherecordingsignal,andproducedarecordingwith much less noise and distortion than earlier, direct current (DC) biased systems.Weweresodedicatedtoafutureinrecordingtechnologythatwe wantedtobuythepatent,whichwasthenownedbyAnritsuElectric,then,as now,asubsidiaryofNipponElectricCompany,knownasNEC.Wecouldn’t

affordtobuy100percentofthepatent,butweboughthalfofitin1949,

sharingtheownershipwithNEC.Dr.NagaihadregisteredthepatentinJapan, andwelearnedlaterthathehadalsoappliedforapatentintheUnitedStates just before the war began, in December 1941—and had sent data on his inventiontotheLibraryofCongressandotherplacesearlierthatyear.His

patentwasneverregisteredintheUnitedStates,Iguessbecausethetiming couldn’thavebeenworse,buthisresearchwasavailabletointerestedparties there. Whenweboughtthepatent,wesentoutletterstotape-recordermakers allovertheworld,informingthemthatwehadthepatentontheACBias systemandofferingtolicenseit.Wealsotoldthemthatiftheywantedtosell taperecordersusingthissysteminjapan,theywouldhavetohavealicense fromus.Wegotbacklettersfromseveralcompaniessayingtheyhadno intentionofsellingtaperecordersinJapanandthereforedidn’tseeanypoint inbuyingalicensefromus.Weknewthesystemwasbeingusedabroadby makerswhohadnotlicensedit,butwesawnowaytodoanythingaboutit. OnedayanofficerfromthepatentdepartmentatGHQcalledIbukaandsaid hewantedtoseehim.Inthosedays,ifyouwerecalledbyGHQyouhadto worryaboutthepossibilityofgoingtoprisonforsomeinfractionyoumight notknowaboutorsomethingthathadhappenedinthepast.Ibukawasso worriedheevencalledhiswifeandtoldherofthesummonsjusttoprepare her.HetookMaedawithhimasinterpreter.Theofficerwantedtoknowall aboutourclaimtothepatent.Ibukahadhadtheforesighttobringwithhim allthepapershecouldputtogetherthatpertainedtoourpatentpurchase.As theofficerwentthroughthepapers,thetensionmounted,andwhenhehad examinedeverythinghesatbackandconfirmedwithasmilethatthepatent seemedtobecomplete.Thereweregrinsofreliefallaround,andtheofficer endedithappilybyservingcoffee. SoonafterthatwelearnedthatBalcomTradingCompanyofTokyowas importingtaperecordersfromtheUnitedStates,andwesentthemourletter, warning them about our license on the recording system used in those machines.Theyignoredourletter,andsoweconsideredgoingtocourtforan injunctionagainstthetradingcompany.Itwasanimportantdecisionforus becauseintheJapanesecourtsaplaintiffinacivilsuitmustpayalargeand nonrefundablefilingfeebasedontheamountofmoneyforwhichheissuing. Thisisonewayofdiscouragingfrivolouslawsuits.Ifwedecidedtogoahead withalawsuit,wewouldhavetomakeabiginvestmentinit.Butwefeltbold enoughandsureenoughofourcasetofile.Besides,ourpatentnowhadthe approvaloftheOccupation,inamannerofspeaking. Thecourtheardourpleaandgrantedtheinjunction.Wemarcheddown tothecustomswarehousewiththeproperofficialsandboldlyputacourtseal onthedoor,prohibitingBalcomfrommovingtheirtaperecordersuntilthe casewasaired.Thelocalnewspapersthoughtitwasafinestoryanditmade headlines.ThepaperssawitasarareshowofJapaneseindependence,asmall JapanesecompanydefiantlychallengingbigAmericanmanufacturers.The

people at Balcom were furious, of course, because they reported our contention to the manufacturer in the States, and the maker of the tape recorderssaidtheyhadlicensedtheirsystemfromArmourResearch,which haditsownpatentontheACBiassystem. EverybodygotangryandArmoursenttheirlawyer,DonaldSimpson,to Japan.ItwasthefirsttimeIhadevermetanAmericanlawyerandIwasquite impressedwithhowtoughacompetitorhewas.Butwewereabletoprove thatanEnglish-languageversionofDr.Nagai’sworkhadbeenavailableto thepublicintheUnitedStatesbeforetheArmourpatentwasgranted.IfDr. Nagai’stechniquecouldbeconsideredgeneralknowledge,thenitwouldseem toputtheACBiassystemintheU.S.intothepublicdomainandperhaps makeitnolongerpatentworthy.IthreatenedtogototheU.S.andinvalidate theArmourpatent.ActuallyIdidn’tknowhowIwouldgoaboutdoingthat, but it must have seemed possible to them because when our case was presented they recognized the validity of Dr. Nagai’s patent. The dispute

draggedonforthreeyears,butourvictoryinMarch1954meantthatalltape

recordersusingtheACBiassystemsoldinJapan—evenabigAmpexunit soldtoabroadcastingstation—wouldproducearoyaltyforus. IagreedinthesettlementthatwewouldnotattackArmour.Wegotthe righttousetheArmourpatentintheU.S.,andthereforewecouldexportto the United States without paying a license fee. Furthermore, we could sublicensethetechnologytootherJapanesemakers,andwhentheywantedto exporttotheU.S.,wewouldgethalfthelicensefee.Weheldtheserightsfor manyyears.ItwasmyfirstnegotiationwiththeAmericans,anditendedso wellIbegantofeelnewencouragementaboutthefuture.Oh,yes,Ialsolater hiredDonaldSimpsontoworkforus.

IV

TheideaofaninternationalmarketforTokyoTsushinKogyohadbeen onourmindsfromearlyon,anditwasinevitablethatIbukaandIwouldhave

totravel.In1952thetaperecorderbusinesswasverygood,andIbukathought

hewantedtogototheUnitedStatestoseewhatuseswerebeingmadeofthe taperecorderandtolearnmoreaboutthemanufactureoftapeitself.Hespoke virtuallynoEnglish,buthemanagedtogetaroundandobservethings.He cameawaydisappointedbecause,whilehefoundsomelanguagelaboratories usingtaperecorders,hesawthatweweremakingwideruseoftheminour schoolsthantheywereintheU.S.AnotherdisappointmentforIbukawasthat noneofthetapemanufacturerswouldallowvisitorsintotheirplants.Butthe

tripturnedouttobeofgreatbenefittous.In1948,wehadbothreadaboutthe

work of William Shockley and others at Bell Laboratories in the “Bell LaboratoryRecord,”andwehadbeencuriousabouttheirdiscoveriesever since.ThatyearsmallarticlesbegantoappearintheAmericanpressand elsewhereaboutthedeviceinventedatBellLabscalledthetransistor,andon Ibuka’striphefirstlearnedthatalicenseforthismarvelousgadgetmight soonbeavailable.Hebegantomakeplans. Thissolid-statedevicewassomethingcompletelynewtoourexperience, andlearningaboutitanddecidingwhatwecoulddowithitwasajobfor morethananelectronicsengineerortwo.Duringonesleeplessnightina noisyroominNewYork’soldTaftHotelnearTimesSquare,itoccurredto Ibukathatourcompanynowhadaboutonehundredandtwentyemployees, about a third of them graduate engineers— electronic, metallurgical, chemical,mechanical—anddevelopingthetransistorforourusewouldbea jobthatwouldchallengetheskillsofallofthem.Hedidn’tknowthenjust whatwewouldmakewiththetransistorifwegotthetechnology,buthewas excitedbythetechnologicalbreakthroughitrepresented.Ibukatriedtogetan interviewwiththeWesternElectricpatentlicensemanagerthenextday,as WesternElectricwasthepatentholderforBellLabs,butwastoldtheman wastoobusytoseehim,soheaskedafriendofhis,ShidoYamada,wholived inNewYorkandhadworkedforaJapanesetradingcompany,tomakesome inquiries.ThenIbukawenthome. Imustmakeitclearthatthetransistorbeingmadeatthattimewasn’t somethingthatwecouldlicenseandproduceanduserightofftheshelf.This miraculousdevicewasabreakthroughinelectronictechnology,butitcould only handle audio frequencies. In fact, when I finally signed the patent

agreementayearlater,thepeopleatWesternElectrictoldmethatifwe wantedtousethetransistorinconsumeritems,thehearingaidwastheonly product we should expect to make with it. In those days there were no transistorsmadeforuseinradios.Ofcoursewewerenotinterestedinthe hearingaidmarket,whichisverylimited.Wewantedtomakesomethingthat couldbeusedbyeverybody,andwehadplanstoputourresearchscientists andtechnicianstoworkdevelopingourownhigh-frequencytransistorforuse inradios. We started to consider what kind of radio we could make with transistors.Atthattime,theworldwidetrendintheradiofieldwastowarda newconcept.Thenewphrase,“highfidelity,”orhi-fi,wassoontobein vogue. People would be listening for purity of sound, for realistic reproduction,oratleastforsonicallyexcitingreproduction.Someearlyhi-fi fanswerealreadybuyingrecordsoflocomotivenoises,airplanestakingoff, horsesgalloping,policesirens,oldweaponsbeingfired,andallkindsofother soundeffectstoshowofftheirnewsystems.Speakersweregettingbigger, soundwasgettingbigger,andthewords“woofer,”“tweeter,”“distortion,” and“feedback”wereenteringthelanguage.Amplifiersusingmanyvacuum tubeswerethoughttogivethepurestsound.Weenvisionedthetransistor replacing the bulky, hot, and unreliable vacuum tube. It would give us a chancenotonlytominiaturizeelectronicproductsbutalsotolowerthepower consumption.Ifwecoulddeviseatransistorthatcoulddeliverahighenough frequency,wecouldmakeaverysmallradiopoweredbybatteries.Wehoped togetrealisticsoundusingaminimumofpower. MiniaturizationandcompactnesshavealwaysappealedtotheJapanese. Ourboxes have been made to nest; ourfans fold; our art rolls into neat scrolls;screensthatcanartisticallydepictanentirecitycanbefoldedand tuckedneatlyaway,orsetuptodelight,entertain,andeducate,ormerelyto dividearoom.Andwesetasourgoalaradiosmallenoughtofitintoashirt pocket.Notjustportable,Isaid,but“pocket-able.”EvenbeforethewarRCA madeamedium-sizeportableusingtiny“peanut”vacuumtubes,buthalfthe spacewastakenupbyanexpensivebattery,whichplayedforonlyaboutfour hours.Transistorsmightbeabletosolvethatpowerandsizeproblem. Wewerealleagertogettoworkonthetransistor,andwhenwordcame thatitwouldbepossibletolicensethetechnology,IwenttoNewYorkto

finalizethedealin1953.Ialsowantedtoseewhattheworldwaslikeand

whereournewcompanycouldfitin,soIplannedtovisitEuropeaftermy

NewYorkbusinesswasconcluded.IwasexcitedwhenIclimbedaboardthe

StratocruiseratTokyo’sHanedaAirport,asmallsuitcaseinonehandanda

bagslungovermyshoulder.

ImustadmitnowthatIwasinitiallydiscouragedbytheveryscaleofthe UnitedStates.Everythingwassobig,thedistancesweresogreat,theopen spacessovast,theregionssodifferent.Ithoughtitwouldbeimpossibleto sellourproductshere.Theplacejustoverwhelmedme.Theeconomywas booming,andthecountryseemedtohaveeverything. WhenImailedIbukathelicenseagreementwithWesternElectric,Ihad asurgeofconfidence.ButinJapanexchangecontrolwasverystrongatthe time,andweneededapprovalfromtheMinistryofInternationalTradeand Industry (MITI) to remit the initial transistor license fee of twenty-five thousanddollarsoutofthecountry.Thetransistorwassonew,andforeign currencywassoscarceinJapan,whichwasjustthenbeginningtoaccelerate itsrecoveryfromthewar,thatthebureaucratsatMITIcouldnotseetheuse forsuchadeviceandwerenoteagertograntpermission.Besides,MITI thoughtthatsuchasmallcompanyasTotsuko(aswewereknown)couldnot possibly undertake the enormous task of dealing with brand-new technologies.Infact,theywereadamantagainstitatfirst.Ibukawaseloquent onthepossibleusesofthislittle-knowndevice,butittookhimsixmonthsto convince the bureaucrats. MITI has not been the great benefactor of the Japaneseelectronicsindustrythatsomecriticsseemtothinkithas. While MITI was considering our request, I was traveling. I flew to Europe,whereIvisitedmanycompaniesandfactoriesandbegantofeela little better about the future of our company and of Japan. I visited Volkswagen,Mercedes,andSiemens,andmanysmallercompanies,someof which have disappeared in the years since then. And of course in the electronicsfieldIwantedtovisitPhilipsinHolland,anelectronicscompany thatwasfamousworldwide.ItwasmyvisittoPhilipsthatgavemecourage andanewinsight. IwasabitdepressedwhenIleftGermany.Conditionswereimproving veryrapidlytheredespitethedevastationGermanyhadalsosufferedinthe war,anditmadeJapan’spostwarprogressseemslow.OnedayIorderedsome icecreaminarestaurantonKoenigs-strasseinDusseldorf,andthewaiter serveditwithaminiaturepaperparasolstuckintoitasadecoration.“Thisis from your country,” he said, smiling and, I suppose, meaning it as a compliment. That was the extent of his knowledge of Japan and its capabilities,Ithought,andmaybehewastypical.Whatalongwaywehadto go.

ItookthetrainfromDusseldorftoEindhoven,andwhenIcrossedthe borderfromGermanytoHollandIfoundagreatdifference.Germany,evenso soon after the war, was becoming highly mechanized—Volkswagen was alreadyproducingsevenhundredcarsaday—andeverybodyseemedtobe

rebuilding and producing goods and new products very rapidly. But in Hollandmanypeoplewereridingbicycles.Thiswasapurelyagricultural country and a small one at that. You could see old-fashioned windmills everywhere,justasinoldDutchlandscapepaintings.Everythingseemedso quaint.WhenIfinallyarrivedatEindhoven,Iwassurprisedtoseewhata hugecompanyPhilipswas,althoughIknewPhilipswasverysuccessfulwith theirelectricalproductsinSoutheastAsiaandaroundtheworld.Idon’tknow whatIexpected,butitwasasurprisetofindthegreatN.V.Philipsenterprise ofmy imagination situated in a small town in a small corner of asmall agriculturalcountry. IstaredatthestatueofDr.Philipsinfrontofthetrainstation,andI thoughtofourownvillageofKosugayaandthesimilarbronzestatueofmy father’sgreat-grandfatherthatoncestoodthere.Iwanderedaroundthetown thinkingaboutDr.Philips,andwhenIvisitedthefactoryIwasallthemore takenwiththethoughtthatamanborninsuchasmall,out-of-the-wayplace inanagriculturalcountrycouldbuildsuchahuge,highlytechnicalcompany withafineworldwidereputation.Maybe,Ithought,wecoulddothesame thinginJapan.Itwasquiteadream,butIrememberwritingIbukaaletter fromHollandsaying,“IfPhilipscandoit,maybewecan,too.”Ispokevery littleEnglishinthosedays,andIjustvisitedthesefactoriesasatourist.Itook noVIPtour,andImetnoneoftheexecutivesofthecompanies.Irepresented anunknowncompanythen,butinthenextfourdecadesSonyandPhilips, two companies from small and seemingly isolated places, cooperated in designstandardsandinjointdevelopmentthathasledtomanytechnological advances,fromthestandardcompactaudiocassettetothenewestwatershed developmentinhomesoundreproduction,thecompactdisc(digitalaudio disc),wherewecombinedourstrengthinpulsecodemodulationresearch withPhilips’sfinelasertechnology.Therearestillotherjointdevelopmentsin theR&Dstage. SoonaftermyreturnfromEurope,thelaboriousworkofcreatinganew typeoftransistorbeganinourresearchlabbasedontheWesternElectric technologywehadlicensed.Wehadtoraisethepowerofthetransistor— otherwise,itcouldnotbeusedinaradio.Itwasverycomplicatedwork,and ourprojectteamwentthroughalongperiodofpainstakingtrialanderror, usingnew,oratleastdifferent,materialstogettheincreasedfrequencywe needed.Theyhadtorebuildandvirtuallyreinventthetransistor. TheearlyBellLabstransistorusedaslabofgermaniumtowhichindium was alloyed on each side. The germanium was the negative part and the indiumwasthepositive.Butwereasonedthatsincenegativeelectronsmove fasterthanpositiveones,wecouldgethigherfrequencybyreversingthe

polarity. That is, instead of a positive-negative-positive configuration, we wouldtrytoproduceanegative-positive-negativeone.Wedidn’tseemto havetherightmaterialstodothis.Indiumhadtoolowameltingpointforour purposes, for example, so we discarded the old materials and began experimentsusinggalliumandantimony,butthisdidn’tworkwelleither.At onepointeveryoneseemedstumped,andwethoughtofusingphosphorusto replace antimony, but someone pointed out during one of our many brainstorming sessions that Bell Labs had already tried this and it hadn’t worked. Theheadofourresearchlaboratories,MakotoKikuchi,aleadingexpert inthesemiconductorfield,recallsthatinthosedaysthelevelofresearchand engineeringintheUnitedStateswassohighthat“thevoiceofBellLabswas likethevoiceofGod.’’Nevertheless,oneofourteamkepttryingwhatis called the phosphorus doping method, using more and more and more phosphorusintheprocess,andfinallyhethoughthebegantoseeresults.He reportedhisfindingsatameeting,cautiously.Nobodyelsewasreportingany

luckatall,andtheheadofthetransistordevelopmentteam,mylatebrother-

in-law,KazuoIwama,wholaterbecomepresidentofourcompany,wasa scientist,andheknewthescientificmind.Hesaidtotheresearcher,“Well,if itlookstoyouasthoughyouaregettinginterestingresults,whydon’tyou justkeepworkingandseewhathappens?”Thephosphorusmethodeventually worked, and expanding on it we developed the high-frequency device at whichwewereaiming. AyearlaterwesurprisedtheBellLabspeoplewhohadinventedthe transistor by reporting how we made transistors by phosphorus doping, somethingthathadbeentriedanddiscarded,obviouslyprematurely,bythem. Anditwasalsoduringourtransistorresearchandparticularlytheheavyuse of phosphorus that our researcher, physicist Leo Esaki, and our staff discoveredanddescribedthediodetunnelingeffect,howsubatomicparticles can move in waves through a seemingly impenetrable barrier. Esaki was

awardedaNobelPrizeforthisworkin1973.

Nowthatwehadthetransistor,gettingandmakingtheminiatureparts foroursmallradiowasanotherchallenge.Wehadtoredesigneverything ourselves,oralmosteverything.Ibukasomehowmanagedtofindasmall company in Tokyo that made tiny tuning condensers, and we put that companytoworkproducingtheirproductsmainlyforouruse.Theproject movedslowlywhilewecontinuedourtaperecorderandotherbusiness.We hadtorefinethetransistor,learnhowtomass-produceit,anddesignitinto newproducts.

V

Ihaddecidedduringmyfirsttripabroadin1953thatourfullname—

TokyoTsushinKogyoKabushikiKaisha—wasnotagoodnametoputona product.Itwasatongue-twister.EveninJapan,weshorteneditsometimesto Totsuko,butwhenIwasintheUnitedStatesIlearnedthatnobodycould pronounce either name. The English-language translation—Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Company—was too clumsy. We tried Tokyo Teletech for a while, but then we learned there was an American companyusingthenameTeletech. Itseemedtomethatourcompanynamedidn’thaveachanceofbeing recognizedunlesswecameupwithsomethingingenious.Ialsothoughtthat whatevernewnamewecameupwithshouldservedoubleduty—thatis,it shouldbebothourcompanynameandourbrandname.Thatwaywewould nothavetopaydoubletheadvertisingcosttomakebothwellknown. Wetriedasymbolforawhile,aninvertedpyramidinsideathincircle withsmallwedgescutfromthesidesofthepyramidtogiveusastylized letter“T.”Butforourfirsttransistorsandforourfirsttransistorradio,we wanted a brand name that was special and clever and that people would remember. We decided our transistor radio would be the first consumer productavailabletothepublicwithournewbrandnameonit. I thought a lot about this when I was in the United States, where I noticedthatmanycompanieswereusingthreeletterlogotypes,suchasABC, NBC,RCA,andAT&T.Somecompanieswerealsousingjusttheirfullname astheirlogo.Thislookedlikesomethingnewtome.WhenIwasaboy,Ihad learnedtorecognizethenamesofimportedautomobilesbytheirsymbols,the three-pointedstarforMercedes,theblueovalwithFordinit,theCadillac crown,thePierceArrowarrow,theWingedVictoryofRolls-Royce.Later, manycarcompaniesbegantousetheirnamestogetherwiththesymbol,like Chevrolet,Ford,Buick,andothers,andIcouldrecognizetheirnamesevenif Icouldn’tactuallyreadthem.Iponderedeverypossibility. IbukaandItookalongtimedecidingonaname.Weagreedwedidn’t wantasymbol.Thenamewouldbethesymbol,andthereforeitshouldbe short,nomorethanfourorfivecharacters.AllJapanesecompanieshavea companybadgeandalapelpin,usuallyintheshapeofthecompanysymbol, butexceptforaprominentfew,suchasthethreediamondsofMitsubishi,for example,itwouldbeimpossibleforanoutsidertorecognizethem.Likethe automobilecompaniesthatbeganrelyinglessandlessonsymbolsandmore

and more on their names, we felt we really needed a name to carry our message. Every day we would write down possibilities and discuss them wheneverwehadthetime.Wewantedanewnamethatcouldberecognized anywhere in the world, one that could be pronounced the same in any language.Wemadedozensanddozensoftries.IbukaandIwentthrough dictionarieslookingforabrightname,andwecameacrosstheLatinword sonus,meaning“sound.”Theworditselfseemedtohavesoundinit.Our businesswasfullofsound,sowebegantozeroinonsonus.Atthattimein JapanborrowedEnglishslangandnicknameswerebecomingpopularand

somepeoplereferredtobrightyoungandcuteboysas“sonny,”or“sonny-

boys,”and,ofcourse,“sunny”and“sonny”bothhadanoptimisticandbright

soundsimilartotheLatinrootwithwhichwewereworking.Andwealso

thoughtofourselvesas“sonny-boys”inthosedays.Unfortunately,thesingle word “sonny” by itself would give us troubles in Japan because in the

romanizationofourlanguage,theword“sonny”wouldbepronounced“sohn-

nee,”whichmeanstolosemoney.Thatwasnowaytolaunchanewproduct.

Weponderedthisproblemforalittlewhileandtheanswerstruckmeoneday:

whynotjustdroponeofthelettersandmakeit“Sony”?Thatwasit! Thenewnamehadtheadvantageofnotmeaninganythingbut“Sony”in anylanguage;itwaseasytoremember,anditcarriedtheconnotationswe wanted.Furthermore,asIremindedIbuka,becauseitwaswritteninroman letters, people in many countries could think of it as being in their own language.Allovertheworldgovernmentswerespendingmoneytoteach peoplehowtoreadEnglishandusetheromanalphabet,includingJapan.And the more people who learned English and the roman alphabet, the more peoplewouldrecognizeourcompanyandproductname—atnocosttous. Wekeptouroldcorporatenameforsometimeafterwebeganputtingthe Sonylogotypeonourproducts.Forourfirstproductlogo,weusedatall,thin slopinginitialletterinsideasquarebox,butIsoonrealizedthatthebestway togetnamerecognitionwouldbetomakethenameaslegibleandsimpleas possible,sowemovedtothemoretraditionalandsimplecapitallettersthat remaintoday.Thenameitselfisthelogo.

Wemanagedtoproduceourfirsttransistorizedradioin1955andour

firsttiny“pocketable”transistorradioin1957.Itwastheworld’ssmallest,

butactuallyitwasabitbiggerthanastandardmen’sshirtpocket,andthat

gaveusaproblemforawhile,eventhoughweneversaidwhichpocketwe

hadinmindwhenwesaid“pocketable.”Welikedtheideaofasalesman

beingabletodemonstratehowsimpleitwouldbetodropitintoashirt

pocket.Wecameupwithasimplesolution—wehadsomeshirtsmadeforour

salesmenwithslightlylargerthannormalpockets,justbigenoughtoslipthe

radiointo. The introduction of this proud achievement was tinged with disappointmentthatourfirsttransistorizedradiowasnottheveryfirstoneon the market. An American company called Regency, supported by Texas Instruments,andusingTItransistors,putoutaradiowiththeRegencybrand nameafewmonthsbeforeours,butthecompanygaveupwithoutputting much effort into marketing it. As the first in the field, they might have capitalized on their position and created a tremendous market for their product,aswedid.Buttheyapparentlyjudgedmistakenlythattherewasno futureinthisbusinessandgaveitup. Ourfinelittleradiocarriedourcompany’snewbrandname,Sony,and wehadbigplansforthefutureoftransistorizedelectronicsandhopesthatthe successofoursmall“pocketable”radiowouldbeaharbingerofsuccessesto come. In June 1957, we put up our first billboard carrying the Sony name oppositetheentrancetoTokyo’sHanedaInternationalAirport,andattheend oftheyearweputupanotherintheheartoftheGinzadistrictofTokyo.In

January1958weofficiallychangedourcompanynametoSonyCorporation

andwerelistedontheTokyoStockExchangethatDecember. WehadregisteredthenameSonyinonehundredandseventycountries and territories and in various categories, not just electronics, in order to protect it from being used by others on products that would exploit the similarity.Butwesoonlearnedthatwehadfailedtoprotectourselvesfrom some entrepreneurs right at home in Japan. One day we learned that somebodywasselling“Sony”chocolate. WewereveryproudofournewcorporatenameandIwasreallyupset thatsomeonewouldtrytocapitalizeonit.Thecompanythatpickedupour namehadusedacompletelydifferentnameontheirproductsbeforeandonly changed the name when ours became popular. They registered the name “Sony” for a line of chocolates and snack foods and even changed their companytradenametoSonyFoods.Intheirlogotheyusedthesametypeof lettersweused. In those days we sometimes used a small cartoon character called “SonnyBoy”inouradvertising.Thecharacterwasactuallycalled“Atchan,” andwascreatedbycartoonistFuyuhikoOkabeoftheJapanesenewspaper AsahiShimbun.ThebogusSonychocolatemerchantsstartedusingasimilar cartoon.Seeingthisstuffonsaleinmajordepartmentstoresmademesick withanger.Wetooktheimposterstocourtandbroughtfamouspeoplesuchas entertainers,newspapermen,andcriticstoconfirmthedamagethatwasbeing donetous.OnewitnesssaidhethoughttheappearanceofSonychocolate

meantthattheSonyCorporationwasinfinancialdifficultyifithadtoresort tosellingchocolateinsteadofhigh-technologyelectronics.Anotherwitness saidshehadtheimpressionthatsinceSonywasreallyatechnicalcompany, thechocolatemustbesomekindofsynthetic.Wewereafraidthatifthese chocolatescontinuedtofillthemarketplace,itwouldcompletelydestroythe trustpeoplehadinourcompany. Ihavealwaysbelievedthatatrademarkisthelifeofanenterpriseand thatitmustbeprotectedboldly.Atrademarkandacompanynamearenotjust clevergimmicks—theycarryresponsibilityandguaranteethequalityofthe product.Ifsomeonetriestogetafreerideonthereputationandtheabilityof another who has worked to build up public trust, it is nothing short of thievery.Wewerenotflatteredbythistheftofourname. CourtcasestakealongtimeinJapan,andthecasedraggedonforalmost fouryears,butwewon.AndforthefirsttimeinJapanesehistory,thecourt usedtheunfaircompetitionlawratherthanpatentortrademarkregistration lawsingrantingusrelief.Thechocolatepeoplehadregisteredthename,all right,butonlyafterournamehadbecomepopular.Intryingtoprovethatthe namewasopenforanyonetouse,theirlawyerswenttothemajorlibrariesof thecountrytoshowthatthenamewasinthepublicdomain,buttheywerein for a shock. They came away empty-handed because no matter what dictionariestheywenttotheycouldnotfindthewordSony.Weknewthey would discover that; we had done it ourselves long before. The name is unique,anditisours. Onourthirty-fifthanniversary,wethoughtweshouldconsiderrevising our trademark. Styles and fashions were changing in clothing, in product design,andinvirtuallyeverything,sowethoughtthatperhapsweshould consider changing the style of the letters of our name. We held an internationalcompetition,andwereceivedhundredsofsuggestions,along withhundredsofpleasfromourdealersnottochange.Afterreviewingallthe suggestions,wedecidednottomakeanychanges.SONYstilllookedvery goodtous,andwedecided,astheysaytoday,thattherewasnopointin fixingsomethingthatwasfarfrombroken.

SELLINGTOTHEWORLD:MyLearning

Curve

I

AlthoughourcompanywasstillsmallandwesawJapanasquitealarge and potentially active market, it was the consensus among Japanese industrialiststhataJapanesecompanymustexportgoodsinordertosurvive. With no natural resources except our people’s energy, Japan had no alternative.Andsoitwasnaturalforustolooktoforeignmarkets.Besides,as businessprospered,itbecameobvioustomethatifwedidnotsetoursights onmarketingabroad,wewouldnotgrowtobethekindofcompanyIbuka andIhadenvisioned.WewantedtochangetheimageofJapanesegoodsas poorinquality,and,wereasoned,ifyouaregoingtosellahigh-quality, expensive product, you need an affluent market, and that means a rich,

sophisticatedcountry.Today,over99percentofallJapanesehomeshave

color TV; more than 98 percent have electric refrigerators and washing machines;andthepenetrationratefortaperecordersandstereosystemsis

between60and70percent.Butin1958,theyearafterweproducedour

“pocketable”transistorizedradio,only1percentofJapanesehomeshadaTV

set,only5percenthadawashingmachine,andonlytwo-tenthsof1percent

hadanelectricrefrigerator.Fortunately,theJapaneseeconomybegantogrow vigorouslyfromthemid-fiftiesonward.Double-digitincreasesinthegross nationalproductandlowinflationgaveagreatboosttoconsumerspending.

ManypeoplesayJapan’struepostwarerareallybeganin1955,theyearwe

introducedthefirsttransistorizedradioinJapan.Thecountry’sGNPgrew, amazingly, by 10.8 percent. Japanese households needed everything, and

becauseofthehighsavingsrate,whichinthosedayswasover20percent,the

peoplecouldaffordtobuy.Sowithgoodandgrowingmarketsathomeand potentialmarketsabroad,theworldwasbeginningtolookbrighttous. Asanewcompany,wehadtocarveoutourownnicheintheJapanese market.Theoldestablishedfirmswerecomingbackintoproductionwith familiarbrandnames.Wehadtomakeournamefamiliar.Wediditwithnew products—we even coined new names for some of them, such as “Tapecorder,” but found that there was a downside even to this kind of innovation. The tape recorder was virtually unknown in Japan when we introducedthefirstone.Sinceweobviouslycouldnotregisterthename“tape

recorder”asourown,wecameupwith“Tapecorder.”ThenameTapecorder becamegenericalmostovernight,becausewehadtheonlymachineonthe market, but later, when our competitors began making tape recorders, it becameadoubtfulblessingbecausethepublicreferredtoanymaker’stape recorderasa“tapecorder.”Fromthenon,wemadeitapointtodisplayour company name prominently on our products, even if we also gave the productsinventednames,suchasWalkman,sothatthebrand,company,and productnameswereallclear. DespiterisingaffluenceinJapaninthelatefifties,wehadagreatdealof difficulty raising money and had to rely on friends and introductions by friendstopeoplewhomightbecomeinvestors.Inthisregard,wewerelucky to have a board of advisers who had real stature. They could get us introductionstopotentialinvestorsthatwecouldnotarrangeonourown.Our

chairmanfrom1953to1959wasJunshiroMandai,formerchairmanofMitsui

Bank,andouradvisersincludedIbuka’s father-in-law,TamonMaeda, the formercabinetminister;MichijiTajima,whobecamedirectorgeneralofthe Imperial Household Agency; Rin Matsutani, the man who hired Ibuka at PhotoChemicalLaboratory,Ibuka’sfirstbigjob;and,ofcourse,myfather, KyuzaemonMorita. One of the businessmen our advisers recommended as a possible investorwasTaizoIshizaka,wholaterbecameheadoftheKeidanren,Japan’s Federation of Economic Organizations. Ibuka and I called on him and persuadedhimtoinvestinourcompany,butafewmonthslater,theMitsui BankaskedhimtobecomepresidentofTokyoShibauraElectricCompany (Toshiba),becauseitwashavingfinancialandlabortroubles.Thepostwar antitrustlawswereineffectthen,andsohefeltthateventhoughToshibawas agiantcorporationandSonywasverysmall,hecouldnotholdsharesin anothercompanythatmadesomeofthesametypesofgoods.Hegavehis sharestohisdaughter,Tomoko.AfterToshibacameoutwithitsownsmall transistorradio—muchlaterthanourcompany—headvisedhisdaughterto selltheshares.Hetoldhernosmallcompanycouldcompetewiththegiants ofJapan’selectricalindustrynowthatthesecompanieshadstartedtomake thesamethings.Ishizaka’sdaughterisagoodfriendofminewholivesnear me.Sheusedtosayjokingly,“Myfatherisasuccessfulbusinessmananda bigshotinKeidanren,buthedoesn’tknowhowtomakemoneyforhimself.” Like a dutiful daughter she had sold her Sony stock as her father recommended—andlosttheopportunitytogetrichonit. Mandai,ourchairman,wasoneofJapan’sgreatbankers.Hehadbeen theheadofMitsuiBankbeforethewarandwasstillregardedalmostasa deitybythestaff.Likemanyothersconnectedwiththeoldgiantfinancial

combines,thezaibatsu,hehadbeenpurgedbytheOccupationauthorities.We feltveryluckytohavehimwithus.IbukaandIhadbeenhavingadifficult timeborrowingmoremoneyfromMitsuiBank,whichhadbeenhelpingus fromthebeginning.OnedayMandaitookIbukaandmetothebanktotalkto someofthebankofficersaboutourcompany.Wehadbeentryingtosell shares,andwehopedthatMandaijustmightmentionthefactatthebank.To oursurprise,aswemadecallsMandaitoldeveryoneinauthoritativetones, “Mycompanyhasdecidedtoincreaseshares,andIjustmightbeableto arrangeforyoutobuysome.”Itwasalmostacommand,comingfromsucha greatfigure.Severalbankexecutiveslatertoldmehowhardtheystruggledto get enough money to buy the shares; they felt they had to buy because Mandai had virtually ordered it. I don’t know anyone who complained, though.Severalbecamequiterichonthoseearlypurchases,andIknowat leastonemanwhoveryquicklybuiltahouseonhisearlydividends. Weweredoingwell,althoughwestillhadtoughcompetitiongettingour nameknowninJapan,wherebrandconsciousnessandbrandloyaltyarevery high.Overseaswewereallonanevenfooting.Andperhapswewereina betterpositionabroadthananybody.QualityJapaneseconsumergoodswere virtuallyunknownbeforethewar.Theimageofanythingmarked“Madein Japan”thathad beenshippedabroad beforethewarwasverylow. Most peopleintheUnitedStatesandEurope,Ilearned,associatedJapanwithpaper umbrellas,kimonos,toys,andcheaptrinkets.Inchoosingournamewedid notpurposelytrytohideournationalidentity—afterall,internationalrules requireyoutostatethecountryoforiginonyourproduct—butwecertainly didnotwanttoemphasizeitandruntheriskofbeingrejectedbeforewe coulddemonstratethequalityofourproducts.ButImustconfessthatinthe earlydaysweprintedtheline“MadeinJapan”assmallaspossible,oncetoo smallforU.S.Customs,whichmadeusmakeitbiggerononeproduct. Icametorealizefrommyearliestexperienceintryingtosellthetape recorderthatmarketingisreallyaformofcommunication.Inthetraditional Japanesesystemfordistributingconsumerproducts,themanufacturersare keptatarm’slengthfromtheconsumer.Communicationisallbutimpossible. There are primary, secondary, and even tertiary wholesalers dealing with somegoodsbeforetheyreacharetailer,layerafterlayerofmiddlemenin betweenthemakerandtheultimateuseroftheproduct.Thisdistribution systemhassomesocialvalue—itprovidesplentyofjobs—butitiscostlyand inefficient.Ateachlayerthepricehastogoup,eventhoughsomeofthe middlemenmaynotevencomeincontactwiththegoods.Thesystemis adequateforcommoditiesandlow-technologyitems,perhaps,butwerealized fromthebeginningthatitcouldnotservetheneedsofourcompanyandits

new,advancedtechnologyproducts.Thirdorfourthpartiessimplycouldnot havethesameinterestinorenthusiasmforourproductsandourideasthatwe had.Wehadtoeducateourcustomerstotheusesofourproducts.Todosowe hadtosetupourownoutletsandestablishourownwaysofgettinggoods intothemarket. We were bringing out some products that had never been marketed

before—nevermadebefore,actually,suchastransistorizedradiosandsolid-

statepersonaltelevisionsets—andwerebeginningtogetareputationasa

pioneer.Infactsomepeoplecalledusthe“guineapig”oftheelectronics

industry.Wewouldproduceanewproduct;thegiantsoftheindustrywould

waittoseeifourproductwassuccessful;andthen,ifitwas,theywouldrush

asimilaroneontothemarkettotakeadvantageofourefforts.Thisistheway

ithasdevelopedovertheyears;wehavealwayshadtobeoutinfront.We

haveseenthisinmostofourmajorproductdevelopments,fromsmallsolid-

stateradiosandtransistorizedTVsets(webuilttheveryfirstone)upto today’sportablestereoplayer,Walkman;oursmallhand-heldflattelevision, Watchman;andourcompactdiscplayer,Discman.Weintroducedstereointo Japan.Webuilttheworld’sveryfirstvideocassetterecorderforhomeuse; inventedtheTrinitronsystem,anewmethodofprojectingacolorimageonto

theTVtube;andweinnovatedthe3.5-inchcomputerfloppydisk,whichnow

hasthehigheststoragecapacityintheworldforitssize.Werevolutionized television news gathering and broadcasting worldwide with our handheld video cameras and small videotape players. We pioneered the filmless camera, Mavica, the compact disc system, and invented eight-millimeter video.That’sonlytonameafewofthemoreeasilyrecognizablethingswe havedone. Inthebeginning,whenourtrackrecordforsuccesswasnotestablished, ourcompetitorswouldtakeaverycautiouswait-and-seeattitudewhilewe marketedanddevelopedanewproduct.Intheearlydays,wewouldoften havethemarkettoourselvesforayearormorebeforetheothercompanies wouldbeconvincedthattheproductwouldbeasuccess.Andwemadealot of money, having the market all to ourselves. But as we became more successfulandourtrackrecordbecameclearer,theotherswaitedashorter andshortertimebeforejumpingin.Nowwebarelygetathree-monthhead startonsomeproductsbeforetheothersenterthemarkettocompetewithus withtheirownversionoftheproductweinnovated.(Wewerefortunatetoget awholeyear’sleadontheportablecompactdiscplayer,Discman,andalmost sixmonthswiththeWalkman.)Itisflatteringinaway,butitisexpensive.We havetokeepapremiumoninnovation.Formanyyearsnowwehaveputwell

over6percentofsalesintoresearchanddevelopment,andsomeyearsas

muchas10percent.Ourplanistoleadthepublicwithnewproductsrather

thanaskthemwhatkindofproductstheywant.Thepublicdoesnotknow whatispossible,butwedo.Soinsteadofdoingalotofmarketresearch,we refineourthinkingonaproductanditsuseandtrytocreateamarketforitby educating and communicating with the public. Sometimes a product idea strikesmeasanatural. Asanexample,Icanciteaproductsurelyeverybodyknowsof,the Walkman.TheideatookshapewhenIbukacameintomyofficeonedaywith one of our portable stereo tape recorders and a pair of our standard-size headphones. He looked unhappy and complained about the weight of the system.Iaskedhimwhatwasonhismindandthenheexplained,“Iliketo listentomusic,butIdon’twanttodisturbothers.Ican’tsittherebymy stereoallday.Thisismysolution—Itakethemusicwithme.Butit’stoo heavy.” Ihadbeenmullinganideaoverinmymindforawhile,andnowitwas comingintofocusasIbukatalked.Iknewfrommyownexperienceathome thatyoungpeoplecannotseemtolivewithoutmusic.Almosteverybodyhas stereoathomeandinthecar.InNewYork,eveninTokyo,Ihadseenpeople withbigtapeplayersandradiosperchedontheirshouldersblaringoutmusic. Irememberedthatonetimewhenmydaughter,Naoko,camehomefroma tripsheranupstairsbeforeevengreetinghermotherandfirstputacassettein herstereo.Ibuka’scomplaintsetmeintomotion.Iorderedourengineersto takeoneofourreliablesmallcassettetaperecorderswecalledPressman,strip outtherecording circuitandthespeaker,andreplacethemwithastereo amplifier. I outlined the other details I wanted, which included very lightweightheadphonesthatturnedouttobeoneofthemostdifficultpartsof theWalkmanproject. Everybodygavemeahardtime.Itseemedasthoughnobodylikedthe idea.Atoneofourproductplanningmeetings,oneoftheengineerssaid,“It soundslikeagoodidea,butwillpeoplebuyitifitdoesn’thaverecording capability?Idon’tthinkso.” Isaid,“Millionsofpeoplehaveboughtcarstereowithoutrecording capabilityandIthinkmillionswillbuythismachine.” Nobodyopenlylaughedatme,butIdidn’tseemtobeconvincingmy ownprojectteam,althoughtheyreluctantlywentalong.Ievendictatedthe sellingpricetosuitayoungperson’spocketbook,evenbeforewemadethe first machine. The Pressman monaural tape recorder was a relatively expensive unit, selling for forty-nine-thousand yen in Japan, and I said I wantedthefirstmodelsofournewstereoexperimenttoretailfornomore thanthirtythousandyen.TheaccountantsprotestedbutIpersisted.Itold

themIwasconfidentwewouldbemakingournewproductinverylarge numbersandourcostwouldcomedownasvolumeclimbed.Theythoughtwe shouldstartfromacheaperbasethanthePressman,butIchosethebasic configurationofthePressmanbecausemanypartsforthePressmanwere availableworldwideatourservicecenters,andweknewtheunitwasreliable. Thereforewecouldstartoutwithoutworryingthatthethingwouldturnoutto beamechanicalfailure. In a short time the first experimental unit with new, miniature headphoneswasdeliveredtome,andIwasdelightedwiththesmallsizeofit andthehigh-qualitysoundtheheadphonesproduced.Inconventionalstereo withlargeloudspeakers,mostoftheenergyusedtoproducethesoundis wasted,becauseonlyafractionofitgoestothelisteners’ears.Therestofthe soundvibratesoffthewallsandthewindows.Ourtinyunitneededonlya smalltrickleofbatterypowertotheamplifiertodrivethetinylightweight headphones. The fidelity that came through the small headphones was as goodorbetterthanIexpected.IrushedhomewiththefirstWalkmanandwas tryingitoutwithdifferentmusicwhenInoticedthatmyexperimentwas annoyingmywife,whofeltshutout.Allright,Idecided,weneededtomake provisionfortwosetsofheadphones.Thenextweektheproductionstaffhad producedanothermodelwithtwoheadphonejacks. AfewdayslaterIinvitedmygolfingpartner,thenovelistKaoruShoji, foragameofgolf,andaswesettleddowninthecarfortheridetomyclubI handedhimasetofheadphonesandstartedplayingatape.Iputontheother setandwatchedhisexpression.Hewassurprisedanddelightedtohearhis wife,HirokoNakamura,aconcertpianist,playingtheGriegpianoconcerto. Hesmiledbroadlyandwantedtosaysomething,buthecouldn’tbecausewe werebothhookeduptoheadsets.Irecognizedthisasapotentialproblem.My solution was to have my staff add a button-activated microphone to the machinesothetwopeoplecouldtalktoeachother,overthemusic,onthe “hotline.” Ithoughtwehadproducedaterrificitem,andIwasfullofenthusiasm forit,butourmarketingpeoplewereunenthusiastic.Theysaiditwouldn’t sell,anditembarrassedmetobesoexcitedaboutaproductmostothers thoughtwouldbeadud.ButIwassoconfidenttheproductwasviablethatI saidIwouldtakepersonalresponsibilityfortheproject.Ineverhadreasonto regretit.TheideatookholdandfromtheverybeginningtheWalkmanwasa runawaysuccess.IneverreallylikedthenameWalkman,butitseemstohave caughtoneverywhere.Iwasawayonatripwhenthenamewaschosenby someyoungpeopleinourcompany,andwhenIgotbackIorderedthemto changethenametosomethinglikeWalkingStereo,oranythingabitmore

grammatical,buttheysaiditwastoolate:theadvertisinghadalreadybeen preparedandtheunitswerebeingmadewiththatname.SonyAmericaand SonyU.K.fearedtheycouldn’tsellaproductwithanungrammaticalname likeWalkmanbutwewerestuckwithit.Welatertriedothernamesoverseas —StowAway,inEngland,andSoundAboutintheUnitedStates—butthey nevercaughton.Walkmandid.Andeventually,IcalledupSonyAmericaand SonyU.K.andsaid,“Thisisanorder:thenameisWalkman!”NowI’mtold itisagreatname. Soonwecouldhardlykeeppacewiththedemandandhadtodesignnew automatedmachinerytohandlethefloodoforders.Ofcourse,wehelped stimulatesalesbyadvertisingheavily,andinJapanwehiredyoungcouplesto strollthroughtheTokyoGinza“PedestrianParadise”onSundayslisteningto theirWalkmansandshowingthemoff.AlthoughIoriginallythoughtitwould beconsideredrudeforonepersontobelisteningtohismusicinisolation, buyersbegantoseetheirlittleportablestereosetsasverypersonal.And whileIexpectedpeopletosharetheirWalkmans,wefoundthateverybody seemedtowanthisorherown,sowetookoutthe“hotline”andlaterdid away with one of the two headphone jacks on most models. I had been convincedtheWalkman wouldbeapopularproduct,butevenIwas not preparedfortheresponse.Iposedwithmyonce-skepticalprojectteamatthe fivemillionmarkandIpredictedtheyhadonlyseenthebeginning.Sincethe firstWalkmanwentonsale,wehavesoldmorethantwentymillioninmore thanseventydifferentmodels—we’veevenmadewaterproofandsand-proof models—andtherearemoreversionstocome. ItisinterestingthatwhathashappenedwithWalkmanisthatsomething thatbeganbytakingawayfeaturesfromafullscalerecordingandplayback unithasnowcomealmostfullcircle.Wehaveputback—ormadeavailable withadd-ondevicesliketinyspeakers—allthefeaturesweremovedinthe firstplace,andevenaddedsomenewones,likethecapabilityofcopying fromonetapetoanother. Mypointindigressingtotellthisstoryissimple:Idonotbelievethat anyamountofmarketresearchcouldhavetoldusthattheSonyWalkman wouldbesuccessful,nottosayasensationalhitthatwouldspawnmany imitators.Andyetthissmallitemhasliterallychangedthemusic-listening habitsofmillionsofpeopleallaroundtheworld.Manyofmyfriendsinthe music world, such as conductors Herbert von Karajan, Zubin Mehta, and LorinMaazel,andvirtuososlikeIsaacStem,havecontactedmeformoreand moreWalkmans,averyrewardingconfirmationoftheexcellenceoftheidea andtheproductitself.Asaresultofdevelopingsmall,lightweightoptionsfor theWalkmanseries,wehavebeenabletominiaturizeandimprovethequality

ofourstandardheadphonesandintroducedozensofnewmodels,andsowe have become one of the world’s largest makers of headphones. We have

almost50percentofthemarketinJapan.

ItwasthiskindofinnovationthatIbukahadinmindwhenwewrotea kindofprospectusandphilosophicalstatementforourcompanyinthevery beginning:“Ifitwerepossibletoestablishconditionswherepersonscould becomeunitedwithafirmspiritofteamworkandexercisetotheirhearts’ desire their technological capacity,” he wrote, “then such an organization couldbringuntoldpleasureanduntoldbenefits.” Hewasthinkingaboutindustrialcreativity,somethingthatisdonewith teamworktocreatenewandworthwhileproducts.Machinesandcomputers cannotbecreativeinthemselves,becausecreativityrequiressomethingmore than the processing of existing information. It requires human thought, spontaneousintuition,andalotofcourage,andwehadplentyofthatinour earlydaysandstilldo. Andsowesetouttobuildourownsalesanddistributionnetwork,asa way of getting our message directly to the consumer. We used the old distributionsystemwhereitwasuseful,butwesetupourownoutletsand dealtdirectlywithourdealerswherewecould.Thatwaywecouldgetto knowthempersonallyandmakethemunderstandthevalueofourproducts and the uses to which they could be put. Our salesmen became communicatorsandencouragedtheretailerstodothesame.

II

Ourfirsttransistorradioof1955wassmallandpractical—notassmall

assomeofourlaterefforts,butwewereveryproudofit.IsawtheUnited Statesasanaturalmarket;businesswasbooming,employmentwashigh,the peoplewereprogressiveandeagerfornewthings,andinternationaltravel wasbecomingeasier. I took my little $29.95 radio to New York and made the rounds of possibleretailers.Manyofthemwereunimpressed.Theysaid,“Whyareyou makingsuchatinyradio?EverybodyinAmericawantsbigradios.Wehave bighouses,plentyofroom.Whoneedsthesetinythings?” IexplainedwhatIhadlearnedinlookingaroundmeintheUnitedStates. “TherearemorethantwentyradiostationsinNewYorkCityalone,”Isaid, “and,yes,thehousesarebig—evenbigenoughforeveryfamilymemberto havehisorherownroomwhereheorshecouldturnonthistinyradioand listentowhateverpleaseshimorherwithoutdisturbingorbotheringanybody else.Ofcoursethefidelityisn’tasgoodasalargeunit,butitisexcellentfor itssize.”Manypeoplesawthelogicofthisargument,andIwashappytobe offeredsometemptingdeals,butIwascautiousandmorethanonceIturned downwhatlookedlikeachancetomakebigprofits.ThebuyersthoughtIwas crazy,buteventhoughourcompanywasyoungandIwasinexperienced,time hasshownthatImadetherightdecisions. ThepeopleatBulovalikedtheradioverymuchandtheirpurchasing officersaidverycasually,“Wedefinitelywantsomeofthese.Wewilltake onehundredthousandunits.”Onehundredthousandunits!Iwasstunned.It wasanincredibleorder,worthseveraltimesthetotalcapitalofourcompany. Webegantotalkdetails,mymindworkingveryfast,whenhetoldmethat therewasonecondition:wewouldhavetoputtheBulovanameontheradios. That stopped me. I had vowed that we would not be an original equipmentmakerforothercompanies.Wewantedtomakeanameforour companyonthestrengthofourownproducts.ItoldhimIwouldcheckwith mycompany,andinfactIdidsendamessagebacktoTokyooutliningthe deal.Thereplywas,“Taketheorder.”Ididn’tliketheidea,andIdidn’tlike thereply.Afterthinkingitoverandover.IdecidedIhadtosayno,wewould notproduceradiosunderanothername.WhenIreturnedtocallontheman fromBulovahedidn’tseemtotakemeseriouslyatfirst.HowcouldIturn downsuchanorder?HewasconvincedIwouldaccept.WhenIwouldnot budge,hegotshortwithme.

“Ourcompanynameisafamousbrandnamethathastakenoverfifty yearstoestablish.”hesaid.“Nobodyhaseverheardofyourbrandname. Whynottakeadvantageofours?” Iunderstoodwhathewassaving,butIhadmyownview.“Fiftyyears ago,”Isaid,“yourbrandnamemusthavebeenjustasunknownasourname istoday.Iamherewithanewproduct,andIamnowtakingthefirststepfor thenextfiftyyearsofmycompany.FiftyyearsfromnowIpromiseyouthat ournamewillbejustasfamousasyourcompanynameistoday.” I never regretted the decision not to take what is called an original equipment maker (OEM) order because the decision gave me added confidenceandpride,althoughwhenItoldIbukaandtheotherexecutives backinTokyowhatIhaddonesomeofthemthoughtIwasfoolish.ButIsaid thenandIhavesaiditoftensince:itwasthebestdecisionIevermade. WhilemakingtheroundsIcameacrossanotherAmericanbuyerwho lookedattheradioandsaidhelikeditverymuch.Hesaidhischainhadabout onehundredandfiftystoresandhewouldneedlargequantities.Thatpleased me,andfortunatelyhedidnotaskmetoputthechain’snameontheproduct. Heonlyaskedmetogivehimapricequotationonquantitiesoffivethousand, ten thousand, thirty thousand, fifty thousand and one hundred thousand radios.Whataninvitation!NowIcouldrecoupwhatIhadlostinrefusingthe OEM order. But back in my hotel room, I began pondering the possible impact of such grand orders on our small facilities in Tokyo. We had expandedourplantalotsinceweoutgrewtheunpainted,leakyshackon Gotenyama.Wehadmovedintobigger,sturdierbuildingsadjacenttothe originalsiteandhadoureyeonsomemoreproperty.Butwedidnothavethe capacitytoproduceonehundredthousandtransistorradiosayearandalso maketheotherthingsinoursmallproductline.Ourcapacitywaslessthanten thousandradiosamonth.Ifwegotanorderforonehundredthousand,we wouldhavetohireandtrainnewemployeesandexpandourfacilitieseven more.Thiswouldmeanamajorinvestment,amajorexpansion,andagamble. Iwasinexperiencedandstillalittlenaive,butIhadmywitsaboutme.I consideredalltheconsequencesIcouldthinkof,andthenIsatdownand drewacurvethatlookedsomethinglikealopsidedletterU.Thepriceforfive thousandwouldbeourregularprice.Thatwouldbethebeginningofthe curve.Fortenthousandtherewouldbeadiscount,andthatwasatthebottom ofthecurve.Forthirtythousandthepricewouldbegintoclimb.Forfifty thousandthepriceperunitwouldbehigherthanforfivethousand,andfor onehundredthousandunitsthepricewouldhavetobemuchmoreperunit thanforthefirstfivethousand. Iknowthissoundsstrange,butmyreasoningwasthatifwehadto

double our production capacity to complete an order for one hundred thousandandifwecouldnotgetarepeatorderthefollowingyearwewould beinbigtrouble,perhapsbankrupt,becausehowcouldweemployallthe addedstaffandpayforallthenewandunusedfacilitiesinthatcase?Itwasa conservativeandcautiousapproach,butIwasconvincedthatifwetooka hugeorderweshouldmakeenoughprofitonittopayforthenewfacilities duringthelifeoftheorder.Expandingisnotsuchasimplething—getting freshmoneywouldbedifficult—andIdidn’tthinkthiskindofexpansionwas agoodideaonthestrengthofoneorder.InJapanwecannotjusthirepeople andfirethemwheneverourordersgoupordown.Wehavealong-term commitmenttoouremployeesandtheyhaveacommitmenttous. OfcourseIwasalsoabitworriedthatifIquotedaverylowpricefor onehundredthousandunits,thebuyermightsayhewouldtakeonehundred thousand but would initially order only ten thousand at the one hundred thousandunitpriceasatest,andthenmaybehewouldn’torderanymore. Ireturnedthenextdaywithmyquotation.Thebuyerlookedatitand blinkedasthoughhecouldn’tbelievehiseyes.Heputdownthepaperand said,patiently,“Mr.Morita,Ihavebeenworkingasapurchasingagentfor nearlythirtyyears,andyouarethefirstpersonwhohasevercomeinhereand toldmethatthemoreIbuythehighertheunitpricewillbe.It’sillogical!”I explainedmyreasoningtohim,andhelistenedcarefullytowhatIhadtosay. Whenhegotoverhisshock,hepausedforamoment,smiled,andthenplaced anorderfortenthousandradios—atthetenthousandunitprice—whichwas justrightforhimandforus. Iwasluckyinthosedays.Ididn’thavemuchexperienceinbusinessand Ididn’thaveabosslookingovermyshoulder,sowhenIdecidedtocomeup with that quotation nobody could say no to me in the company. I made companypolicyasIwentalong.Laterwecertainlywelcomedsuchlarge orders. IwasnottheonlyJapanesedoingbusinessinNewYorkinthemiddle fifties. Many, if not most of them, relied on the giant Japanese trading companies that understood foreign markets and had established offices overseas. That wasn’t good enough for me, because none of the trading housesknewmyproductsandmybusinessphilosophy. IthinkitisironicthatAmericanbusinessmennowcomplainaboutour complexJapanesedistributionsystem,becausewhenIwasfirstplanningto exporttotheUnitedStatesIwasastonishedandfrustratedbythecomplexity of marketing in America. It always comes as a surprise to American businessmen when I tell this to them. But the accepted way of getting JapanesegoodsintotheU.S.inthosedayswastohandoveryourgoodstoan

experiencedJapanesetradingcompanywithofficesintheStates.Thetrading companywouldshipthegoodstoanAmericanport,wheretheiragentwould clearcustoms,thenmovethemtoadistributioncompany,andthentothe wholesalers,andthentotheretailers.Thetimeconsumedinshippingandthe demands for servicing in such a big country staggered me. But I never considered the size of America or the English (or French or German) languagetobeanontariffbarrier. I can understand the frustration of American and other foreign businessmen facing the Japanese distribution system and the complex JapaneselanguagebecauseitmustseemascomplextothemastheAmerican systemandlanguagedidtomeseveraldecadesago,butmanyofthemhave

successfully figured out ways to work outside the traditional established system;thatwaswhatIfeltIhadtodointheUnitedStates.Weneededa distributionrouteinwhichthemessageofournewtechnologyanditsbenefits couldbemoreeasilyanddirectlypassedontotheconsumer.Ittookusalong timetofindtheway.Wealsohadtolearnsomehardlessons. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Adolph Gross by my old Japanesefriend,ShidoYamada.Grosswasamanufacturers’representative,

andhehadacompanycalledAgrodCompany,locatedat514Broadway.

WhenItoldGrossaboutmycompanyandwhatweweretryingtodo,hesaid helikedthesoundofitandheimmediatelyagreedtorepresentus.Heeven offeredmesomedeskspaceinhisoffice,andtherelationshipgrewintoa personaloneaswellasabusinessone;hewasagoodfriendandateacherto me.IwasfortunatetofindseveralgoodteachersintheUnitedStates.Oneof themImetinTokyo,aHawaiian-bornJapanese-AmericannamedYoshinobu “Doc”Kagawa,anAmericancitizenwhocametoJapanasalawyerwiththe economicsectionoftheOccupationforces.WhentheOccupationwasoverin

1952,heoptedtostayoninJapanandrepresentedsomeJapanesecompanies,

includingtheTohomoviecompany.Iaskedhimtoadvisemycompany,and

whenIcametotheStatesonsomeofmyearlytripshecamewithme.SoI

hadgoodteachers,AdolphGross,“Doc”Kagawa,andthenprobablymybest

teacher,EdwardRosiny,whowasGross’slawyerandbecamemine.

AdolphGrossandIbecameveryclose,althoughhewasinhislatefifties

andIwasonlyinmythirties.Hewasakind,intelligent,unpretentious,soft-

spokenmanwholikedagoodjokeandwasfullofintegrity.Hewasinterested

ininternationalbusiness,andinfacthewasalreadyimportingsomehigh-

qualityEuropeanelectronicgoods,includingthefineGerman-madeELAC

turntable,whichwaspopularwithearlyhi-fienthusiasts.Hetalkedtomefor

alongtimethedaywefirstwereintroduced:hewantedtoknoweverything

aboutmeandmycompanyanditsphilosophy.InashorttimeIlearnedalot

about American business practices from him. He explained America and America’sbusinessworldtome,includingsomevery 7 practicalinformation abouttheimageandcharacterofthedifferentstoresandthebestwaystodo businessinAmerica.HealsokepttryingtoAmericanizemeoratleasttogive mesomeworldlypolishandsophistication. OnedayheaskedmecasuallyifIwantedtoseeFairLady,whichhad justopenedonBroadwayandwasalreadythehitshowoftheseason.Isaid. “CertainlyI’dliketoseeit,Adolph,butI’msureIcouldn’tgetaticket—the showisasellout!”Hesaid.“Nevermindthat,”andinnotimehehadapairof tickets.Theymusthavecosthimonehundreddollarseach,alotofmoneyfor

atheaterseatanytime,butafortunetome,atleast,in1957.Weworkedlate

thenightoftheshowandwentdirectlytotheMarkHefiingerTheater.Itwas

anewandexcitingexperienceformetobewiththataudienceatthebiggest

showoftheseason.Adolphwasblaseaboutit.Assoonasthelightsdimmed

and the orchestra struck up the overture, Adolph turned to me and said.

“Akio,goodnight.”Hesleptallthroughthismarvelousshowinhishundred-

dollarseat.

WhenAdolphGrossdiedsuddenlyofaheartattackinLondonin1958,

wewerealldevastated.Ihavealwaysfeltmydebttohimstronglyandthink ofhimasmyAmericanfather.Mrs.GrossisstillveryclosetoourSony family, and we always ask her to all the anniversary functions of Sony America. Ididn’tmeetEdwardRosiny,Gross’slawyer,untilafterwelostGross, and I also then met Irving Sagor, who was the accountant for the Gross business.IlearnedaboutAmericanbusinessaccountingandlawfromthese fine men. I needed someone I could trust when I began to think of establishingSonyAmerica,andthesetwomenwerethefinestteachersand helperstome.SinceSagorwasaCPA,hewasabletoseethatmytaxaffairs were being properly handled. Eddie Rosiny and I became like brothers, workingtogether,eatingtogether,playinggolf(hegotmeintohiscountry clubinSpringValley,N.Y.),handlingbusinessproblemstogether.Among otherthings,EddietaughtmeaboutAmericanbusinesscontracts,something almostunknowninJapan. IntheearlydaysIwouldcometoNewYorkandtakeacheaphotel room,andbecausemyEnglishwasnotgoodandbecauseIhadlittlemoneyI would eat in the automat or a cafeteria, where I didn’t have to speak to anybody,fumblingaroundinEnglish.WhenIfirstbroughtDocKagawawith metotheStatesandbegantakinghimtotheautomatsandbookingusinto inexpensivehotels,heletmeknowthiswouldnotdo,thatforourownpride andthedignityandprestigeofthecompanynamewehadtooperateata

higherlevel.Heshowedmethatitwasbettertostayinthecheapestroomin thebesthotelthantostayinthebestroominthecheapesthotel.Heinsisted thatIeatingoodrestaurantsandlearntoappreciatethedifferencesinfood andservice.WhenwewouldtravelaroundtheU.S.onourmeagerbudget,we wouldsometimeshavetoshareoneroom,butwealwaysstayedinthebetter hotels.InNewYorkIstoppedeatingatHorn&Hardart’sandmovedupto

Stouffer’s.The666buildingonFifthAvenueinmidtownwasnewthenand

Stouffer’s was on the top floor. (When we lived in New York when my daughterwasachild,NaokogottolovethisrestaurantanditsviewofNew York.JustafewyearsagowhenItookanapartmentontheforty-eighthfloor oftheMuseumTower,thefirstthingshenoticedfromourwindowswasthe

666buildingwheresheoncehadsomanygoodmeals.Sheremarkedhow

fromourtowerapartmentnowshecouldlookdownatitbutwhenshewasa childitseemedtobeupinthecloudswithailofNewYorkbelowher.) ThevalueofhavingfineteacherslikeDocKagawaisbeyondestimation. Most Japanese businessmen who visited the United States in those days tendedtobeclannishandlearnedaboutthecountryfromtheotherJapanese businessmenwhohadprecededthem.Butitdoesn’ttakemuchanalysistosee theinadvisabilityofthisapproach.Despiteacoupleofyearsoflivingina foreigncountry,theseJapanesebusinessmenwerestillstrangers;following theiradvicewasliketheblindleadingtheblind.IwaslearningaboutAmerica from people who were right at home in America and had twenty-twenty vision. AsexecutivevicepresidentofmycompanyinTokyo,Ihadmanythings todoandthejobofsellingourproductsintheUnitedStateswasmorethanI couldtakeonasaone-manshow.IhaddiscussedtheproblemwithGross, andonhisadviceIappointedDelmonicoInternationalasthedistributorof

our radios. The relationship with Delmonico was fine for a while, but it wasn’tlongbeforeIbegantoworryaboutit.Asournamebecamebetter knownandsalesincreased,thepeopleatDelmonicoseemedmoreinterested inlowpricethaninquality.Itgottothepointwherewewouldfindourselves hagglingoverthecostoftheimitationleathercaseandwhetherwecould make it a few cents cheaper. They frequently asked us to produce some inexpensiveradiosthattheycouldsellathighvolumeatbigdiscounts.That

wasnotmystyle,andIsaidso.Wewerenotinterestedinproducinglow-

qualitygoodsjusttomakemoney. Whenweannouncedtotheworldthatwehadsucceededinmakingthe world’s first transistorized television set at the end of 1959, Delmonico, withoutevenconsultingwithus,beganadvertisingthattheyweregoingtobe handlingit.Iwasalarmedbythis,becauseIdidnotlikethewaythingshad

been going, and I could see disaster ahead if our relationship continued. Beforetheinkwasdryontheiradcampaign,ItoldDelmonicothatIhadno intentionofmarketingtelevisionsetsthroughthem.Iwasafraidourgreat newTVsets,thefirstoftheirkindintheworld,wouldbemerchandised cheaplyorevendiscounted.WhatIhadinmindformyproductlinewasan imageofclassandhighquality,whichreallyrepresentedtheproducts. Wehadquiteafightoverthis.ThankstoEdRosiny,weavoidedalong, drawn-outcourtbattle,butwedidhavetonegotiateforalongtimeanditcost alotofmoney.WepointedouttoDelmonicothatwehadsignedacontract withthemforradiosatatimewhenweknewtelevisionwouldfollow—we wereactuallyworkingonTVatthetimebutwedidn’tknowwhenwewould beabletocomeoutwithit—butwehadnotspecificallymentionedTVto them.IhadknownthatonedaywewouldgetintotheTVbusiness,soIcited thepatentfilingdatetoprovemypoint.Thatmeantwewerenotgiving DelmonicotherighttoourTVsets,andinfactwereexemptingoromitting TVpurposelyfromtheDelmonicosalescontract. ThepeopleatDelmonicodidn’tlikethat,andwedecidedtheonlyway to resolve the difficulty was to end our relationship. They wanted a big settlement—threehundredthousanddollarstobreakthecontract—andaswe resistedtheygraduallycamedownabitintheirdemand.Atmorethanone pointIwasreadytosettle.Ithoughttheywouldnotgolower.ButEdRosiny wasnotreadytosettle,andIwentalongwithhisjudgment.Hesaid,“Give meonemoredayandI’llgetitdowntoonehundredthousanddollars.”Sure enough,hemanagedtobringthesettlementdowntoseventy-fivethousand dollars. I asked him how much his fee was and he said, “Twenty-five thousand.I’lltakemyfeeoutoftheirmoney!”Igottolikehimevenmore.It wasalotofmoneyforustopaythen,buttheprinciplewasimportanttome, andIwasgratifiedtoseethatmyAmericanteachersfeltthesamewayIdid, thatwehadtogetoutofthatdealevenifitcostusheavily.Intheend,we foundourselvesbuyingbackDelmonico’scompleteinventoryofourradios, aboutthirtythousandunits,aspartofthesettlement. Whenyoutalkaboutproductionfiguresandannualshipmentsandsales onpaper,thirtythousanddoesn’tsoundlikeverymuchofanythinginthe consumerelectronicsbusiness.ButinthebittercoldofFebruaryinNewYork

Cityin1960,thesmallstaffofwhatwassoontobeSonyCorporationof

Americawasfacedwithseveraltruckloadsofradios,eachradiopackagedin its attractive display carton, of course, increasing the bulk. The thirty thousandlookedlikeamilliontous.Wehadn’tconsideredtheactualwork involved,andwehadn’thiredanybodytohelpus. IrvingSagorhadofferedustheAgrodwarehouseforstoringtheradios,

and when the trucks arrived on a freezing February morning, there was nothingforustodobutputonworkjacketsandstartluggingthegoodsinto thewarehouse.Aboutfiveofusworkedfrommid-morninguntilaboutfour o’clockthenextmorning.Wewereexhaustedbythetimeourthirtythousand radioshadbeenneatlystackedonskids,andweshuffledintotheofficefor someinstantcoffee.Ourwarehouseman,CharlieFarr,whoisstillwithus, turneddowntheofferofcoffeeandwenthometoBrooklyntogetsomerest. Oneofourgroupdecidedhewantedtocheckthestacksofboxesagainand went back into the warehouse from the office. When he had done his recounting,hecamebackintotheofficeside,butasheopenedthedoorhe inadvertentlysetofftheburglaralarm. Thesecurityguardscameburstinginandcaughtusredhanded,sipping coffee,asoiledandwearylookingbandofJapaneseandoneAmerican.Itwas hardlytheburglaryscenetheyexpected,butitlookedsuspicioustothem nevertheless.IrvingSagorwasoneofourcrewofexecutivelaborers,and since he was the only American in the crowd he tried to explain to the securityguardsthatwewerethemanagementofthecompany.Theguards castawaryeyeonourdirtyworkclothesandweren’tbuyingit.Wecouldn’t reachFarr,whoknewthecodenumbersfortheburglaralarmsystem,because hewasstillonhiswayhome,sowesataroundstaringateachotheruntil Sagorgottheideaofopeningthesafe.Thatideabotheredourcaptorsfora minute until Sagor showed them he actually knew the combination. He openedthesafeandshowedthemthecompanypapersthatidentifiedhimself andouroperation.Theguardsacceptedtheproofgrudginglyandleft,shaking theirheads,buttheexperiencemadeusallbegintofeelmorelikemembersof afamily.

III

I was soon virtually commuting between Tokyo and New York. As executivevicepresident,Icouldn’taffordtobeawayfromTokyoforlong, butasthemanwhowasestablishingourcompanyintheUnitedStates,I couldn’taffordtospendtoomuchtimeinTokyoeither.Ibegantofeelthatto establishourcompanymorefirmlyintheU.S.Ihadtogettoknowthe countrybetter,andeventhoughIhadmanygoodfriendsinAmericaIfeltI neededtoknowmoreabouthowAmericanslivedandhowtheythought.To make the company name more common in the U.S. was one thing; to understandAmericanswouldbemoredifficult.ButIrealizedthatmyfuture andthefutureofmycompanywoulddependalotontheUnitedStatesandon otherinternationalbusiness.Slightlyoverhalfofourproductionwasgoing abroad already, and I was struck with the idea that our company had to becomeacitizenoftheworld,andagoodcitizenineachcountrywherewe didbusiness.Wehadtoknowmorethanthemarketstatisticsandsalesdata. IdecidedtofoundacompanycalledSonyCorporationofAmerica.Back inTokyo,IbukaandKazuoIwama,whowaslatertobecomepresident,were skeptical,nottomentionthesmallcadreofSonyemployeesandexecutives wehadassembledinNewYork.Iwasconvinceditwastherightthingtodo, andnobodycouldcomeupwithverygoodreasonswhyweshouldn’tdoit. Wewouldbeabletosetupourownsalesnetwork,beourowndistributor, anddevelopourownexpertiseinmarketing.MycolleaguesinTokyodecided thatsinceIknewtheAmericanscenebesttheywouldleaveituptome.It seemedalong-rangeproject,inanycase,andsowedecidedtodoitwhenthe propertimecame.AsthingsturnedoutIdidn’thavelongtowait. We had been requesting permission from the Ministry of Finance to remitfivehundredthousanddollarstotheUnitedStatesforfutureuse,butwe didn’tknowwhenandiftheministrywouldauthorizeit.Unexpectedly,the permission came through just at the time when we were considering establishingtheAmericancompany.SoweofficiallyestablishedtheSony Corporation of America in February 1960, with capital of five hundred thousanddollars;sixteenmonthslater,weofferedtwomillionsharesofSony commonstockintheU.S.marketasAmericanDepositoryReceipts(ADR).It wasaprofoundlearningexperienceforme.AlthoughTokyoElectricPower CompanyhadissuedbondsintheU.S.marketbeforethewar,wewerethe firstJapanesecompanytoofferitsstockintheUnitedStatesanditwasmade possiblebythethen-newsystemofADR.UndertheADRsystem,theshares

ofstockareheldinthecountrywheretheyareissued,butthereceiptsforan offeringofsharesaredepositedwithanAmericanfinancialinstitution,and theycanbetradedintheU.S.,justlikeregulardomesticshares. OurbankandNomuraSecurities,whoseexecutivesknewuswell,and theAmericanfirmofSmithBarneyanditspresidentBurnettWalkerthought we should be in the American market, and we were intrigued by the possibilityofraisingcapitalwithastockofferingintheU.S.Wediscussedit

inthefallof1960inTokyo,andSmithBarneyagreedtobetheco-managing

underwriter,withNomuraSecurities. TheworkmayhavebeenthehardestIeverhadtodo.Wehadtocomply withtheJapanesecommercialcode,therulesoftheJapaneseMinistryof Finance,andtheAmericanSecuritiesandExchangeCommission.Itwasall newandverystrangeandcomplicated.Fortunately,PrimeMinisterHayato Ikedawaspleasedwiththeidea,becausehewasaninternationalistandthis wouldbeafirstforJapan,afirstpostwarcapitalliberalization.Hispositive attitudehadalottodowithconvincingtheconservative,traditionalthinkers atthefinanceministrythattheyshouldapproveourrequest.Wehadtowork fast. We put together a good team: myself and our staff at Sony; Ernest SchwartzenbachofSmithBarney,whorepresentedtheunderwriters:John StevensonofthelawfirmofSullivanandCromwell.whichhenowheads; Yoshio Terasawa of Nomura Securities, who had just returned from his

honeymooninFebruary1961(and.asthingsworkedout.wassobusywith

thisprojectthathedidn’tseehisbrideforthenextfourmonths!). Wewereworkingonthe“redherring.”thepreliminaryprospectus,and w e had a difficult “time explaining our way of doing business to the satisfactionoftheSEC.Wehadtodoalotofthingsthatwerenewtome.For example, we had to change our accounting methods to comply with the consolidationsystemusedintheWestandthereforeconsolidateourfigures forthefirsttime.Afterseeinghowitworked,Ihadtoagreewithoneofour Americancolleagues,whoasked.“Howcanyoupossiblyknowthehealthof yourcompanyifyoudon’tconsolidate?”Wearemuchbetteroffforhaving learnedtoconsolidate,andafterourexperience,consolidationbecamethe standardreportingmethodinJapan. WehadtotranslateallofourcontractsintoEnglishandexplainthe companyonpaperinminutedetail.Thefirstthingthatpuzzledthelawyers andaccountantswasthatmanyofourcontractsspecifiedthatif.duringthe lifeofthecontract,conditionschangedinawaythataffectedtheabilityof eithersidetocomplywiththeterms,bothsideswouldsitdownanddiscuss thenewsituation.ThiskindofclauseiscommoninJapanesecontracts,and many companies do much or even most of their business without any

contracts at all. However, it looked alarming to people who did not understandthewaybusinessisconductedinJapan.Iguessthiswasthefirst real perception gap we came up against. The American side could not understandhowwecouldsitdowntogetherandtalkingoodfaithifthetwo partieswerehavingamajordisagreement. Moreseriousintheeyesofourunderwriterswasourmethodoffinance throughthetraditionalJapanesesystemofshort-termloans.Itiscustomaryin Japanforacompanytooperateonalargenumberofrenewableninety-day loans.Someonesaid,“Howcanyourunabusinessonsomanyshort-term loans?Ifthebankcallsthem,youareoutofbusiness.”Weexplainedthatthe bankwouldnotcallthem,thatthisisthetraditionalwaytogetthecheapest money.ItgaveJapanesefirmsalotofflexibility;youcanrenewifyouneed to,orcanpayofftheloanifyounolongerneedthemoney.Thebankspay verycloseattentiontothecompaniestheyaresupportingandarecareful aboutmakingtheloansinthefirstplace.ButourAmericancolleagueswanted toseeguaranteesinwritingfromthebankthattheloanswouldberenewed.I explainedthatthereistrustbetweenthebankandthecompany,buttheysaid they would prefer to see the trust replaced with something in writing. Eventuallytheycametounderstandandacceptthewaywedidthings.We learnedalot,too. Afterthreemonthsofdayandnightwork,whenwethoughtwehad everythingsolvedonthehomeofficesideinTokyo,wemovedtoNewYork forthefinaldetailsleadinguptoregistration.TheTokyoStockExchange

closedat3P.M.,whichwas2A.M.inNewYork.Wehadtokeepacloseeye

ontheTokyostockmarketbecauseifthestockpricefluctuatedtoomuchwe

mighthavedifficultywiththeSEC,soeverynightweworkeduptoatleast2

A.M.attheNomuraSecuritiesNewYorkoffice,wherethelastthingwewould doistalktoTokyoandcheckonthemarket.Iwouldthentakethesubway backtotheapartmenthotelwhereIwasstaying,whichhappenedtobeon EastFifty-sixthacrossthestreetfromtheGaslightClub,andeverynight

whenIcamehomeabout2:30orso,worn-outandweary,Iwouldfindthe

frontdoorlockedandwouldhavetoringthebellforthedoorman.Asmystay lengthenedintoweeks,hebeganmarvelingatmystaminaandlookingatme withakindofslyadmirationeverymorningasIdraggedmyselfhome. Finallyhesaidtomeonenight,withachuckle,“Isuredon’tunderstand whereyougetthestrengthtospendeverynight’tiltwo-thirtyintheGaslight Club.”We were so tired by the timeit was over we could hardly stand. Finallythedaycamewhenwehadtodecidetheprice.Thismeantwehadto

getthefinalclosingpriceatTokyo,whichwasat2A.M.inNewYork,getthe

approvaloftheunderwriters,actuallyErnieSchwartzenbach,puttheprice

intotheprospectus,andhaveitprintedimmediately.Thenalawyerhadto takethe6 A.M.traintoWashington(therewasnoveryearlymorningair

shuttleinthosedays)tofileitwiththeSECat9A.M.Thenifitwasfiledand

approved,thelawyerhadtogetonthepublicphoneattheSECandcallNew York,andwecouldreleasetheADRstothemarket.Butbylateonthefinal dayErnieSchwartzenbachwasdeadonhisfeet.Sinceonlythepricewasyet tobedecided,andtheformulafordoingthatwasalreadyset,hedecidedtogo homeandgetsomerest.“Whydon’tyoucallmewhenyougettheprice,”he suggested.“Icangivemyapprovalfromhomeinsteadofwaitingaround here.” Itsoundedlikeagoodidea.Schwartzenbachwenthomeandlaydown onhiscouchwiththetelephonebesidehimandimmediatelywenttosleep. Butwhenwecalledhimhewassleepingsosoundlywecouldn’twakehim up.Werangandrangandrang.Noanswer.Timewasrunningout.Nomura, Tokyo,andIhadallagreedontheissuingprice—I’llneverforgetthatitwas

$17.50foroneADR,whichconsistedoftenshares—butwehadtohave

Schwartzenbach’sapproval.Thephonekeptringing,hekeptsleepinginhis livingroominGreatNeck,andwewerealllookingatourwatches,tryingto thinkwhatto do.SamHartwell, Ernie’sassistant,gottheideathatsince SchwartzenbachwasalsothemayorofGreatNeck,wecouldcalltheGreat Neckpoliceandhaveapatrolcargotothehouseandwakehimup.Great idea,wethought.ButithappenedthatonlytheweekbeforesomenutinGreat Neckhadbeenharassingthemayorandthepolicechiefwithcrankphone calls,andsowhenHartwellcalled,hegotacoolresponse.Infact,atfirstthey laughedatSam’splea.Ittookalongtimetoexplainwhathadhappened,and finallytheybelievedhimanddispatchedapolicemantowakeupthemayor. Iwaswornoutwhenitwasallover,butIwaspleasantlyshockedtosee the result: a check for four million dollars from our first overseas stock offering.Ihadneverseensuchabigcheck.WhenIfinallygothome,for almosttwoweeksIwassotiredIcouldhardlygetoutofbed.Laterwe published a very detailed book as a kind of bible or text for Japanese companiesthatwantedtoissuesharesontheAmericanmarket,anditbecame

quitepopular.WhenSchwartzenbachretiredfromSmithBarneyin1966,I

jumpedatthechancetohirehimasSonyAmerica’spresident,replacingme, whileImoveduptochairman.HeknewaboutasmuchaboutSonyasIdid aftergoingthroughourstockofferingexperience,andheheldthepostuntil

hediedin1968.

IV

Backin1960IhadopenedashowroomintheGinzadistrictofTokyo

wherepotentialcustomerscouldhandleandtryoutourproductswithno salesmanaroundtotrytosellthemanything,anditwasbecomingquitea popularplace.Itsadvertisingvaluewasenormous.Becausewewerenewwe had to introduce our company to the Japanese just as we would have to introduceourselvestoAmericansandlatertoEuropeans. TohaveashowroominNewYorkbecameagoal.Isurveyedthecityand realizedthatifthepeopleIwantedtoreachwerepeoplewhohadmoneyand couldaffordtobuyourratherhigh-pricedproducts,FifthAvenuewasthe placetofindthem.IstrolledupanddownFifthAvenueinmid-Manhattan lookingatthepeopleandtheshops.Itwasveryimpressive:Tiffany,Cartier, Sak’sFifthAvenue,Bergdorf-Goodman.Inarroweddownmysearchtothe eastsideofFifthAvenuebetweenaboutForty-fifthandFifty-sixthbecauseit thenseemedthemostelegantpartofthestreet. WhileIwassearchingforasuitableground-floorspottorent,Inoticed that flags of many nations were on display, but not the Japanese flag. I decidedthatwhenweopenedourshowroomwewouldbethefirsttoflythe JapaneseflagonFifthAvenue. Ittookmetwoyearstofindareallysuitableplace,andwehadtosettle forrathersmallquarters,butIdrewtheoriginaldesignmyselfandmirrored onewalltomakeitlookbigger.Workingonthatshowroomandtryingto absorb the rhythm of American life, it struck me that if I were really to understand what life was like in America, and if we were going to be successfulasacompanyinthegiantAmericanmarket,wewouldhavetodo morethanestablishourcompanyonAmericansoil.Iwouldhavetomovemy familytotheUnitedStatesandexperiencethelifeofanAmerican.WhenI wasaloneinNewYork,Ireceivedmanyinvitationsandgottoknowmany people,butIknewthatasafamilymaninAmericaIwouldenrichthat experiencebecausewhereverIwent,tothecountryclubandtoweekend partiesordinners,Americanfamiliesweretogether.Manyinvitationscameto Mr.andMrs.Morita,andIlearnedthatasinglemaleisoftenaproblemfor thehostess.IfwelivedintheU.S.asafamily,wewouldgettounderstandthe peopleasvisitingforeignerscannot. Ikeptthisthoughttomyself,butastimewenton,Ibecamemoreand more convinced that I had to do it. The United States was open and progressive,andNewYorkhadbecometheinternationalcrossroadsofthe

world. I brought my wife Yoshiko to New York for the opening of the

showroominOctober1962,andattheheightoftheexcitementduringour

openingIrealizedthatthiswasthetime,andIsaidbluntly,“Yoshiko,weare movingtoNewYork.”Sheknowsmeverywellandshedidn’tevenactvery surprised.IknewthatasacitypersonborninTokyo,shecouldhandlethe movetoanotherbigcityandthechangeinlife-style,althoughshespoke practicallynoEnglish.Shedeterminedshewouldmakethebestofmyplan, and she actually did things that amazed everyone, even establishing a businessofherownasaresultofthemove.Iknewshecouldhandleit becauseIhadleftheraloneagreatdealinTokyoduringmybusinesstravels, andshenotonlytookcareofthehouseandthechildrenbutactedasmy confidanteandbusinessliaisonwhenIwasoutoftown.Iwouldoftencallher withnewsandmessagestobedeliveredattheofficeandelsewhere,andI frequentlyconsultedwithher. IntheUnitedStatesmanythingswouldbedifferent,butIknewthather personalityandherdeterminationwouldhelphermakeasuccessofit;she hasmanyfriendsabroadnowbecausesheturnedouttohaveanexceptional giftforadaptingtonewpeopleandplacesandaknackforbeinganunofficial internationaldiplomat.Itisallthemoreadmirable,Ibelieve,becauseYoshiko grewupwithoutanyrealinterestinforeigncountriesandhadnogreatdesire totravel,althoughshewasgoodatcookingFrenchfood.Shecamefroma samuraifamilythatwentintothebooksellingandpublishingbusinessatthe endoftheTokugawaeraandexpandedintoalargechainofbookstores.The company,Sanseido,todaypublishesthepopular“Concise”lineofforeign languagedictionaries,anideathatoriginatedwithherfather.TheConcise dictionaries are also the most popular line with high school and college students. Yoshiko’slifeasayounggirlwasfullofactivity;herTokyohousehold wasnottoodifferentfrommineinNagoya,thatis,withservantsandrelatives bustlingaround,andsistersandabrotherhavingtheirgoodtimesandspats. Therewastalkofbusinessinthehouseallthetime,sherecalls,justasthere wasinmyhome.Asachild,shehadonlytwicebeenasfarwestastheresort

areaofHakone,nearMountFuji,andafterwewereintroduced,backin1951,

sheconfidedthatshethoughtmyhometown,Nagoya,whichisevenfarther west,wasreallyoutintheboondocks.ButherfatherworeWesternclothes andwassomethingofaninternationalist.Helikedtotakethefamilyoutto dine.OneoftheirfavoriteswastheNewGrandrestaurantintheGinza.My parents had taken me to the same restaurant, and later Yoshiko and I discoveredwebothrememberedfromchildhoodtheimpressivebigblueand redneonsignontopofthebuilding.

Ourtwoboys,HideoandMasao,andourdaughter,Naoko,wouldfind

thenewlife-styleinAmericadifficult,weknew,buttheywereyoungand

adaptable.Hideowasten,Masaowaseight,andlittleNaokowasonlysix.I

feltthatitwouldbeagoodexperienceforthem,eventhoughitwouldbe

difficultforeverybodyinthebeginning.

BackinTokyo,Ibukawasskeptical.Hismainobjectionwasthathe

didn’tliketheideaofhisexecutivevicepresidentbeingsofaraway,butI

proposedthatIcommuteeverytwomonthsandspendaweekorsoinTokyo

eachtime.Ialsowasagreatadvocateofthetelephone,andstillam,and

explainedthatwecouldreallybeintouchatanytime.Heagreed,asIknew

hewould,andIputmyplanintomotion.MytravelsacrossthePacificwould

notdiminishmuch,Iknew.(Istoppedcountingmytrans-Pacifictripsatone

hundredandthirty-five,alongtimeago.)

InNewYorkIalreadyhadourofficepeoplesearchingforanapartment

formyfamily,andinnotimetheycameacrosstheperfectapartmentforus.

NathanMilstein,thegreatconcertviolinist,livedinathird-floorapartmentat

1010FifthAvenue,acrossfromtheMetropolitanMuseumofArtatEighty-

second Street. He had decided to move to Paris for two years, and the apartmentwasforrent,completelyfurnished.Therentwasratherhigh,orat leastsoitseemedtoourJapanesepocketbooksinthosedays,twelvehundred dollarsamonth,buteverythingwasrightabouttheapartment:thelocation hadprestigeandwedidnothavetomovealotoffurnituretoNewYorkor evendoanydecorating.MaestroMilstein’stastewouldbegoodenoughfor us.Wecouldmoverightin.Theplacehadtwelverooms—tous,accustomed toverysmallquartersinJapan,itwaspalatial.Ithadatleastfourbedrooms, plusservants’quarters,ahugelivingroom,aseparatediningroom,andaden, allveryspaciousandtastefullyandcomfortablyfurnished.Atnightthelights ofthemuseumwouldturnon,floodingthefacade,andwecouldimagineit wasParis,thoughNewYorkwasveryglamoroustous.ImovedininApril, butbecausethechildrenwerestillinschoolthefamilycouldn’tcomeuntil June.Iwasalone,butIhadalotofworktodo.Icommutedtotheofficeby buseveryday,minglingwithNewYorkers,listeningtothemtalk,observing theirhabitsalmostlikeasociologist.Iwasalsosellingourproducts,making callsonclients,andwhenIcouldbreakawayIvisitedschoolsinManhattan totrytofindplacesforthechildren. SamHartwell,ofSmithBarney,wasmybiggesthelperintheschool search.Hehadchildreninschoolinthecity,andheknewtheterritory.He gavemeinvaluableadviceandevensetupinterviewsandsometimeswent alongwithme.Imusthavehadinterviewsattwentyschools,tryingtofinda suitable one that would take three young Japanese who had no English-

languageabilityatall.Iwantedaschoolthatwouldacceptthemforatleast twoyears,becausethatwashowlongIoriginallyintendedtostay.There wasn’talotofinterestamongtheschools.Mostofthemhadestablisheda European-influencedtradition,butfinallytheheadmasteratSt.Bernard’ssaid hewasinterestedinmakinghisschoolmorebroadlyinternationalandhe agreed to accept the boys. I found the Nightingale-Bamford School for Naoko,andwiththeschoolproblemsolved,Ibegantofeelmorecomfortable withtheideaofthefamilymovetoAmerica. Nextwehadtobreakthenewstothechildren,andsoIflewbackto TokyoandtookthewholefamilytothenewPalaceHotel,whereIrenteda

suitefortheweekend.Itwas1963,andthecitywasgettingreadyforthe1964

Summer Olympics, building an entire expressway system and many new hotelsandpublicfacilities.Itwasatreatforthefamilytostayinoneof Tokyo’snewesthotelsatthisexcitingtime.Theboysrememberthatsuite verywellbecauseitwastheirfirstvisittoaWestern-stylehotel,andHideo wasimpressedthathedidn’thavetotakehisshoesoffatthedoorofthe room.ThatSaturdaynight,wehadabigdinnerintheeleganttop-floorCrown Restaurantoverlookingthegroundsoftheimperialpalace,andlaterbackin oursuiteIbrokethenewsaboutgoingtotheUnitedStates.Ipromisedthema triptoDisneylandontheway.Thechildrendidn’tknowwhattheywere gettinginto,butMasao,whowaseight,waseager.Hesaidlaterthatsinceall theWesternmoviesonTVweredubbedintoJapanese,hethoughteveryone inAmericaspokeJapanese.Hideo,whowasolder,wasn’tasenthusiastic aboutthemove,ashewasreluctanttoleavehisfriends.Butwedidgoto Disneylandandwestayedinahotelrightattheparkandgavethechildrenthe fulltourbeforewemovedontoNewYork.Weallstillrememberthetrip happily. Irealizedwhatadisruptionthismovewouldbeforthefamily,butIama believerinthetotalimmersiontheory,andsooneweekafterwearrivedin NewYork,andbeforewecouldgetsettled,weenrolledtheboysatCamp WinonainMaine.Ifiguredthattherewouldbenoquickerwayofgetting themintotheswingoflifeinAmerica.Campruleswerethatwecouldnot visitthemforthefirsttwoweeks,sotheywouldreallybeontheirownand wouldhavetomakeanadjustmenttothisnewlifequickly. Oncewehadsettledtheboysincamp,IsuggestedthatYoshikogetan Americandriver’slicensebecause,Itoldher,inAmericaeverybodyhadto drive.Andbesides,theremightbesomebusinessdrivingforhertodo.Also, withtheboysinMaine(wefoundadaycampforNaokoinManhattan)and becauseIwouldhavetotravel,itwouldbeimportantforhertobeabletoget aroundonherown.Ifeltweoughttobeabletoseefriendsinthesuburbsand

takeweekendtrips.Preparingforthewrittentest,shewassoworriedabout her limited English-speaking ability that she just memorized all the test material, including the one hundred possible test questions, although she didn’tunderstandmuchofit.Shepassedwithaperfectscoreandhadno trouble passing the driving test, but we had to borrow a stick-shift VolkswagenforherbecausetheCadillacIboughtwasautomaticandshe didn’tfeelcomfortableyetdrivinganautomaticcar. YoshikolikestorecallthatoneofthefirstthingsIdemandedofherafter we were married in 1951 was that she get a driving license, which was unusualforawomaninJapanthen,butshediditandwasaveryexperienced driverbythetimeweneededherinNewYork.Whileweweredeveloping ourcompanywehadasteadystreamofTokyoengineersandothersvisiting New York, and Yoshiko was invaluable to them. Sometimes one of our visitingJapanesewouldgetillorhaveaproblemwiththestrangefoodor needhelpbecausehecouldn’tunderstandwhatwastakingplace.Yoshiko wouldcookforthemandcounselthem. Ourdenbecameanelectronicslabwheretheengineerswouldexamine andtestcompetitors’TVsets.TherewereTVsetsandcomponentsandtools allovertheden,andJapaneseweregoingtoandfroalldaylong.When Tokyoexecutivesarrived,Yoshikowouldbeassignedtodriveouttomeet thematKennedyAirport,thencalledIdlewild.Sometimesinbadweatheror forsomeotherreason,anincomingflightwouldbedivertedtoNewark,and soYoshikowouldhavetodriveallthewayfromIdlewildtoNewJerseyto meet the flight. In Manhattan she would chauffeur us to our meetings downtown,toWallStreet,orelsewhere.Andsometimesshewoulddrivean engineeralloverthesuburbanareawhilehecheckedtoseehowsensitiveour FMradioswere,thatis,howfarawayfromtheEmpireStateBuildinghe couldgoineverydirectionbeforethesignalbegantofade. Fortheboys,lifeatsummercampwastoughatfirst.Therewereno otherJapanesechildrenthere,andtheywereassignedtodifferentgroups,and slept in different tents. The camp director bought an English-Japanese dictionarysohecouldlearnafewwordsofJapanesetousewiththemsothey wouldn’tfeelcompletelycutoff.Weheardlaterthattheboyscriedalittleat night,andthat’sunderstandable.Wehadgiventhemanotethatread“Please callmyfather”andtoldthemtouseitincasetheyhadtroubleanddidn’t knowwhattodo,buttheydidn’tuseit.Ifeltterrible,inaway,butIthought thisexperiencewasfortheirowngood.Whenweleftthemthatfirstday,both YoshikoandIwerefightingbacktears. Masaosaidhespenthisdaysdoingwhateverybodyelsedid,atfirstnot realizingorunderstandingwhyhewasdoingit.AtCampWinonatherewasa

lotofpersonalchoice,whichisverydifferentfromJapanesesummercamp, where everybody follows the same curriculum. Masao just did what the majoritydid.Becauseoftheiragedifference,Hideowasinintermediatecamp andMasaowasinjuniorcamp,andsotheyonlysaweachotheratlunchtime, twoJapaneseboyswithnoEnglish,learninghowtoplaybaseball,swimming and climbing rocks with American kids who spoke a third language, Americanslang.Buttheygotalongwellwiththeothercampers,andmywife andIvisitedonweekendsasoftenaspossible.Hideo,aheartyeater,was thrilledwiththebigportions,thevarietyoficecream,andthelargeservings ofmelonandfruitjuice.Masaowasn’tashappywiththecamp,butwhenit wastimetoreturnthenextsummerhewaseagertogo,andwhenhehadto leavehewasupset. ThechildrenwerelearningindependenceandAmericanstyle,anditwas allveryhealthyforthem.TheysawthedifferencesbetweenAmericansand Japaneseandcametounderstandthefeelingofprideinyourcountryandthe symbolismofthenationalflag.TheyfeltitwasgreattosingtheAmerican nationalanthemandtohoisttheflageverymorning.Later,whenwebuilta newhouseinTokyo,wehadaflagpoleinstalled,andeverymorninguntilthe boysagainwentoverseastoschooltheywouldhoisttheJapaneseflag.Allof ourSonyfactoriestodayflytheJapaneseflag,theSonyflag,andtheflagof thehostcountrytheyarein.LikeOlympicathletes,weare,afterall,ina concretewayrepresentingJapanandshouldwearthesymbolofourcountry proudly. Naoko was too young to send to camp that year, so we sent her to Beachwooddaycampinthecity,andshegrewaccustomedtothenewlife withtheadaptabilityverysmallchildrenseemtohave.Afterayearoffirst gradeinNewYork,sheseemedreadyforsummercamp,andshethoughtshe was,too,afterhearingherbrotherstalkaboutCampWinona.Whenwemade ourfirstvisittoseeheraftertwoweeksthenextyear,shetookusdowntothe lake and rowed us around in a row boat all by herself, proud of her accomplishment.WhenIaskedheraboutherfeelingslater,sheconfessedthat shegotverylonelyatnightwhenthelightswentoutandwouldcry.Tomake herselffeelmoresecure,shewouldturnonherflashlightunderthecovers. Theflashlightstoryexplainedthesmallmysteryofherdwindlingallowance. Shewasspendingallthemoneywegavehertobuyflashlightbatteriesatthe campstore. TheboysreturnedfromMaineafterthatfirstsummerfulloffreshair andvitality.ThefirstthingtheynoticedaboutNewYork—andcomplained about—wasthesmellofexhaustfumesandthesmogofthecity.Asthe schooltermbegan,theotherstudentsatSt.Bernard’sacceptedtheboyswith

curiosity at first. They had trouble pronouncing their names. Hideo remembers that most of his classmates called him “High-dee.” Later, at boardingschoolinEngland,theycalledhimJoe,whichwasanabbreviation forTojo,theonlyJapanesenamehisclassmateshadeverheard,apparently. Masao remembers how frustrating it was with his very limited English vocabularytounderstandwhatwasgoingoninFrenchclass.Hewastryingto learnEnglishasasecondlanguage,andnowhewasexpectedtolearnathird languagebyusingthesecondlanguagehewasonlybeginningtounderstand. Yoshiko’sEnglishwasterribleinthebeginning,butshemadeupher mindtouseitandstudyandlisten,andshemadefriendsquickly.WhileI traveled,andwhenshedidn’thaveheavycompanyduties,shewouldtakethe kidsskiingintheCatskillsorvisitourfriendsinthesuburbsofNewYork.On weekendswhenIwasinNewYork,wewouldsometimesgoonpicnics, Yoshikodrivingandmewithamapinmylap,actingasnavigator.Shealso becameverygoodatentertaining,givingdinnerandcocktailparties,with onlyoneJapanesehelper,amaidwebroughtwithus.DuringourNewYork stay,weentertainedmorethanfourhundredpeopleinourapartment,and YoshikobecamesogoodatitthatwhenwereturnedtoJapanshewrotea booktitledMyThoughtsonHomeEntertaining,whichwasaninstanthitand isstillusedasareferenceonthesubjectbyJapanesewhoarehavingforeign guestsorvisitinginforeignhomes.ItisstilluncommontodayforJapaneseto entertainintheirhomes,althoughthosewhohaveinternationalexperience andliveinsomethingbetterthantheaverageapartmentareinvitingforeigners homemorefrequentlythesedays. Yoshikohadadifficulttimeatfirstbecauseshewouldoftenbeinvitedto luncheonsbywivesofAmericanbusinessmenandothers,butweonlyhad oneinterpreterinNewYorkatthetime,aman,andYoshikofeltitwouldn’t bepropertobringhimtoaladies’luncheon.Also,inJapanhusbandsnever take their wives along on business entertainment outings, and on other occasionswhentwoormorecouplesaretogether,husbandsandwivessitside byside.ButofcourseintheWestitiscustomaryforthehosttohavethe femaleguestofhonoronhisright,oftenfarawayfromherhusband,sothe pressurewasreallyonYoshikotolearnhowtocommunicate. Inherbook,Yoshikotoldhowencouragedshewas,asapoorlytraveled JapanesewithalmostnoEnglish-languagefluency,togotopartiesinNew YorkandfindFrenchandSpanishwomenwhoseEnglishwasnobetter.She gavealotofpracticaladvice.Forexample,shecautionedJapanesewomen againstwearingkimonoatthewrongtimes:“Apartyisheldsothatthosewho areinvitedcanenjoythemselvesequallyoveramealandconversationwith each other. When everyone wears the same kind of outfit, harmony is

enhanced.Ifthereisevenonepersonwearingprominentlysplendidclothing,

itmakeseveryoneuncomfortableandthewholepartylackswarmth.”She

learnedhowtoentertainelegantlyandsimplyandhowtomakepeoplefeel

relaxed.InJapan,sherealized,someforeignguestswereapprehensiveabout

thepossibilityofbeingservedaJapanesemealwithchopsticks,eventhough

wehaveamodern,Western-stylehome.Whenwehavesuchaguest,shewill

openourdiningroomdoorsearlywhilewearehavingcocktailssothatthe

guestscanseethatthetableissetwithsilverwareintheWesternstyle.She

keptlistsofthepeoplewhovisitedourhome,whentheycame,andwhatthey

liked.Forexample,herlistsnotethattheGermanbaritoneDietrichFischer-

Dieskaulikesonlysimplegrilledmeat;pianistAndreWatts’smotherdoesn’t likefish;conductorLeonardBernsteinlikessushiandsashimi,andsoon. HeroutgoingmannerpleasedtheAmericans shemetand sometimes confusedtheJapanese,asImyselfhavedone,beingratheroutspokenfora Japanese.OnedayinNewYork,myfriendthefashiondesignerIsseyMiyake toldmethathewasupsetthatYoshikoandDianaVreeland,thefashioneditor, whowasalsohisfriend,hadhad“aterriblefight.”InnotimeDianawason thephoneaskingforYoshi,aseveryonecalledher.Whataboutthefight? There was no fight, just a difference of opinion that is natural among Westerners,butwhichmostJapanesetrytoavoid.Itisverydifficulttofight in the Japanese language because of the character and structure of the language,andthefactthatitisveryindirectandnonconfrontationalforces politenessonyouunlessyouwanttogetveryrough.MostJapanese,hearing anyWesternargument,tendtooverreacttosuchexchanges. Yoshikohasalwaysbeeninterestedinfashion,andthroughthefriends shemadeinNewYorkshebegantobringthefashionnewstoJapan.Using our newest U-Matic video tape recorder, she has interviewed fashion designerssuchasBillBlass,OscardelaRenta,thelatePerryEllis,andothers andhasvideotapedtheirfashions.WhenwemovedbacktoJapan,shedida televisionshowonfashionforabouttenyears,travelingtothefashioncenters abroadandbringingbackinterviewsandintroducingnewideastoJapan, whichwasthenbehindthetimesinfashionawarenessandnotthefashion leaderitistoday. AlthoughwehadplannedtostaytwoyearsinNewYork,ourvisitwas cutshortbytheunexpecteddeathofmyfather.Hehadrelievedmeofthe responsibilityforthefamilybusinessafterthewar,butIremainedtheeldest sonandnowIwastheheadoftheMoritafamilyanditsfortunes,andsoIhad tobebackinTokyo.IleftNewYorkimmediately,andYoshikoclearedout theapartmentinoneday,rusheduptoCampWinonaandbroughtthechildren backtoNewYork,tiedupallthelooseends,sentthebaggageahead,andwas

backinJapanwithinaweek.Thechildrenwerenothappytobeleavingcamp ortheUnitedStates;theysaidtheywerejustgettingtoenjoyitandtofeelat home.ThechildrentookuptheireducationforatimebackinJapan,butthen wefoundschoolsforthemabroad,HideoandMasaoinEnglandandNaoko inSwitzerland. Adeathinthefamilymakesyouexamineyourlifeandthefutureofthe family.Wheremychildrenwereconcerned,Ifeltverystronglythatthenew postwareducationalsysteminJapanlackeddiscipline.Theteachers,with someimportantexceptions,didnothavethedignitytheyoncehadandwere notgiventhestatustheyshouldhaveinsociety.Theleftistteachers’union andpressurefromPTAgroupshadwatereddownthequalityofeducation, andstudyforexaminationswasnothingbutroteapplication. When I attended middle school, discipline was very strict, and this includedourphysicalaswellasourmentaltraining.Ourclassroomswere verycoldinwinter;wedidn’tevenhaveaheater;andwewerenotallowedto wearextraclothes.Inthenavy,Ihadhardtraining,eventhoughIonlyhadto undergofourmonthsofitinbootcamp,buteverymorningwehadtoruna long way before breakfast. In those days I did not think of myself as a physicallystrongperson,andyetundersuchstricttrainingIfoundIwasnot soweakafterall,andtheknowledgeofmyownabilitygavemeconfidencein myselfthatIdidnothavebefore.Itisthesamewithmentaldiscipline;unless youareforcedtouseyourmind,youbecomementallylazyandyouwill neverfulfillyourpotential. WhenIwastravelingabroad,IrealizedthatinBritainsomeofthose traditionalschoolsstillexisted.MostAmericanschoolsseemedmuchtoo permissivetome.Inmyowncase,IhadahardtimelearningEnglish,andI knew that in the future the world would become smaller and smaller as airplanesbecamefasterandascommunicationsimproved,soIwantedallmy childrentospeakEnglishandlearnhowtoworkunderstrongself-discipline. IhadbeenthinkingaboutthissincemyveryfirsttriptotheU.S.and Europeelevenyearsbefore.WhenIlefttheUnitedStatesfortheEuropean partofthetrip,IwasveryhesitanttousemyEnglish,butwhenIgottothe Continent I realized that many other travelers from America and other countriescouldnotspeakthelanguagesoftheEuropeancountriestheywere visiting,andsoIwasemboldenedtospeaksomeEnglish.Imetmanypeople ontrainswhospokenoneofthelocallanguages,orevenlessthanIknewof English,andIrealizedthatnotspeakingfluentGerman,forexample,putall ofusinthesameboat. SoIstartedtousemyjuniorhighschoolEnglishandthebitsIknewof GermanandFrench,andIdiscoveredIcouldcommunicate.Suddenlyagroup

of travelers on a train found everybody had the same problems. We had Englishincommonthough,andeventhoughminewasrudimentary,itwas goodenoughtobeunderstoodanditwasaccepted.WhenIreturnedtoNew YorkafterthattriptoEurope,IsurprisedeverybodybyspeakingEnglish.My JapanesefriendShidoYamada,whohaddonetheinterpretingformewhileI

was closing the transistor licensing deal prior to leaving for Europe, was astounded.BeforeIlefttheStates,IspokeonlyJapanesewithhimandduring allthenegotiations.Now,amonthlater,IwasspeakingEnglish!Hethought

forawhilethatIhadlearnedEnglishduringmymonth-longvisittonon-

English-speakingcountriesinEurope.Actually,Iexplainedtohim,itwasjust amatterofgainingenoughconfidence,andtheEuropeantripgavemethat confidence. Duringmysearchforschools,manyofmyBritishfriendstoldmeabout theprepschoolatAtlanticCollege,andIwantedtosendmyoldestson, Hideo,there,butitdidn’tworkoutbecausehewasalreadyayeartoooldfor theprepschool.WhenthechildrencamehomefromAmerica,wedecidedto putthembackonegradeinJapantomakecertaintheygotalltheessentials, Japaneselanguageandhistory,andsoon. MywifeandIspentalotoftimeinBritainlookingforaschoolfor Hideo,whowasinhissecondyearofhighschoolthen.Yoshikomadequitea scienceofit,travelingallaroundBritainwithafriend,thewifeofoneofour executivesbasedinLondon,MidoriNamiki,afamousTVpersonalityfor quiteawhileinJapanwhenshewasthefirsthostessoftheJapaneseversion ofthechildren’sprogram“RomperRoom.” (ItwasironicthatwehadMidoriandherhusband,MasaNamiki,withus on our school search in Britain. You see, when we were developing ChromatroncolorTV,“RomperRoom”wastheonlydaytimeprogramon Japanese television that was broadcast in color. No matter what we were doinginthosedays,whensomeonewouldyell,“Hey,it’steno’clock!”we wouldallrushtothelabtoseehowourexperimentalsetswereperforming. Gettinggenuine,naturalcolor,especiallythefleshtones,wascrucial,andsoI wouldcheckthecolorsverycarefully.InfactIhadscrutinizedMrs.Namiki’s facetothesmallestdetail,andIhavejokedwithherhusbandthatmaybeI havelookedathermorecloselythanhe,atleastwhenshewasonTV.) IthinkYoshikoandMidorivisitedmorethanadozenboardingschools in Britain before she found the school she was looking for, a two-year boardingschoolthattookonlyfiftystudents.Hideofounditverydifficult,but heappliedhimself,andinthesecondyearhewasnamedHeadBoy.Hetook AandOlevelsandwasacceptedattwoBritishuniversities.Butbecauseof hisweaknessinsubjectslikeEuropeanhistoryandliterature,theyaccepted

himonlyinscience,andhedidn’twantthat.“Idon’twanttocompetewith

myfather,”hesaid.Hewasmoreinterestedineconomics.

Masao jokes that he was forced into going to Atlantic College. The headmaster,AdmiralHall,wasvisitingJapanandhadbeenreferredtome whilehewaslookingforfunding.IthappenedthatMasaohadadayofffrom schoolandwasvisitingmeintheofficewhenAdmiralHallwasthere.“Iwas trapped,”Masaosaysnow.Hewasinterviewedandtestedonthespotand givenanacceptance.

AtlanticCollegeisaninterestingplace,locatedinaone-hundred-and-

thirty-five-room castle on a small estate at St. Donat’s in southern GlamorganshireCounty,Wales,aboutfiftymilesfromCardiff.Itwasbuiltin theeleventhcentury,anditsownerskeptaddingtoit.TheAmericanpress

magnate,WilliamRandolphHearst,boughtthecastleabout1934andadded

tenniscourtsandahugeswimmingpool.ThemovieactressMarionDavies, Hearst’smistress,oncesaidthatwhensheandW.R.,asshereferredtohim, wouldarriveforoneoftheirrarevisits,aboutfortyWelshsingerswearing highsilkhatsandlacedresseswouldlineuponthelawntosingawelcome

forthem.In1938Hearstputitupforsale,buttheBritishArmyrequisitioned

itforofficertrainingduringthewar.In1960itwasboughtbyarichdonor

andgiventotheschool.Masaospenttwoyearsthere,graduated,andwas acceptedatGeorgetownUniversityinWashington,D.C.Hideocamebackto collegeinJapan.ForatimeIconsideredstartingacattleranchinBrazil,and Hideowasinterestedinmanagingit,sohetransferredtotheUniversityof CaliforniaatDavis,wherehestudiedagriculturaleconomicsfortwoyears beforereturningtograduatefromAshiyaUniversityhereinJapan.Ineverdid buytheranch,though. Naokohadamorecomplicatedschoolingthantheboys.Atfirstshesaid shedidn’twanttogotocollege,whichwaspartiallymyfaultbecauseIhad writtenabookcalledNeverMindSchoolRecords,akindoftractagainst overemphasisoncollegetiesinthebusinessworldinJapan.Iestablisheda policyatmycompanyofdisregardingschoolrecordsonceanemployeewas hiredsothatnobodywouldbetemptedtojudgeapersononhisacademic backgroundratherthanonhisprovenabilityandperformanceorwhathis potentialseemedtobe.Thisisbecausesomuchemphasis—toomuch—is placedonthemerenameoftheuniversityyouattendinJapan. Naoko studied French in high school and then we found a finishing school in Lausanne, Switzerland, for her. But although she was very successfulacademically(shealsowonanawardasanoutstandingvolleyball andbasketballplayer),shefelttheFrenchlanguageasspokenbytheSwiss wasnotthepureParisiandialectshewantedtospeak,sowesenthertoParis,

whereshestayedayearandacquiredtheaccentshewanted.Englishwas next,andsoshecametoWashingtonandenrolledinlanguageclassesat Georgetown,whereMasaowasstudyingatthetime.Shelaterstudiedfashion design in Los Angeles, and when she came home she was completely cosmopolitan.Whenshewentaway,Naokowasveryshy,andwhenshecame backtousshewasfullofcheer,livelyandconfident.Sheandherhusband,a salesengineerforKyotoCeramics(Kyocera),haverecentlybeentransferred fromCaliforniabacktoTokyo. Ihavelearnedalotfrommychildren’seducation,too,mainlythatthe exposuretootherculturesteachesaninsularJapanesethatheisJapaneseand intheminorityintheworld.HelearnstoappreciatehisJapanese-ness,but alsotounderstandthathemustfitintotheworld,andnottheotherway around.Yoshikosaysthatoneoftheimportantthingstobelearnedisthat “foreigners” are individually different, have different ideas, different religions,differentbackgrounds.Andsoourexcursionabroadopenedthe mindsoftheMoritafamily,andwecanfeelcomfortableanywhereinthe world,thoughJapanisourtruehome.

V

Iwastravelingmorethaneverduringthemiddlesixties.AtSonywehad beendeeplyinvolvedinvideoevenbeforeItookupresidenceintheUnited States.Theideaofvideotaperecordersforhomeusehadbeeninourminds andonourdrawingboardsforacoupleofyears.Television,stillblackand white,wasboomingeverywhereandweweresellingasmanysetsaswe couldmake.AmpexinAmericawasmakinglargevideotaperecordersfor broadcastuse,andithadstruckIbukaandmethatthereshouldbenoreason whypeoplewouldnotwanttohaveavideorecorderathomejustastheyhad audiotaperecordersforhome,personaluse.Weweresupportedinthisbelief bysomeveryprogressiveyoungstaffersandassociates.Oneofthemwas NorioOhga,whohadbeenavocalartsstudentattheTokyoUniversityof

Artswhenhesawourfirstaudiotaperecorderbackin1950.Ihadhadmyeye

onhimforallthoseyearsbecauseofhisboldcriticismofourfirstmachine. Hewasagreatchampionofthetaperecorder,buthewasseverewithus becausehedidn’tthinkourearlymachinewasgoodenough.Ithadtoomuch wowandflutter,hesaid.Hewasright,ofcourse;ourfirstmachinewasrather primitive.Weinvitedhimtobeapaidcriticevenwhilehewasstillinschool. Hisideaswereverychallenging.Hesaidthen,“Aballetdancerneedsamirror toperfectherstyle,hertechnique.Asingerneedsthesame—anauralmirror.” (OhgaisnowthepresidentofSony.)Theideaofamirrorisveryapt.Wehad onekindofmirrorintheaudiotaperecorder,andwithvideowehadaneven bettermirrorthanthemereaudiotape.Ifonlywecouldperfectit. ThefirstAmpexvideotapeunitsforbroadcastingstationswerehuge, almostfillingaroom,andtheycostonehundredthousanddollarsandmore. Theyusedtwo-inch-widetapeinopenreels,andthatwasreallycumbersome. Wehadtodesignasmallsystemthatpeoplecouldinstallintheirhomesand weknewitwouldtakealongtime.Webuiltseveralmodels,eachonesmaller thanthelast,startingwithtwo-inchtapeinanopenreelmachine,whichwe putintoPanAmandAmericanAirlinesplanesforpassengerentertainment backintheearlysixties.Thenwebroughtthetapesizedowntothree-quarters ofaninchandbuiltacassettetohandlethetape,likeanaudiocassettebut

muchbigger.WecalleditU-Matic,andsinceweintroduceditin1969ithas

becomethestandardallovertheworld,replacingthebigtwo-inchunitsin broadcastingstations. TheU-Maticmachinealsobecameanindustrialmachine.FordMotor Company bought five thousand units for use in their agencies, to train

mechanicsandsalesmen.Manythousandsoftheseunitswereputintouseby othercompaniesforthetrainingoftechniciansandsalespersonnelandare stillbeingmanufactured,sold,andusedtoday,allovertheworld.Itisthe mostpopularmachineofitskindinbroadcasting.Wewereactuallyabit surprisedatthespeedwithwhichourvideotapecamerasandU-Maticsystems replaced sixteen-millimeter film in broadcasting stations. Electronic news gathering,ENGasitcametobeknown,cameaboutbecausethemachinery wassopractical.Thecamerasaresmallandeasytohandle;withvideotape thereisnolosttimebetweenshootingandediting;andnohighcostswere neededtobuildandmaintainfilmprocessinglabs. ButIbukawasnotsatisfied.Thismachinewouldneverbeahomeunit becauseitwasstillexpensiveandmuchtoobig.Usinghalf-inchtape,we producedtheworld’sfirstall-transistorvideotaperecorderforhomeuse,and wekeptaddingmodels,butIbukawasneversatisfied.Hewantedatruly smallunitwithaveryhandycassette.Hereturnedtotheofficeonedayfroma triptotheUnitedStates,andhecalledtogetherthevideodevelopmentgroup. Heemphasizedthatthehomevideotaperecorderwasthemostimportant projectathandandthatthesizeoftheunitwascrucial.Hereachedintohis pocket,tookoutapaperbackbookhehadboughtattheairportinNewYork, andplaceditonthetable.“ThisisthesizeIneedforthecassette,”hesaid. “Thisisyourtarget.Iwantatleastonehourofprogramtimeonacassette thatsize.”ThatwasthechallengethatcreatedtheoriginalBetamaxsystem. Intelevision,colorwasthething.Wehadalotofexperiencewithblack andwhite,butcolorwasquiteanewstoryforus.Intheearlysixties,there wasalotofdevelopmentgoingoninthecolorfield,andalthoughtheRCA shadowmasksystembecamethestandardpickedbytheFCC,Ibukathought we ought to reinvent color TV ourselves. We were behind many of our competitors with color, but we wanted something new, something better. IbukawantedtostudyTVfromthebasicprinciples.WedidnotlikeCBS’s rotatingfilterdesignortheRCAshadowmaskdesign.Therewasanother system, invented by Professor Ernest O. Lawrence of the University of California, that looked intriguing. Lawrence was the physicist who had inventedthecyclotron.HiscolorpicturetubewascalledChromatron,andit differedconsiderablyfromtheotherdesigns.Theconceptwastechnically veryinteresting,ifcomplex,andwhenthesystemwasadjustedproperlyit wasextremelybrightandefficient.Wecommittedourselvestoitveryearly

bybuyingalicensein1962fromParamountPictures,whichheldthepatent,

althoughweknewthatproductioncostsforthepicturetubewouldbehigh

andthattherewouldbemanytechnicalproblems.Weonlymadethirteen

thousandChromatronsets,allofthemsoldinJapan,beforewegaveup.

Meanwhile,wehadbeenworkingonourowntube,anewideathatwefinally calledTrinitron. Ourcompetitorswereusingasysteminwhichthreeseparateelectron gunsatthebackofthepicturetubeemittedtheTVpictureintheformofa seriesofred,green,andblueelectronbeamsfocusedbylensesattheshadow mask,aplatewithmanyholeslocatedbehindthefaceofthepicturetube.The electronbeamshadtobefocusedontheholesinthemask,andtheyhadto passtothefaceofthepicturetube,wheretheycreatedthepictureasthey activatedthecoloredphosphorontheinsideofthefaceofthetube.The Chromatron system used one gun instead of three to generate the three electronbeams,andasetofthinwiresinsteadofashadowmaskpermitted

more of the electron beams to reach the face of the picture tube, where, insteadofdots,stripsofcoloredphosphorwereused.Thissystemgavea muchbrighterpicturethananyoftheothers,butthereweremanytechnical problems.Highvoltage,switchingonandoff,hadtobeappliedtothewires, andwehadtroublegettingittoworkreliablyfromthebeginning.Butwhile weweretryingtofixit,wewereworkingfeverishlyonourownnewsystem. Ibukaneverwantedtosettleforsomebodyelse’sdesign,andevenaswetried tomakeChromatronwork,hespentlonghoursinthelabworkingsideby sidewiththeengineersonChromatronandalsoonthenewsystemwewere tryingtodevelop. Werevisedthethree-gun“delta”system,packagingallthreeintoone thatemittedthreeelectronbeamsasintheChromatrontube,butwefocused themwithonelargelensinsteadofaseriesoflenses.Weweregoingfor compactnessandefficiency.Insteadofagrillecomposedofacomplicatedset ofwiresortheshadowmask,weproducedasimple,low-costmetalgrille, actuallyaplatewithlongslotsetchedinit.

Oursystemgaveus30percentmoretransparency—inoursystemmore

ofthebeamsstruckthefaceofthetubethanintheshadowmasksystem.Our

systemwastwiceasbrightandusedlesspower.Webegantomaketwelve-

inchandseven-inchTrinitronsets,andofcoursetheywereexpensive.Itwas ourpolicytochargeapremiumforourproducts.Atanannualmeetingof RCA,PresidentRobertSamoffwasaskedaboutournewcompetitivetube designandhesaidthatonlytheRCAshadowmaskdesign“haspassedthe crucialtestofmassproductiononaneconomicbasis.”WhenIwasasked aboutthiscommentIcouldn’thelpsmiling.“Thesituationisnormal,”Itolda reporterforBusinessWeekmagazine.“Theylaughedwhenweintroduced both the transistor radio and the small TV set.” We had no competition makingsmallcolorTVsets.Itwaspossibletobuyatwenty-three-inchblack andwhitetelevisionsetintheUnitedStatesinabigcabinetforthesamefour

hundreddollarswechargedforourpersonalcolorsetthen.Ipredictedatthe

timethatbytheendoftheyear(itwas1968),therewouldbetenmillion

householdsinAmericawithcolorsets,mostoftheminthelivingroom.ButI believed,andrightly,asitturnedout,thatpeoplewouldwantapersonalized settheycouldtakeintothekitchenorthebedroom,orevenoutdoorsinthe daytime.TogooutontotheAmericanpatioforalunchtimebarbecueorarest inthehammockwithyourTVset,youneedportabilityandaverybright picture,andwehadboth.Ourstrategyofmakingsmallsetswasnotnew.Our

firsttransistorizedblackandwhitesetmadein1959wasbuckingwhatmany

saidwasthemarkettrendforbiggersets.Whenwebeganmakingintegrated circuitsforourproducts,weproducedalittlethree-ounceradioyoucould carryontheendofakeychain,andweevenputaradioinawatch,butthat wasjusttoshowthatitcouldbedone.And,ofcourse,newtechnologyforTV nowenablesustomakeatelevisionsetyoucancarryinyourpocket.Oh,yes, asforoureffortsindevisingourowncolorTVsystem,wewereverypleased

in1972when,intheU.S.,theNationalAcademyofTelevisionArtsand

SciencesawardedSonyanEmmyforthedevelopmentofTrinitron.Itwasthe firsttimeanEmmyhadbeengivenforaproduct.Sonyreceivedasecond

Emmy,in1976,fortheU-Maticvideotaperecordingsystem.

VI

Ourbusinessathomeandoverseaswasbooming.Wehadbeguntomake

desktopcalculatorsin1964,andIthoughtthiswouldbeagoodadditionto

ourproductline.Wedemonstratedwhatweconsideredtobetheworld’sfirst

solid-statedesktopcalculatorattheNewYorkWorld’sFairinMarchof1964.

Iwenttheretodemonstrateit,somethingIhavealwaysenjoyeddoing.(In fact,onedayinNewYorkIwasdemonstratingourvideocameratoareporter fromNewYorkTimeswhenIheardfireenginesoutside.Ilookedoutthe windowandsawsmokecomingfromourownbasement,soIgrabbedthe cameraandfilmedthesceneasthefirefightersarrived,thenplayeditback for the reporter immediately. It was the most convincing demonstration I couldhavegiven.) WelatermarketedaspecialcalculatormodelwecalledSOBAX,which stoodfor“solidstateabacus.”ButIsoonrealizedthatseveraldozenJapanese companieshadjumpedintothebusinessofmakingcalculators,andIknew theshakeoutwouldcomesoonerorlaterthroughaverybrutalpricewar.That isthewayitisontheJapanesemarket,anditwasjustthekindofthingwe havealwayswantedtoavoid.Whenitbecameobviousthatotherswouldbe discounting dangerously to get a share of the market, we gave up the calculatorbusiness. Mypredictionwasright.Manycalculatormakerswentbankruptand othersjustgotoutofthemarket,takingabigloss.Todaythereareonlythree majormakersofcalculators,andinawayIhavebeenvindicated.Therewas stillmuchtobedoneinaudio,television,andvideotokeepuschallenged, andwewerealwayslookingfornewapplications. But I must say here that, on reflection, I was probably too hasty in makingthedecisiontogetoutofcalculators.IconfessthattodayIthinkit showedalackoftechnicalforesightonmypart,justthethingIthinkwehave beengoodat.Hadwestayedwithcalculators,wemighthavedevelopedearly expertiseindigitaltechnology,foruselaterinpersonalcomputersandaudio andvideoapplications,andwecouldhavehadthejumponourcompetition. Asthingsdeveloped,wehadtoacquirethistechnologylater,eventhoughwe oncehadthebasisforitrightin-house.Sofromabusinessviewpointwewere rightintheshortterm,butinthelongtermwemadeamistake.Fortunately,I haven’tmadetoomanyofthosewrongshort-termdecisions.

In1964,businesswassogoodthatwehadtoopenanewtelevision

assemblyplanttomeetthedemandforcolorsetsbecauseJapanwashosting

theSummerOlympicGamesthatyearanditseemedasthougheveryfamily inthecountryhadtohaveacolorTVsetonwhichtowatchthegames.The televised wedding of Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko had stimulatedblackandwhiteTVsalesafewyearsbefore.Infacttheexcitement abouttheOlympicsgavetheentirenationakindofunifiednationalgoal.The Olympicsgalvanizedthecountryintomakingmanyimportantandneeded improvements.Tokyo’sexpresswaysystemandthehigh-speedbullettrain wereneededlongbeforetheOlympicgameswerescheduled,butwhenJapan bidforthegamesandwasawardedthehonor,itwasobviousthattheroad systemcouldnothandlethecomingtraffic,andthesightofJapan’slegendary trafficjams,whichstretchedformilesthroughcitystreets,andsometimes remainedgridlockedforhours,wouldhavebeentoohumiliatingforJapanto tolerateoninternationaltelevision,andsotheexpresswaysystemwasbuiltin recordtime. OurplannersalsorealizedthattheinfluxoftouristsduringtheOlympics andafterwardwouldincludethousandswhowerevisitingJapanforthefirst timeandwouldwanttoseetheancientcapitalofKyoto,thecommercial centerofOsaka,andotherplacesalongthePacificcorridorwestofTokyoto HiroshimaandthesouthernislandofKyushu.Thesepeoplewouldbadly straintheexistingrailsystem,whichneededimprovementanyway,andsothe latesttechnologywasblendedtoproducethecomputerizedhigh-speedrail systemcalledShinkansen.Todaytheso-calledbullettrainsonthatoriginal lineleaveTokyoStationeverytwentyminutes.Visitorsstillmarvelatthe smoothone-hundred-and-fifty-five-miles-per-hourridetheygetonthebullet train,althoughthatsystemhasbeeninserviceformorethantwentyyears. Newlineshavebeenopenedtothenorthernpartsofthecountry,whilethe next generation of high-speed trains is being readied, a train floating magneticallyandpropelledbyalinearmotorattwicethespeedofthebullet trains—andconsiderablyfasterthanFrance’shigh-speedTGV. Alsointhatpre-Olympiccampaignforimprovements,Tokyo’sHaneda Airport was modernized and expanded, new hotels were built, new landscaping helped to beautify the city, and many private citizens and Japanese companies developed projects and new products keyed to the Olympics.Theauthoritiesrecognizedthatthenoisyblowingofautomobile andtruckhornswasabadpollutionproblemthatwouldbeembarrassingfor Japan as well, and so they took this national drive for change and improvementasanopportunitytoquietthecitybyoutlawingneedlesshorn blowing. Thiskindofmodernizationdrivekeyedtoanationaleventisnotunique

toJapan,butitworkedexceptionallywell.In1972whenthecapitalcityof

SapporoinHokkaidowashosttotheOlympicwintergames,thecitywent

throughasimilarmajormodernizationprogram,includingtheconstructionof

itsfirstsubwaysystem,andvisitorstothecityduringtheOlympicsmarveled

atthechangesthathadtakenplace.Withthephysicalmodernizationalso

cameanincreasedsenseofcivicprideinacitythathadcaughtupwiththe

modern era, leaving much of its provincial past behind. Sapporo citizens becamemoresophisticatedandbegantotakeabroaderoutlooktowardthe restofthenationandtheworldoutside. Forme,itwasbecomingmoreandmoreimportanttokeeptraveling abroadthroughthelatesixtiesandvisitingourgrowingnetworkofproduction andresearchfacilitiesinJapan.Theredidn’tseemtobeenoughhoursinthe day,andsoitseemedlogicalforourcompanytohaveacompanyplaneand laterahelicopter.ThisisinitselfararityinJapan,eventoday,wheregeneral aviation lags far behind that of the United States. But I soon had the advantageofbeingabletodecide,forthesakeofefficiency,whethertotravel

byroadorair.TodayIhaveacomfortableblueMercedes380SELinTokyo

andSonyhasAerospatiale350and355helicopters.(Wearethesalesagents

forAerospatialeinJapan.)OrIcantaketheFalconjet,asIhave,toChinaor elsewhere,althoughIalmostalwaysflycommerciallyoverseas.(Wearealso thesalesagentsforFalconinJapan.WhenIamintheStatesIsometimesfly

aFalcon50orFalcon100.)

AlthoughIstoppedcountingmytripsoverthePacificalongtimeago, lengthyflightsarenotastiringtomeastomanyothers.Isleepwonderfully onplanes;infact,IsometimesgetbetterrestintheairthanIcaninahotel room.Ibringasmallboxofsushionboardwithme,justsimplevinegared riceandrawfish,andIdrinkonesmallbottleofsake.Ithenwrapmyselfina blanket,tellthestewardessnottowakemeformealsordrinksormovies,and Igoofftosleepimmediately,almostlikeAdolphGrossatMyFairLady. IusuallyleaveTokyointheearlyevening,arrivinginNewYorkthe sameevening(itisthesamedaybecauseoftheinternationaldateline,even thoughtheflighttimeisabouttwelvehours).AfterIarriveinNewYork,Itry

toplayaboutanhourandahalfoftennis,thenIsleepagainuntilabout4

A.M.,whenIwakeupandbeginreadingmybusinesspaperssothatIwillbe

readyfortheday’sworkattheopeningofbusiness.Iamalwayspartiallyjet-

lagged,soItrytosleepasmuchasIcan,becauseIcanneverreallycatchup withthelagbeforeImustmakeanothertrip. I thought my activities as chairman of the Electrical Industries

AssociationofJapan(EIAJ)wouldslowdownmytravelsabitin1985,butI

stillmanagedtocramsomereallyrapidglobe-hoppingtripsintotheschedule.

Atrip,forexample,fromTokyotoNewYork,toLondon,fromLondonto

LosAngelesandthentoHawaii,andfromHawaiitoLosAngelestoParis andbacktoTokyoinlessthantwoweeksisnotunusualforme. TravelinglikethatIhadtodevisewaystocopewithmyworkload.With half our business abroad and with our own corporate style as a product innovator,therewasnomodelIcouldfollow,soIjusthadtocomeupwitha systemthatsuitedmeandwithwhichIcouldlive.Nowwithcommunication systemsimprovingallthetime,itispossibletobeintouchwhereveryouare, andIhavebeencalledaphonefreakbecauseIspendsomuchtimeonthe telephone.Sinceourbusinessisworldwide,whenIaminNewYork,say,

awakeinmyhotelroomat4A.M.,itisinthemidstofsomeSonyperson’s

businessdaysomewhereintheworld,andIcanalwayscall. Iamapersonwholoveshiswork,butIenjoyplayalso—Itookup tennisatagefifty-fiveanddownhillskiingatsixty,andatsixty-fourIwent backtowaterskiing,butIfinditveryhardonthethighs.Ihaveplayedgolf foralmostfortyyears,andIstillenjoythegamewithasixteenhandicap. EveryTuesdaymorningwehaveanexecutivecommitteemeetinginTokyo, andifIaminJapanImakeitapointtoattend,butfirstIplayseveralsetsof tennisfromseventonineo’clockinthemorningattheindoorcourtsnearthe office.Mybrother,Masaaki,whoisdeputypresidentofSony,isalsofondof thegame,andsoIplaywithhimsometimesandwithotherSonyexecutives.I liketoplaysportswithyoungpeoplebecauseIgetideasfromthemandthey givemeafreshslantonalmosteverything.Ithinkitisgoodformyspirit,too, tobewithyoungpeoplewhoareenthusiastic. SinceIhavebeenplayingtennis,Inoticemyreflexesareimproving,and thispleasesme,becausewhenyoustarttoage,thereflexesandreactionstend toslowdown.Itmaymeanthemindisgoing,also,althoughIhopenot. WhenIbegantoplayImissedtheballalot,butnowIfindIcanreturnvery fastserves.OfcourseIdon’tplaysinglesanymore.InoticedwhenIbeganto ski that my balance wasn’t too good, but it has improved also. Every executiveshouldbeawareoftheneedforthiskindofvigorousexercise,not onlyfortheheartbutalsoforthemindandthesenseofconfidenceitgives you.Itisimportanttomaintainconfidenceinyourself. Flyingisacaseinpointforme.Ononeofmyfirstridesinthecompany helicopter,InotedthatthepilotwasolderthanIwas,anditoccurredtome thatifanythinghappenedtohimwhilewewereflyingwewouldcrash.It wouldbesillyformetositthereinthebackseatandworry,Ithought.SoI tookoutalearner’spermit,climbedintothecopilot’sseat,andlearnedhowto flyahelicopter,justincase.AslongasIflywithapilotwhoisalsoa licensedinstructorinhelicoptersorfixed-wingaircraft,Icanlegallyhandle thecontrolsofeitherwithouthavingtogetmypilot’slicense,soallourpilots

areinstructor-rated.Ikeepmylicenserenewedeachyear,notbecauseIintend toflythehelicopteronanytrips,butjustincaseIhavetotakeover;Idonot wanttobehelpless.Ifeelgoodwiththeconfidencethatcomeswithknowing Icanlandthething. One time when I was flying by helicopter from Geneva in an

Aerospatiale350,Isaidtothepilot,“Thisisthesamehelicopterasours,”and

hesaid,“IsawyouattheairportinParisandIthoughtyouwereapilotas wellasanexecutive.Here,youtakeit.”Ididn’twanttotakeofffromGeneva airportbymyselfsoIaskedhimtotakeoff,andthenItookoverforawhile.I likehelicoptersalot;theyaremoredifficulttoflythanafixed-wingplaneas farasbalanceandstabilityisconcerned,butit’sreallyfunbecauseofthe maneuverabilityadvantagethehelicopterhasoverafixed-wingplane. Every day I am given homework by my secretaries. I have two fiberboardboxeswithmealways—oneisblack,theotherreddish.Theblack onecontainsallthedomesticmaterialImustdealwithandthereddishoneis allinternational.Ihavefoursecretaries,twoworkingoninternationalandtwo

on domestic matters. In the daytime I have no time to read any papers, becauseIreceiveandmakesomanyphonecallsandtalktovisitorsandhave conferences—somepeoplesaythemainthingJapaneseexecutivesdoishold meetings.ThepapersandletterskeepcomingwhetherIcankeepupwith themornot,sobeforeIcangohomeIhavetoworkmywaythroughboth thoseboxeseachday.TheblackboxmaycontainpapersaboutSonybusiness, production,andsalesreports,orqueries,orhavesomethingtodowithmy EIAJwork,orotheractivitiesintheKeidanren,orFederationofEconomic Organizations,suchastheinternationalinvestmentandtechnicalcommittees, whichIchair.Myinternationalboxmayincludeinvitationstospeakinthe UnitedStatesorEuropeorsomewhereelse,somedetailsofproblemsornew plansformarketingoradvertising,ortentativeschedulesforanewtrip,and lettersfromfriendsandbusinessassociatesoverseas. Also,wehaveasectionatSonycalledtheOutsideLiaisonSection, whichworksalmostexclusivelyforme.Inthissection,wehavespecialistsin

eachoftheareasIaminvolvedinsuchastheEIAJ,theKeidanren,theJapan-

U.S.Businessmen’sConference,andthevariouscouncilsIbelongto.Oneis full-time in charge of my Keidanren affairs, another with EIAJ, and still anotherwithgovernmentliaison.Ialsohaveanassistanttohelpmedraft speeches,althoughIrarelyspeakfromatext.Myboxesalsohavememos frommystaff,evennewspaperclippings.Mysecretariesknowhowtoreach mewhereverIamanywhereintheworld.MyNewYorksecretaryandmy Tokyosecretarycanalwaysfindme.OnetimeIwasskiinginthemountains nearKaruizawainJapan,tryingtotakethreeconsecutivedaysoff,butit

didn’tworkout.Iwaspagedontheslopes.(Usuallymystaffpeopletryto solveproblemswithoutme;theydidthisonlybecausetheycouldn’tanswer forme.) IsometimesgetcallsfromtheUnitedStatesaboutcongressionalmatters thatmightaffectSony,andallsortsofpersonalcallsaswell.Ihavefive telephonelinesinmyhome,twoofthemexclusivelyformyuse.Ialsohave my own special phones at our apartment in Hawaii, at our apartment in MuseumTowerinNewYork,andatourcountryhouseatLakeAshinear MountFuji. Theneedforthespecialphonelinesoriginallycameaboutwhenwehad acoupleofteenagersathome,butwestillkeeptheextraphonesbecauseit won’tbetoolongbeforeourgrandchildrenwillbeusingthem.Havingtwo linesexclusivelyformeisessentialbecauseIcanusethesecondlinetoget informationImightneedwhileIamholdingacalleronthefirstline.Ijust had a second line installed in my car. I also insist that every company executive when he takes office gets a special twenty-four-hour hot line installedinhishomesothatheisalwaysreachable. Even though I am constantly busy with work, I try to take short vacationswhenIcan.InthewinterIskieveryweekend,andIplaytennison summerweekends.DuringtheNewYearholidaysIusuallyspendsevenor eightdaysinHawaiiplayinggolfandtennis.WeoftengototheEastermusic festivalatSalzburg,andtheWagnerfestivalatBayreuth,andIusuallyrenta MercedesinMunichanddrivethere.It’saboutonehundredandfifty-five miles,andsometimesmywifespellsmeatthewheel.Wedon’tgetallthat muchchancetodriveinJapan,andcertainlynochancetodriveasfastasyou caninGermany,butIhaveaveryresponsiveToyotaSoarerthatweoftenuse todrivetoourweekendcottageinthemountains. Iliketotravelfast,althoughIdon’tconsidermyselfaspeeddemon.One timewhenYoshikoandIwereinBayreuthfortheWagnerfestival,theopera singer Peter Hoffman showed me his pride and joy, a twelve-hundred-cc Hondamotorcycle.ThishugeandpowerfulmachineisnotavailableinJapan, butismuchindemandinGermanywheretheyhavenospeedlimitsonthe autobahn.Heinvitedmetodriveit,butIdeclined,sayingIwouldpreferto ridewithhim,andoffwewentforaspin.Atonehundredandfortymilesan hourIcouldhardlyholdon,eventhoughIhadmyarmslockedaroundhim, butitwasexciting. Whenwegotbackanddismounted,heaskedmeifIwouldliketoridein anaerobaticplane.OfcourseIsaidyes—itwassomethingIhadnotdone before.Weallclimbedintothecaranddroveouttotheairport,wherewemet hisfriendwhowasaGermanaerobaticschampion.Heinvitedmetogoup

withhim,andIofcoursejumpedatthechance.WhenIwassettledinthe cockpithesaid,“I’Dwatchyouandifyougetsickwewillland.”I’venever beensickinaplane,soIjustnodded. Assoonaswetookoff,hehandedthecontrolstomeandtoldmeto climbtofourthousandfeet,whichIdid.WhenIleveledoff,hetookoverand withoutanywarningwentintohisprogram—insideandoutsideloops,snap rolls,barrelrolls,stalls,spins,allofit.Itseemedtogoonforhours,andIwas constantlyinvoluntarilyreachingformyseatbelttohavesomethingtohold onto.Ihaveaverystrongstomach,butIwashappywhenhesignaledwe weregoingdown.AsweturnedintowhatIthoughtwasourfinalapproach, IcouldseeYoshikoandPeterHoffmanwaitingforusonthetarmac,smiling andwaving. Butjustaswecameovertheedgeoftherunway,herolledtheplane upsidedownataboutfiftyfeetandgunnedit.WeweresolowIfeltlikemy headwasalmostscrapingtherunway.Mywifesaidshecouldseemyhair hangingstraightdownaswewhizzedby.Igetakickoutofrollercoasters andsuchthings,whichlastaboutthreeminutes.YoshikoandIbothrodethe

stand-uprollercoasteratScienceExpo’85inJapan.Butthirtyminutesof

aerobaticswasthelongestthrillIhavehad,alittletoolong.Imustconfess mylegswereveryshakywhenIfinallyclimbedoutofthelittlestuntplane, andmythankyoumayhavesoundedabithollow. I enjoy being in Europe, especially for the music and the great musicians, many of whom I have come to know very well through our productsandthroughmutualfriendsinbusinessaswellasinthearts.In 1966, when Maestro Herbert von Karajan was conducting in Tokyo, we becameclosefriends.Hedidnotremembermeetingmebefore,butonmytrip

toEuropein1953IcalledonhimwhenIvisitedVienna.AtthattimeVienna

wasstillunderoccupationbytheAlliedPowers,andIhadtogetspecial permissioninLondontogothere. IhadjustseenthefilmTheThirdMan,whichtakesplaceinVienna,and Ifounditverythrillingtobegoingtothattownofintrigueandmystery.Ihad bookedahotelthroughthetravelagentinNewYork,andIarrivedinthecity atnightandmademywaytothehotel.InthemorningwhenIcamedownfor breakfastIsawredflagsonalmostallthetablesinthediningroom.Ihadn’t realizeditthenightbeforebutnowitwasclearthatIwasintheSovietsector and this hotel was mainly for Russian officers. My friend, a Japanese composernamedShinjiToyama,wasstudyinginViennaatthetimeandhe cametoseemeatthehotel.Hehadaworriedexpressiononhisface.“Why are you staying in the Russian sector?” he whispered, looking around nervously.Ishruggedandstuckitoutforacoupleofdays.Mytravelagent

hadbookedthehotelandIdidn’tknowanythingabouthowtogoabout

changingit.Themaitred’hotelassignedmetoacornertableinthedining

room,whichsuitedmefineatthetime;Ididn’thavetotalktoanybody,just

observe.

IwenttotheViennaPhilharmonicandthereImetthegreatvonKarajan,

whowasalreadyafamousconductor,ofcourse,andheaskedme,“Whatdo

youdo,Mr.Morita?”ItoldhiminverybrokenEnglishthatIwasinthe

electronicsbusinessandthatIwasmakingtaperecorders.“Good,”hesaid.

“DoyouknowMaxGrundig?Youshouldvisithim.”Well,no,Itoldhim,I

didn’tknowMaxGrundigbutIhadvisitedthefamousGrundigelectronics

factoryinGermanybeforeIcametoVienna,andIhadhadnointroductionto

thegreatmanofGermanradio.UnfortunatelyIwasnotgoingbackthatway

onmytrip,butImetGrundigsomeyearslater.VonKarajancomesoftenand

isafrequentguestinourhome.

VII

ThepopularityoftheTokyoandNewYorkSonyshowroomsconvinced me that we needed a real permanent presence in Tokyo’s central district, because our offices and factories were far from where crowds of people move.SoweboughtacornerintheGinzadistrict,atoneofthebusiest intersectionsinthecity,andweputupaneight-storybuilding,whichwasas highaswewereallowedtogounderthebuildingcode.Althoughwecouldn’t goupanyhigher,therewasnohindrancetogoingdownsixstories,whichwe did.Webuiltashoppingcenterandutilityfloors,andwithallthatspaceI decided we could make some special use of a couple of those basement floors.WeweregettingalotofvisitorsinTokyo,anditstruckmethathaving our own restaurant in the building to entertain these guests would be impressive,andwealsomightmakesomemoneyatitbecauseoftheway Japaneseliketoeatoutandentertaininrestaurants.Ittookquiteawhileto decidejustwhatkindofrestaurantweshouldhave. IruledoutaJapanese-stylerestaurant,althoughthatmighthaveseemed logical.IhadjusttakenatriptoKoreaandwastreatedtoKoreanfoodnight afternight,andIrealizedthatatravelingpersonmightlikethelocalfood occasionally,butnoteverynight.Besides,itwouldbedifficulttocompete withthereallygreatoldJapaneserestaurants.Chinesewasalsonotsucha goodidea,Ithought,sincethereweresomanyotherChineserestaurantsin Tokyoandthechefschangejobstoooften.TherewereveryfewFrench-style restaurantsthen,andnoneofthemwasreallyauthentic. IhadtraveledtoFrancefrequentlyandIknewMaxim’sdeParisandits owner,LouisVaudable,andIalsoknewthathecateredthefirst-classmeals forPanAminthosedays,sohemightbeinterestedindoingsomething innovative.IapproachedhimwiththeideaofopeningareplicaofMaxim’sin Tokyo,withauthenticdecor,Frenchchefs,andthesamemenu,wines,table service,andstyleasinParis.Hethoughtitwasafineidea,andsoIsentmy architecttoParis,andwetooktwobasement-levelfloorsoftheSonybuilding andre-createdMaxim’s,whichremainsaspopulartodayaswhenweopened it. I like to think we stimulated the high interest in French food among

restaurateursinTokyobyshowingitcanbedone.In1984LaTourd’Argent

openedabranchinaTokyohotel,andthenumberofFrenchrestaurantsand

smallbistrosinTokyoisgreatandgrowing.VisitorsfromFranceareamazed

tofindsuchgoodFrenchcuisinehere.ThereisevenaJapanesebakerythat

hasabranchinParis,sellingFrenchbreadtotheFrench.

IdecidedweneededashowroominParis,andtomymindithadtobe ontheChampsElysees,whichIthinkisprobablythemostfamousstreetin theworld,evenbetterknown,andevenbusieratnight,thanFifthAvenue. LateatnightFifthAvenueisdesertedexceptforafewbookshops.Butthe ChampsElyseesseemstobefullofstrollersatalmostanyhour. WehadestablishedSonyOverseas,S.A.(SOSA,wecallit)theyearafter we founded Sony America, and we based it in Zug, Switzerland, on the adviceofafriendwhopointedoutthatthetaxsituationinZugwasvery favorable.WebecamethefirstJapanesecompanybasedinZugatatime whenquiteanumberofAmericanfirmswerealreadythere.InLondonand Pariswehadlocalagentstohandleourgoods,butwiththeconfidencewe gaineddoingourownsalesandmarketingintheUnitedStateswedecidedwe shoulddothesameinEurope.Easiersaidthandone.Negotiatingourselves outofthoseagreementswasverytime-consuminganddifficult.Changingthe arrangementwithourLondonagentwasrelativelyeasy,althoughwelost moneythereforalongtime.Mycolleagueatonepointjokinglysuggestedwe might make some money by starting a Japanese bathhouse for tourists, becauseweweregettingfreehotwateranddoinglittlebusiness.Butwhenwe gottoFrance,IbegantorealizethatJapanInc.,asmanyAmericansand Europeans call our government-business relationship, is second-rate comparedtotheFrenchgovernment-businessrelationship,ortheEnglishone forthatmatter. Foronething,IhaveneverheardaJapaneseheadofstateorheadof governmenttrytosellforeigncompaniesonmovingthereordoingbusiness, asPrimeMinisterMargaretThatcherdid.Whenevershehadachance,even duringsummitmeetings,shewouldpromoteEngland,askingwhenNissan MotorsorsomeothercompanywasgoingtobuildafactoryinBritain.Inour case,eventhePrinceofWaleswasinvolvedinthepromotion.Hecameto

Expo’70,andIhadbeenaskedbytheBritishambassadortoputSonyTV

setsinthelivingroomofhissuiteattheBritishembassyinTokyo.Later, whenIwasintroducedtotheprinceatareceptionintheembassyresidence, hethankedmeforprovidingtheTVsetsandthenaskedmeifwehadany intentionofbuildingaplantintheUnitedKingdom.Wedidn’thaveanysuch plansyet,Itoldhim,andhesaidwithasmile,“Well,ifyoushoulddecideto putaplantintheU.K.,don’tforgetmyterritory.” WhenwedidgointotheU.K.,itseemedreasonabletotakealookat Wales, but we looked at many other areas as well, covering all the possibilities.WefinallydiddecideonWalesonthebasisofourneedsfor location, convenience, environment, and so forth, and we set up a manufacturing operation at Bridgend. And when we were ready for the

dedicationin1974,Icontactedtheambassador,whowasthenbackinBritain,

andaskedhimtoapproachthePrinceofWalestoseeifhewouldacceptan invitationtobepresentattheopening. Theprinceacceptedandcame,soweputabigplaqueattheentranceof our factory to commemorate the occasion, in English and Welsh, but not Japanese.Inmyremarksattheopeningceremony,Iremindedhimofour conversation at Expo ’70. “This factory represents a major step in the internationalpolicythatourcompanyhasfollowedsinceitsinception,”Isaid. “Sony’sidealistobeofserviceinternationallythroughitsuniquetechnology andthroughinternationallysharedefforts,suchasthisone,wherethework force,engineers,andsuppliersinthislocalitycanworktogetherwithusto turnoutproductsofhighqualityforanexactingmarket.”Iwentontosaythat IhopedthefactorywouldeventuallybecomeasuppliernotonlytotheBritish marketbutalsotocontinentalEurope,whichitindeedhas.Theprincelater gaveaninterviewtoTheSouthWalesEchoandtoldofourmeetinginTokyo. “Nobodycouldbemoresurprisedthanmyself,”thepaperquotedhimas saying, “when two years later the smile on the face of the inscrutable JapanesechairmanturnedintoanactualfactoryinSouthWales.”Inever thoughtIwasinscrutable,butIwouldn’tdisputeitwithaprince. Afterward,QueenElizabethmadeanofficialvisittoJapanandIhadthe honorofbeingpresentedtoheratthereceptionattheBritishembassy.She askedmewhetherthestoryaboutPrinceCharles’srecommendationforthe plant’ssitewastrue.Isaiditwasatruestoryandshewasverypleased.When IvisitedLondonfortheofficialopeningoftheJapanStyleexhibitionatthe VictoriaandAlbertMuseumafewyearslater,Imetthequeenagainandhad achancetoreportonourprogress.WelaterweregiventheQueen’sAward forourwork.WewereexportingabouthalfofourU.K.productiontothe

ContinentandAfrica,anditrepresentedabout30percentoftotalBritishcolor

TVexports.

In1981,whenweexpandedourplantatBridgendtoaddapicturetube

factory,weinvitedtheprinceagain.Hesaidhisschedulewastoofull,buthe wouldsendDiana,thePrincessofWales.ShewasthenpregnantwithPrince William,andwewerethrilledthatshewouldcome.Sincethefactoryhad glassunderpressure,everyonewhovisitsisrequiredtowearahardhatand protective eyeglasses. We even sent the hat and glasses to London for approval,andwhentheprincessarrivedshetouredtheplantwearingthishat withSonyonitinbigletters,whileallthephotographerstookpicturesofher. IadmitIwasalittleembarrassedbythecommerciallookofit,butnobody else seemed to be, least of all Diana. She was charming, good-natured, cooperative,friendly,.andverywarm.Ofcourse,weputupanotherplaqueto

commemoratetheoccasion. IamnotcomplainingthattheroyalfamilyofBritainisinterestedinthe progressofmycompany,farfromit.Iamextremelypleasedandflattered.I citethisexperiencetomakethepointthatitisnaturalandhealthyfora governmenttobeinterestedinbusinessandinhelpinganationincreaseits employmentsituation.TheideathatseemstolingerintheUnitedStatesis thatsomehowpeopleingovernmentshouldbetheenemiesofbusiness,orat leastneutral.ButIlikethesenseofinvolvementoftheBritish.

TheBritishhavebeenverygoodtomeinmanyways.In1982Iwentto

London to receive the Albert Medal of the Royal Society of Arts “for outstanding contributions to technological and industrial innovation and management,industrialdesign,industrialrelationsandvideosystems,andthe growthofworldtraderelations.”IwashumbledtorealizethattheAlbert MedalhadbeengiventosuchrenownedscientistsasThomasAlvaEdison, MadameMarieCurie,andLouisPasteur.Inalightervein,themembersofthe societyevengavemeacertificateformyEnglish-speakingability,whichmay setanewrecordforgenerosity.Ithappenedthisway:aftertheAlbertMedal ceremonyattheRoyalSociety,Igaveareceptionformyhosts.WhenI welcomedthem,IsaidthatSonyandIhavealwaysbeeninnovatorsandthatI havenotonlyinnovatedproductsbutevenmadeinnovationsintheEnglish language. As proof of this contention, I reminded them of the name “Walkman”andouruniquecorporatename.Theygavemeabigroundof applause,andtheofficerswroteoutanHonoraryCertificateinAdvanced SpokenEnglishandpresentedittome. OurexperiencewithFranceInc.wasquitedifferent.Ittookseveralyears ofnegotiatingtocancelourcontractwithouragentinFrancesothatwecould establishSonyFrance.Asitturnedout,ouragentwasbothaclosefriendof theministeroffinanceandanavidhunterwhohadhisownairplane.He wouldoftentaketheministeroffonhuntingtrips.Whenwetriedtocancel ouragreementwiththeagentandestablishawhollyownedsubsidiary,the ministryoffinancewouldnotgiveusapproval.Weworkedonitforalong timethroughourlawyers,andfinallythegovernmentreluctantlygaveus approval,butonlytoestablishafifty-fiftyjointventure.Weaccepteditand choseabank,BanquedeSuez,tobeourpartneruntilwecouldeventuallyget permissiontobuyoutthepartner.Butwestillkeeparepresentativeofthe bankonourboard. OurGermansubsidiarywaseasytoestablish,comparedtotheFrench saga,butsinceIdidn’twantourcompanyanditsemployeestobeinvolvedin theJapanesecommunity,whichwasconcentratedinDusseldorf,wesetup ourcompany,SonyGmbH.,inCologne,withineasyreachbytheautobahn,

butfarenoughawaythatthestaffwouldbespendingmostofitstimewith Germans, not expatriate Japanese. I have always stressed that our people shouldconcentratetheirtimeandeffortonthepeopleofthehostcountry.I madethesameruleinmyfamilywhenwemovedtotheUnitedStates.We wenttheretolearnaboutAmericaandAmericans.ItoldYoshikothatshe mustavoidtheJapanesecommunity;shealreadyknewallaboutJapan.So whileitwouldbeeasytomoveinthehomecountrycircles,Ihaveinsisted thatourcompanyandourfamilymustbecometrulyinternationalized.

WeopenedourSonyshowroominParisfinallyin1971,ontheChamps

Elysees,whereIwantedit,andbythenwehadalsoestablishedSonyHawaii, SonyPanama,SonyU.K.WealsonegotiatedandsetupCBS-SonyRecords andestablishedanewresearchcenterinJapan.Iwasinvitedtobecomea memberoftheinternationalcounciloftheMorganGuarantyTrustCompany

in1969,whichwasthedepositoryofourADRsharesintheUnitedStates.

WhenwedecidedthatitwastimeforustoopenafactoryintheU.S.,it

wasnotamovetobetakenlightly.Backin1963,whenImovedtotheUnited

States,aJapanesechemicalcompanyhaddecidedtoopenafactoryinthe U.S.,andIhadarecordeddialoguewiththepresidentofthatcompanythat waspublishedinaninfluentialmonthlymagazineinTokyo,BungeiShunju. Mycontentioninthatinterviewwasthatitwasamistaketoopenafactory overseaswithoutfirsthavingasalesandmarketingsystemestablishedand knowingthemarketverywell.Myviewwasthatyoumustfirstlearnthe market,learnhowtoselltoit,andbuildupyourcorporateconfidencebefore youcommityourself.Andwhenyouhaveconfidence,youshouldcommit yourself wholeheartedly. In a few years the chemical company, Sekisu, withdrewfromtheU.S.Theycouldn’tselltheirproductsatisfactorilyand foundthecompetitionsevere.Theywerepremature. IalwayshadaneyeonproducingintheUnitedStates,butIfeltthatwe shoulddoitonlywhenwehadareallybigmarket,knewhowtosellinit,and couldservicewhatwesold.Whenallthatwasinhand,wecouldthenbenefit

fromhavingasourceofsupplyclosetohome.Thattimecamein1971.Our

salesvolumewashigh,andwewerenowshippingbiggersetstotheU.S.It

dawnedonmethatyoupaybyvolumeinshippingandthatthebiggestpartof

aTVsetisthepicturetube,whichisaglassenvelopecontainingavacuum.

SowewerepayinggoodmoneytoshipvacuumsacrossthePacific,which,if

youlookedatitthatway,didn’tmakesense.

Besides,theotheradvantagesofbeingonshoreinabigmarketarepretty

obvious:wecouldfine-tuneproductiondependingonthemarkettrends,and

wecouldmoreeasilyadaptourdesignstomarketneedsinahurry.Atthat

time,mybrother-in-lawKazuoIwamawaspromotingtheidea.Hewasthen

president of Sony America, living in New York, and he had scouted out locations, including the one we finally chose, in Rancho Bernardo, an industrialparkinSanDiego.Westartedoutwithanassemblyoperationof componentsshippedfromourfactoriesinJapan,butnowjustabouttheonly thingswesendfromJapanaretheelectrongunandsomespecialintegrated circuits.TogetmaximumU.S.inputintooursets,wehavealwaysboughtas muchaspossibleintheU.S.,andasaresultoursetsaremorecompletely AmericanthansomefamousU.S.brandsetsthatareactuallybuiltintheFar East by American companies and their subcontractors and shipped to the UnitedStates.Oneoftheironiesofthesituationtodayisthatalmostany

“American”televisionsetisabout80percentJapaneseinside,butoursis

moretrulyAmericanthantheirs.

ONMANAGEMENT:It’sAllintheFamily

I

There is no secret ingredient or hidden formula responsible for the successofthebestJapanesecompanies.Notheoryorplanorgovernment policywillmakeabusinessasuccess;thatcanonlybedonebypeople.The most important mission for a Japanese manager is to develop a healthy relationshipwithhisemployees,tocreateafamily-likefeelingwithinthe corporation, a feeling that employees and managers share the same fate. Those companies that are most successful in Japan are those that have managed to create a shared sense of fate among all employees, what Americanscalllaborandmanagement,andtheshareholders. Ihavenotfoundthissimplemanagementsystemappliedanywhereelse intheworld,andyetwehavedemonstratedconvincingly,Ibelieve,thatit works.ForotherstoadopttheJapanesesystemmaynotbepossiblebecause theymaybetootradition-bound,ortootimid.Theemphasisonpeoplemust begenuineandsometimesveryboldanddaring,anditcanevenbequite risky.Butinthelongrun—andIemphasizethis—nomatterhowgoodor successfulyouareorhowcleverorcrafty,yourbusinessanditsfuturearein thehandsofthepeopleyouhire.Toputitabitmoredramatically,thefateof yourbusinessisactuallyinthehandsoftheyoungestrecruitonthestaff. ThatiswhyImakeitapointpersonallytoaddressallofourincoming collegegraduateseachyear.TheJapaneseschoolyearendsinMarch,and companiesrecruitemployeesintheirlastsemester,sothatbeforetheendof theschoolyeartheyknowwheretheyaregoing.Theytakeuptheirnewjobs inApril.IalwaysgatherthesenewrecruitstogetheratheadquartersinTokyo, wherewehaveanintroductoryororientationceremony.ThisyearIlooked outatmorethansevenhundredyoung,eagerfacesandgavethemalecture, asIhavebeendoingforalmostfortyyears. “First,”Itoldthem,“youshouldunderstandthedifferencebetweenthe schoolandacompany.Whenyougotoschool,youpaytuitiontotheschool, butnowthiscompanyispayingtuitiontoyou,andwhileyouarelearning yourjobyouareaburdenandaloadonthecompany. “Second,inschoolifyoudowellonanexamandscoreonehundred percent,thatisfine,butifyoudon’twriteanythingatallonyourexamination paper,yougetazero.Intheworldofbusiness,youfaceanexaminationeach day,andyoucangainnotonehundredpointsbutthousandsofpoints,oronly

fiftypoints.Butinbusiness,ifyoumakeamistakeyoudonotgetasimple

zero.Ifyoumakeamistake,itisalwaysminussomething,andthereisno

limittohowfardownyoucango,sothiscouldbeadangertothecompany.”

Thenewemployeesaregettingtheirfirstdirectandsoberingviewof

whatitwillbelikeinthebusinessworld.ItellthemwhatIthinkisimportant

forthemtoknowaboutthecompanyandaboutthemselves.Iputitthisway

tothelastclassofenteringemployees:

“Wedidnotdraftyou.Thisisnotthearmy,sothatmeansyouhave voluntarilychosenSony.Thisisyourresponsibility,andnormallyifyoujoin thiscompanyweexpectthatyouwillstayforthenexttwentyorthirtyyears. “Nobody can live twice, and the next twenty or thirty years is the brightestperiodofyourlife.Youonlygetitonce. “Whenyouleavethecompanythirtyyearsfromnoworwhenyourlifeis finished,Idonotwantyoutoregretthatyouspentallthoseyearshere.That would be a tragedy. I cannot stress the point too much that this is your responsibilitytoyourself.SoIsaytoyou,themostimportantthinginthenext fewmonthsisforyoutodecidewhetheryouwillbehappyorunhappyhere. Soeventhoughwerecruitedyou,wecannot,asmanagement,orathirdparty, makeotherpeoplehappy;happinessmustbecreatedyourself.” Theideaofanemployeespendingallofhisworkinglifewithasingle companyisnotaJapaneseinvention.Itwas,ironically,forceduponus.To giveasimplifiedviewofhistorytheJapanesesystemofso-calledlifetime employment,oratleastlong-termemployment,wasactuallyimposedonus bythelaborlawsinstitutedbytheOccupation,whenalotofliberal,left-wing economictechniciansweresentfromtheUnitedStatestoJapanwiththegoal ofdemilitarizingthecountryandmakingitademocracy.Oneofthefirst targetswasthebasicstructureofwhatwasleftoftheindustrialcomplex.In prewarJapan,ahandfulofgiantholdingcompaniesvirtuallycontrolledthe Japaneseeconomy.Together,thefourbiggestofthesegroupsheldasmuchas 25 percent of the paid-up capital of the entire nation. Family-owned conglomeratessuchasMitsui,Sumitomo,andMitsubishieachhadasmany asthreehundredcompaniesintheircontrol. Becauseoftheirtremendouseconomicpower,thezaibatsu,astheywere known,hadpoliticalpower:theycouldsupportapoliticianoftheirchoice with money and election manpower and whatever else was needed. But actually once the zaibatsu gave their support to the military-men-turned- politicians,whentheytookcontrolofthegovernment,thetailbegantowag thedog;thezaibatsuthoughttheyhadhiredawatchman,butprettysoonthe watchmanwasgivingorderstothezaibatsu,andtheybecame,inaway, captivesofthesystemtheythoughttheywerecontrolling.

Whenthewarwasover,theOccupationauthoritiesdeclaredthatthe country could not be democratized so long as the zaibatsu system of interlocking companies and enormous holdings in land continued. Almost immediately,fifteenofthezaibatsuweredisbandedbytheHoldingCompany Liquidation Commission. Their assets were frozen, and in the end the shareholdingsofeighty-threeholdingcompaniesweretransferred.Another forty-five hundred companies were declared “restricted concerns.” These companieswerenotallowedtoownstockinanyoftheothercompanies,and their employees were forbidden to work for another company in the old group. Oneofthefiguresinvolvedintheplanningofthezaibatsudissolution, economist Eleanor Hadley, said recently in a seminar on the Occupation period in Tokyo that the program “did not go forward coherently and elegantly.WewerewoefullyignorantofJapaneseeconomicsandsociety.But even the Japanese didn’t have a good idea of how the zaibatsu operated becauseofthegreatsecrecytheyhadalwaysmaintained.” Theattempttocrushtheinterlockingrelationshipofthezaibatsuwas effective, but it caused some unusual situations. For instance, it was impossibletoopenacompanybranchornewdivisionofarestrictedconcern, andthatisthereasonthesalesarmofToyotaMotorCompany,ToyotaMotor

SalesCompany,whichwasestablishedin1950,wasoperatedwithcomplete

managerialindependencefromToyotaMotorCompany,whichmadethecars.

Actually,thetwocompaniesdidnotmergeintooneuntil1984,thirty-five

yearslater. Wealth and power were also taken away from the richest families. Compensationwaslimited.Newbankinglawswereimposed,andcontrols

wereneededbecauseinflationwashigh,soaringto150percentin1947.The

newconstitution(stillthelawofthelandinJapan)waswrittenbyGHQ,in

English,andwastranslatedintoJapaneseandquicklyapprovedbytheDiet.

Thedocumentgaveequalrightstowomenandminorities,establishedthe

basisfordivorceandmarriagelawsandtherightsofindividuals.Thenobility

wasdeposedandtheirrankingsystemabolished.Butlandreformmaybethe

mostsignificantsinglereasonforchangeinthesocialstructureafterthewar.

Manyfamilieswhoownedalotofland,whichwasusedtofarmandtogive

employmenttolocalpeople,weredispossessed,asinthecaseofmyfamily.

Landownerswereonlyallowedtokeeptheirhomesandtheirforestland,and

someoftherichestpeopleinJapantoday,consequently,arethosewhohada

greatdealofforestlandatthattime,whichdidnotfallunderthelandreform

program.

TheAmericanNewDealeconomicandsocialtechniciansalsomadeit

virtuallyimpossibletofireanybody;theyenabled—theyactuallyencouraged —labororganizing,whichwasbanisheddiningthewaryearsexceptfora government-sponsorednationwidecompany-typeunion.Before,loyaltytothe zaibatsu company was the main goal of any worker’s organization. The designersofthelaborlawsknewthattherewouldbeaproblemwiththe Communists,whowouldbesuretomoveintothelabororganizationsnow thatthepartywasnolongeroutlawed.TheAmericanlaborexpertsknew therewasarisk,buttheythoughtwhatevertroublesmightbecausedwould be part of Japan’s education in democracy. In a way the Occupation authorities’attitudeshowedalotoffaithinthebasicconservativenatureof theJapanesepeople.Butwhataneducationitturnedouttobe! Assoonasthenewlaborlawswerepassed,asmanyastwenty-five thousandlaborunionssprangupandfivemillionJapaneseworkersjoined.It was a heady time for the long-suppressed liberals, socialists, and Communists,andtheywastednotimegettingorganized.Manyoftheunions cameunderthedominationoftheJapanCommunistParty(JCP),andonMay

Day1946,theyparadedinfrontofthepalacewithredbannersandflagsand

placards.Theparadeturnedintoafull-scaleriotwithsomeofthemarchers attemptingtostormthepalace.Thenationwasshocked.Therewasaflurryof strikesoverworkers’rightsandmanyproteststothegovernmentoverwages. When the Communist-controlled unions threatened to call a nationwide generalstriketodemandtheresignationofPrimeMinisterShigeruYoshida andtogetabigincreaseinpay,theprimeministerandGHQfinallycame downhardonthem. Yoshida, who was always suspicious of the Communists and their

motivesandwhowasagainstlegalizingtheJCP,wroteinhis1957memoirs,

RandomThoughtsfromOiso(hiscountryhomewasinthetownofOiso),that

“immediatelyafterthewar’send,theSovietUnionasanAlliedPowersetup

itsmissioninTokyo,whichwasmannedbymorethanfivehundredtrained

propagandistsandsecretagentswhoguidedanddirectedtheactivitiesofthe

JapanCommunistParty,whoabettedlaborstrikes,incitedriotsofKoreans,

andcreatedallmannerofdisturbancesthroughoutthecountry.”

WiththesupportoftheSupremeCommanderAlliedPowers,General

DouglasMacArthur,YoshidaintroducedabillintotheDietbanningstrikesof

publicemployees.ItputtheCommunistsonwarning,andtheybackeddown

fromtheirthreatenedgeneralstrike.Butthenewsociallegislation,which

includedsocialsecurityandotherwelfarebenefits,inadditiontothenew

laborlaws,waswithustostay.

Theeffectofthreethings—thenewlaws,therevisionofthetaxsystem,

andtheeliminationofthezaibatsuconglomerates—wastomakeJapanan

egalitariansocietyforthefirsttime.Therewasanopportunityforlower-

incomepeopletoimprovetheirlife-styles,andeventodayifyoucometo Japanyoucanseethatthereisvirtuallynopovertyasitisknownelsewherein theworld.Youwillfindakindofegalitariansocietyrareintheworld,which theJapanesepeopleprize. Offandonforcenturies,thepeoplehadtodealwithprivationandeven famine.Povertyinthecityandinthecountrysidewascommon.Infact,for generationsofJapaneseofthelowerclasses,lifewaslittlemorethanabitter struggleforsurvival.Todayifwehavenopoverty,wealsodonothavefamily wealthasitwasonceknown.Everyyeartheprimeminister’sofficetakesa surveyofpeople’sattitudes,andformorethantenyearsthenumberofpeople

whoconsiderthemselvestobeinthemiddleclasshasbeenover90percent.

Today’sJapanesedonotthinkintermsofprivilege.Althoughsomeof ourtrainshavefirst-classcars,wehadnofirst-classsectiononourdomestic airlinersformanyyears.IamremindedofhowKonosukeMatsushita,the grandoldmanoftheJapaneseelectronicsindustry,eveninhisnineties,gets on the commercial flight from his headquarters city of Osaka to Tokyo togetherwithhundredsofsimplesalarymen.Nobodythinkstwiceaboutit. Veryfewcompanieshaveprivateplanesorhelicopters,asSonyhas,butthese companiesthathavethemdonotusethemtoferryexecutivesonthinlyveiled privatejunketsasisdoneinsomecountries;theyaredevotedtobusiness travelandefficiency. Japan’spostwarsuccesshasmademanypeoplerich,ofcourse,buttoday thereisnosuchthingasthegreatwealthofthelandedfamiliesofBritainor theContinent,wealththatseemstosurviveupheaval,changeofgovernment, evenwar.SomeyearsagoIwasvisitingParis,andatapartyIadmiredthe diamond necklace being worn by a lovely Rothschild lady. Her husband immediatelyandverygenerouslyofferedtogivemethenameofhisjeweler sothatIcouldhavehimcraftasimilarfabulousthingforYoshiko.Ithanked him,butItoldhimIcouldneveraffordsuchanexpensiveobject. Heraisedhiseyebrows.“Butyouarerich,”hesaid.“Youcanaffordit,I amsure.” “Thereisamajordifferencebetweenyouandme,”Itoldhim.“Yes,Iam rich.Butyouarewealthy.Andthatiswhyyoucanbuysuchjewelryandwhy Icannot.”Japanhasnowealthyfamiliesasintheolddays,familieswithvast holdings and untold riches. Confiscatory inheritance taxes have helped to destroyrealpersonalwealth,justasthepeeragewasabolishedafterthewar. Today the idea of wealth seems somehow badly out of place to most Japanese,andinreality,theacquisitionofvastamountsoflandandcontrolof manylargecompaniesissimplynotpossible,andthatwasthebasisofthe

familywealththatonceexistedinJapan. Beforethewar,familieslikeminewereveryrich.Welivedacompletely differentkindoflifefromwhatanybodylivesinJapantoday.Allofour neighborsweretherichest—thewealthiest—peopleinNagoyawhenIwas growingup.Wehadtenniscourts,arealluxuryinland-poorJapan,maidsand butlers,andprivatecarswithchauffeurs.Myfamilyhadallofthis,foreign carsandeverythingwewanted,anditwasallpaidforbymyfather,whohad asubstantialincome.Taxeswerelow,andsonooneeverthoughtofhavinga company-paidcarorcompany-paidentertainment.TheJapaneseteahouses, wherethebusinessentertainingtookplace,wouldsendthebillonceeverysix monthsoronceayear,andrichpeoplelikemyfatherwouldwritetheirown personalcheck,notacompanycheck,tocoverit. Afterthewar,thesituationcompletelychangedbecausewiththenew

laws,ifyouhadtopay85percentofyourincomeintaxes,itwasdifficultto

affordacarandhireadriverandpayotherbusinessexpenses.Thatiswhyit becamethecustom,gradually,forcompaniestopaytheseexpensesfortheir executives. MyfamilywasluckythatdespitetheheavybombingofNagoyaour businessandhomepropertieswerenotdamagedatall,and,infact,wewere almostanexception.Butafterthewar,wenolongerhadamaidorabutler, andmymotherhadtostarttodoherownhousework.Shesaiditwasgoodfor herhealth,andIamsureitwas.Wehadtopayahugewealthtax,andwelost alotofourpropertyinthelandreform.Almostallofourlandwasbeing rentedtofarmerswhogrewricetoselltotheMoritafamilybusiness.Sowe lostalmosteverything,butthatwasallright;weweregratefulthatthethree sons had come out of the war uninjured and that we still had the basic business.Butitwasabigchange.Myfatherhadtorideabicycletowork duringthewar,andnow ? therewasnochanceofhavingachauffeuredcar.It isacommonsayinginJapantodaythatinheritedwealthwillnotlastthree generationsunlessafamilyworksandaddstoit,becausetheinheritancetaxes aresohigh. GHQwrotenewlawsaimedatmakingtheworkerandtheemployee morepowerfulandatseeingthatthewealthypeoplewouldnotriseagain. Theirviewwasthatthewealthyfamilies,especiallythedozenorsomain zaibatsufamiliesinvolvedwiththeindustrialwarmachineandthoseoftheir kind,hadtobeweakenedbecausetheyhadcollaboratedwiththemilitary. Somehowtheymusthavethoughtthatallpeopleofwealthwereresponsible forthewar,whichwaswrong,ofcourse.Manypeoplecouldseeatthetime thatthezaibatsuhadbecomecaptivesofthemilitarytheythoughttheycould control.ButtheresultoftheGHQorderswas,ironically,tomakeJapanese

industrystrongagain.Onepositiveaspectofthepurgewastoweedoutsome top-leveldeadwoodfrommanagement,althoughmanygoodpeoplewerelost too,andputintocontrolthesecond-andthird-echelonemployeeswhowere theactualworkingengineersandtechniciansandyoungermanagerswithnew ideas.Thishelpedtorevitalizethecompaniesandmadeitpossibleforothers tostartnewcompanies,suchasourown,andHondaMotors,tonameonlya couple,nowthatitwasobviousthattheoldgiantcompanieswouldnotbe abletodominateeverything.Buteveninthebigoldcompanies,thepurgeput youngerandmoreactive,moretechnicallytrainedexecutivesincharge. TheconceptoflifetimeemploymentarosewhenJapanesemanagersand employeesbothrealizedthattheyhadmuchincommonandthattheyhadto make some long-range plans. The laws made it difficult legally, and expensive,tofireanybody,butthatdidn’tseemlikesuchabadidea,since workers were badly in need of work, and struggling businesses needed employees who would remain loyal. Without class disputes, despite the Communist and Socialist party propaganda, the Japanese, who are a homogeneouspeople,wereabletocooperatetoprovidefortheircommon welfare.IhaveoftensaidthattheJapanesecompanyhasbecomeverymucha socialsecurityorganization. Inthepostwarera,thetaxlawsmakeituselessforacompanytopayan executivealotofmoney,becausethegraduatedtaxrisessharplyveryquickly, andyouareverysooninthehighestbracket.Company-paidamenitiessuchas workerdormitoriesandallowancesforcommuting,forexample,helpworkers make up for the tax system. Tax shelters and tax avoidance are virtually unknowninJapan.Today,thesalaryforatopmanagementofficialisrarely morethansevenoreighttimesthatofanentry-leveljuniorexecutivetrainee. ThismeansJapanhasnomultimillion-dollarbrass,andcompaniesgiveno hugeexecutivebonuses,nostockoptions,nodeferredincome,nogolden parachutes,andthereforethepsychological,aswellasthereal,gapbetween employeesisnarrowerthaninothercountries.Theremaybesomeexceptions tothegeneralrule,butIamsuretheyarefew. Thenationaltaxagencyeveryyearreleasesalistofthetopincome earners,anditisalwaysprintedinthenationalnewspapersforeverybodyto

see.In1982theagencyreportedthatonlytwenty-ninethousandJapanese

citizenshadearningsofovereighty-fivethousanddollars.Andyetatypical Japanesemalemanufacturingsectorworkerwithatwo-childfamilyandthe wifenotworking,accordingtotheOrganizationofEconomicCooperation andDevelopment,hadannualgrossearningsabouttwo-thirdsofthatofhis American counterpart in 1983. But the ratio of his disposable income is higher,foratthatlevelhepayslowertaxesthantheAmerican.TheJapanese

workerworkslongerhourstogethismoney,becausehestillissomewhat belowtheU.S.wage,butweinJapandonotthinkitiswrongtoworkhard

forourpay.Infactagovernmentsurveyin1985showedthatmostJapanese

workersdonottakeallthevacationtimetowhichtheyareentitled. Whatweinindustrylearnedindealingwithpeopleisthatpeopledonot workjustformoneyandthatifyouaretryingtomotivate,moneyisnotthe mosteffectivetool.Tomotivatepeople,youmustbringthemintothefamily andtreatthemlikerespectedmembersofit.Granted,inourone-racenation thismightbeeasiertodothanelsewhere,butitisstillpossibleifyouhavean educatedpopulation. The interest in education goes back to the Tokugawa era, when the nation was closed to the outside world for nearly three hundred years beginningjustaftertheturnoftheseventeenthcentury.Duringthatperiod, thesocietywascompletelyisolatedexceptforasmallpartofNagasakiwhere foreigners could trade. During that time—despite what many people saw someyearsagoinapopularAmericantelevisionseriescalled“Shogun”— Japanmayhavebeentheonlycountryintheworldwherecompletepeace reignedforsuchalongtime.Iwasamazedtoreadtheotherdaythatthe forty-yearperiodsincetheendofWorldWarIIisthelongesttimeinthe recorded history of Europe that there has been no war there. It is very

interestinginthiscontext,then,Ithink,torealizethatinJapanfrom1603,

when Ieyasu the first Shogun took over, until just before the Imperial

Restoration,whichendedtheTokugawaerain1868,aperiodofmorethan

twohundredandfiftyyears,therewasnowar.WecallittheGreatPeace. Eventhoughsamuraicarriedswords,manyofthemdidn’tevenknowhowto usethem. Therewereveryrigidclasslinesandeverybodywaslockedintoaclass, withthesamuraiatthetop—thereevenweremanyclassesofsamuraiinthe system—andthemerchantsatthebottom.Therewasonewaytobreakoutof yourclass,though,andthatwastobecomeanartistorascholar.Inthose days,theartswereencouraged,suchasliterature,painting,pottery,theNoh theater, Kabuki, tea ceremony, and calligraphy. Scholars in Japanese and Chineseclassicalliteraturewereverymuchindemand,andifyouwerea scholar,nomatterwhereyouwereborn,orwhatyourclass,youcouldmove up.Soifyouwereafarmerormerchant,yourinterestineducationwouldbe keen,becausethatwastheonlywaytobeadmiredbyothers,andtheonly routetomovingupinyourclass.Allparentswantedtosendtheirchildrento school,andmanyprivateschoolswereopened. When the enlightened reign of Emperor Meiji began in 1868, the populationofthenationwasaboutthirtymillionandthenumberofschools

alreadyfunctioningwasabouttenthousand.Theenrollmentateachschool wassmall,ofcourse,intotalnumbers,sowecannotcompareittotoday.

Now,ajuniorhighschooleducationiscompulsory,and94percentgoonto

highschool,while37percentofthehighschoolgraduatesgoontocollege.

Todaywehaveapopulationofonehundredandtwenty-onemillion,butthe numberofprimaryandsecondaryschoolsisforty-fivethousand,whichis aboutthesamedensityofschoolsasduringTokugawaandMeijitimes.Even uneducatedparentsintheTokugawaeraknewthevalueofeducationtotheir children.Ifschoolwasavailableandthechildwasclever,theywouldsend himtostudy. Sowiththisbroadinterestineducation,whenMeijiopenedtheportsand thegovernmentdecidedtointroduceWesternculture,theinterestamongthe general public to learn about the world was very strong. When the compulsoryeducationsystemstarted,literacydevelopedveryfast.Thehigh levelofeducationexplainswhyaworkeroreventheheadofthelocalunion

will sometimes rise to become president of a corporation in Japan. For example, Kenichi Yamamoto, the president of Mazda Motor Corporation, joinedthecompanyasagraduateengineerandrosefromhisearlyjobasa shopfloorforemantobecametheheadofthecompany,thencalledToyo

KogyoCompany.In1985,whenhiscompanydecidedtoestablishaplantto

manufacturecarsintheUnitedStates,hesatdownpersonallywithofficialsof theUnitedAutoWorkersUniontotalkaboutalaboragreement.Hecoulddo itbecauseheknewallsidesofhisbusiness;hehadevenbeenpresidentofthe Mazda employee union many years ago, and he could talk the UAW language. Inourlaborrelations,wehaveakindofequalitythatdoesnotexist

elsewhere.WeseeverylittledistinctionatSonybetweenblue-andwhite-

collarworkers.Andifamanorwomanbecomessuccessfulasaunionleader, weareveryinterested,becausethesearethekindofpeoplewearelookingfor inourmanagementranks,peoplewhocanbepersuasive,canmakepeople want to cooperate with them. Management is not dictatorship. Top management of a company has to have the ability to manage people by leading them. We are constantly looking for capable persons with these qualities,andtorulepeopleoutbecausetheylackcertainschoolcredentials orbecauseofthejobtheyhappentofindthemselvesinissimplyshortsighted. Thereisverylittleoftheadversarialspiritinourcompanies,andmakinga livingoutofoppositiontosomethingisnotpossible. Idonotwanttogivetheimpressionthatrelationsbetweencompanyand managementinJapanarealwayssweet,becausethatisnotalwaysthecase. Toyota Motor Company suffered a serious strike in 1950 that led to the

resignationoftopmanagement,andtherehavebeenmajor,ifshort-lived, strikesinonesectororanothersincetheendofthewar.Therearestrikes almosteverydayinJapan,verybriefones,tobesure,butthedemonstrations maketheirpointwithmanagement.However,thedayslostinlabordisputes

havebeendecreasingsincereachinganewhighin1974aftertheoilembargo.

Inthatyear,Japanlost9,663,000man-daysoflabortolabor-management

disputes; the United States lost 47,991,000 and the United Kingdom lost

14,750,000inthesameperiod.Wehaveimproved,andthegapismuchwider.

In1984Japaneseindustrylostonly354,000man-daystolabordisputes,and

theU.S.lost8,348,000,whileintheU.K.thenumbersoaredto26,564,000.

Ofcourse,theUnitedStatesisamuchbiggerandmorediversifiedplace,but thecomparisonofworkingdayslostbetweenthefreeworld’sfirstandsecond largesteconomiesisinteresting,andBritain’sfiguresseemstaggering.

Myonlyexperiencewitharealstrikegoesbackto1961,onthefifteenth

anniversaryofourcompany,andIwasputtothetesttofigureouthowto handleit.Ouroriginalunionwasstronglyinfluencedbyleftists,andtheleft pickedSonyasatargetthatyear,challengingus,demandingaclosedshop.I pickeduptheunion’schallenge,sayingthatIthoughttheclosedshopwas unfair.Itoldthem,“Aclosedshopisaviolationofindividualrights.Ifpeople wanttoformanotherunion,theyhavetherighttodoit.Thatisfreedomand thatisdemocracy.”Itwasquiteachallenge,butIsensedtheunionleaders weregettingstrongandwantedtodramatizetheissue.SodidI. Theunionleadersknewthatweweregoingtohaveouranniversary

celebrationonMay7,andtheythreatenedtostrikeusthatday.Theythought

thatthisthreatalonewouldmakeusgiveinbecausetheyknewhowmuchthe anniversarymeanttous.Isawitinanotherlight.Iknewouremployees,most ofthempersonally.Iknewwehadmanywhohadgoodcommonsense,who would approve an open shop, and who would get out of this politically influencedunionandjoinaunionthathadamoreresponsibleattitude.Ihad confidenceinourgoodrelationswithouremployees,andIdidnotwantthese peoplewhohadafeelingofunitywiththecompanytobeguidedbyafew extremists. Iactedverytough.TheirleaderthoughtIwasbluffing,thatIwould becomeagreeableatthelastminutebecauseIwantedtohaveasuccessful celebration. We had planned to hold the ceremony at our headquarters building,andwehadinvitedquiteafewdignitaries,includingPrimeMinister Hayato Ikeda. We had many bargaining sessions with the union as the anniversarydrewcloser,andeachdaytheyseemedtogetcockier,asthough theydidn’twantasettlement.Theywerethinkingwewouldhavetogivein, thatthecompanywouldlosefaceifittriedtohaveananniversarycelebration

andapartywhilethestreetswerefullofpicketers.Ididn’tgivethemaclueas towhatIhadinmind,butIheldmybargaininggrounduptothelastminute. Wecamedowntothenightbeforetheanniversaryandnothingwassettled. Theunionleadersstormedout. Themorningofouranniversarythestrikerssurroundedourbuildingin Shinagawa.Thestreetswereblockedwithstrikersfromourunionandothers who had been brought in to swell the crowd. Some carried placards denouncingIkedaaswellasSony.Atthesametime,someofourengineers haddecidedtoformtheirownunion,andsomanyofthemshowedupwith theirownbanners,supportingus,andhundredsofloyalSonyemployeeswere alsooutinthestreet,behindthestrikersandtheengineers.Ihadappearedin the window in my morning coat, prepared for the anniversary. We had bannersstrungupannouncingthecelebration.ButIkedaandtheotherguests didnotcometotheSonybuildingforthecelebration,andthestrikersthought theyhadmanagedtoforceustocancelitforawhile,buttheysoonrealized theywerewrong. Latethepreviousnight,manyofusexecutiveswhowerestayinginthe headquartersbuildingdayandnightduringthebargainingcalledeveryoneof thethreehundredinvitedguestsandchangedthesiteofthecelebrationtothe PrinceHotelaboutamileaway.Theprimeministerarrivedatourcelebration unmolestedandthepartywasagreatsuccess.Ibukadidthespeakingfor Sony.Whenthestrikersrealizedtheyhadbeenoutwitted,thehumiliationwas theirs.Ihadslippedoutthebackwayandmanagedtogettothepartyatthe hotelbeforeitwasover.TheygavemearoundofapplausewhenIwalked into the room, and the prime minister said Sony’s attitude in confronting extremistsshouldbeappreciatedbyothers.Theuniongaveupthestrike,and asecondunionwasalsoformed.TodayintheSonyparentcompanywehave twounions,includingtheoriginalonethatissometimesverydifficulttodeal with,andweofcoursealsohavemanynonunionpeople.Infact,themajority of our employees are not unionized, but our relations with all of our employeesareverygood. Thereasonwecanmaintaingoodrelationswithouremployeesisthat theyknowhowwefeelaboutthem.IntheJapanesecase,thebusinessdoes notstartoutwiththeentrepreneurorganizinghiscompanyusingtheworker asatool.Hestartsacompanyandhehirespersonneltorealizehisidea,but oncehehiresemployeeshemustregardthemascolleaguesorhelpers,notas toolsformakingprofits.Managementmustconsideragoodreturnforthe investor,buthealsohastoconsiderhisemployees,orhiscolleagues,who musthelphimtokeepthecompanyaliveandhemustrewardtheirwork.The investor and the employee are in the same position, but sometimes the

employeeismoreimportant,becausehewillbetherealongtimewhereasan investorwilloftengetinandoutonawhiminordertomakeaprofit.The worker’smissionistocontributetothecompany’swelfare,andhisown, everydayallofhisworkinglife.Heisreallyneeded. CompanieshavedifferentapproachestothiseveninJapan,butbasically, therehastobemutualrespectandasensethatthecompanyisthepropertyof theemployeesandnotofafewtoppeople.Butthosepeopleatthetopofthe companyhavearesponsibilitytoleadthatfamilyfaithfullyandbeconcerned aboutthemembers. Wehaveapolicythatwhereverweareintheworldwedealwithour employeesasmembersoftheSonyfamily,asvaluedcolleagues,andthatis why even before we opened our U.K. factory, we brought management people,includingengineers,toTokyoandletthemworkwithusandtrained themandtreatedthemjustlikemembersofourfamily,allofwhomwearthe same jackets and eat in our one-class cafeteria. This way they got to understandthatpeopleshouldnotbetreateddifferently;wedidn’tgivea privateofficetoanyexecutive,eventotheheadofthefactory.Weurgedthe managementstafftositdownwiththeirofficepeopleandsharethefacilities. Ontheshopflooreveryforemanhasashortmeetingwithhiscolleagues everymorningbeforeworkandtellsthemwhattheyhavetodotoday.He givesthemareportonyesterday’swork,andwhileheisdoingthishelooks carefullyatthefacesofhisteammembers.Ifsomeonedoesn’tlookgood,the foremanmakesitapointtofindoutifthepersonisill,orhassomekindofa problemorworry.Ithinkthisisimportant,becauseifanemployeeisill, unhappy,orworried,hecannotfunctionproperly. Sometimesaperson’sjoborworksituationdoesnotsuitthatperson.In Japanchangingjobsisbecomingmorecommon,butjobchangingisstillrare comparedtotheU.S.Sincewedonothaveinoursystemthemobilitythatthe Americanworkerhas,whereitiseasytoquitonejobandgetanother,I figured that we had to do something in our company to handle such a situation.Wewanttokeepthecompanyhealthyanditsemployeeshappy,and wewanttokeepthemonthejobandproductive. Allofourengineersarefirstassignedtoworkontheproductionlinefor alongenoughperiodforthemtounderstandhowproductiontechnologyfits inwithwhattheyaredoing.Someoftheforeignengineersdonotliketodo this, but the Japanese engineers seem to welcome the opportunity to get firsthandexperience.IntheUnitedStatesaforemancanremainaforemanall hislife,andthatisallrightifitpleaseshimandthecompany.ButIthinkitis bettertomovepeoplethantoleavethemononejobtoolongwheretheir mindsmightgetdulled.

Inordertofosterourworkingrelationshipascolleaguesandtokeepin touch,Iusedtohavedinnerwithmanyyounglowermanagementemployees almosteverynightandtalkuntillate.OnenightIcouldtelloneofthese youngmenhadsomethingbotheringhim.Hewasnotenjoyinghimself,andI encouragedhimtosaywhatwasonhismind.Afterafewdrinksheloosened up.“BeforeIjoinedthiscompany,”hesaidearnestly,“Ithoughtitwasa fantasticcompany.ItistheonlyplaceIwantedtowork.ButIworkforthis sectionchief,Mr.So-and-So,andinmylowlycapacityIworkforthisman, notSony.Herepresentsthecompany.Butheisstupid,andeverythingIdoor suggestmustgothroughthisguy.Iamverydisappointedthatthisstupid sectionchiefisSonyasfarasmycareerisconcerned.” Thiswasasoberingthoughtforme.Irealizedtheremightbemany employeesinourcompanywithproblemslikethisandweshouldbeawareof theirdilemmas.AndsoIstartedaweeklycompanynewspaperwherewe couldadvertisejobopenings.Thismadeitpossibleforemployeestotryfor otherjobsconfidentially.Wetrytomoveouremployeesintorelatedornew workabouteverytwoyears,butenergeticemployeesonthemovemustbe allowedtohavethisopportunityforearlierinternalmobility,forfindingtheir ownworklevel. Wegetadoublebenefitfromthis:thepersoncanusuallyfindamore satisfyingjob,andatthesametimethepersonneldepartmentcanidentify potentialproblemswithmanagerswhosesubordinatesaretryingtogetaway from them. We have had cases where we discovered a manager was inadequate because so many people working under him asked to be transferred.Oursolutionistotransferthepersontoapositionwhereheorshe doesn’thaveasmanysubordinates,andthathasusuallysolvedtheproblem. Welearnalotbylisteningtoouremployees,because,afterall,wisdomisnot theexclusivepossessionofmanagement. Another important aspect of the internal mobility system is this:

occasionallythemanwerecruitedasaguardorsomeotherlow-leveljob answersanadforajobasanadvertisingcopywriterorasimilartypeofjob, andafterexaminationwefindthatheisqualifiedandturnsouttobevery goodinthenewjob.Weoftenrunanadforatypistoradriveroraguardand peopleapplywithoutthinkingabouttheirtrueability,becausetheyjustneeda job.Inthebeginning,thepersonneldepartmentassignsnewemployeestoa job, but personnel departments or managers are not all-knowing, and managementisnotalwayscapableofputtingtherightmanintherightplace everytime.Rather,theemployeeshouldwanttofindtherightjob,sothatis whyIsaidtoayoungworkerwhowascomplainingabouthisforeman,“If youarenotsatisfiedwithyourjob,youshouldhavetherighttofindamore

agreeableone.Whydon’tyou?”Ifthepersonselectswhathewantstodo,he willbeencouragedbecausehegotthejobhewantedandhewilllikelyapply himselftothenewjobverydiligently.Atleastthatisourexperience.Wehave manyjobsandmanyemployees,andthereisnoreasonwhywecannotmatch thejobswiththehelpofthepeoplewhoareactuallygoingtodothework. ThisisnottypicalofJapanesecompanies,unfortunately,butIlongago decidedthatIwantedadifferentsystem,asystemwherethedoortochange andimprovementwasalwaysopen.Anythingthattendedtoshutthatdoor,in myopinion,waswrong,andthatiswhyIestablishedtherulethatoncewe hireanemployee,hisschoolrecordsareamatterofthepastandarenolonger usedtoevaluatehisworkordecideonhispromotion.ThebookIwroteonthe subjectstruckaresponsivechord;twohundredandfiftythousandcopieswere soldinJapan,anindicationofthepublic’sattitudetothesystemthatexistsin mostothercompanieseventoday.Foralittlewhileafterthebookcameout, wehaddifficultyhiringgraduatesfromthe“name”universities,becausethey thoughtwewereprejudicedagainstthem.Wewereabletoexplain,however, thatthatisnotthecase,butthatwewereseekingability,notjustpeoplewith schoolpride.Nowwegetrecruitsfromallthetopschools,includingthe “name”ones. Whenourcompanyhadjustbegun,wewerenovicesatmanagement,so we had no choice but to do things in our own unorthodox way. In the beginning,weweresmallenoughsothatwecoulddiscusseachproblemwith theentirecompanyandtrydifferentapproachesuntilweweresatisfiedorwe solvedtheproblem.Ibelieveoneofthereasonswewentthroughsucha remarkablegrowthperiodwasthatwehadthisatmosphereoffreediscussion. Wehavenevertriedtostifleit. Ibukaisapersonwithgreatleadershipqualities—heattractspeopleto himandtheyinvariablywanttoworkwithhim.Infact,thehistoryofour companyisthestoryofagroupofpeopletryingtohelpIbukamakehis dreamscometrue.Heneverbelievedinone-manmanagement.Itwasnot onlyIbuka’sgeniusandoriginalityintechnologicalfieldsorhisabilityto lookintothefutureandaccuratelyforecastforusthatstruckeveryoneso forcefully,butalsohisabilitytotakethisgroupofyoungandcockyengineers and mold them into a management team that could cooperate in an atmospherewhereeverybodywasencouragedtospeakout. WhenmostJapanesecompaniestalkaboutcooperationorconsensus,it usually means the elimination of individuality. At our company we are challengedtobringourideasoutintotheopen.Iftheyclashwithothers,so muchthebetter,becauseoutofitmaycomesomethinggoodatahigherlevel. ManyJapanesecompaniesliketousethewordscooperationandconsensus

because they dislike individualistic employees. When I am asked, and sometimeswhenIamnot,Isaythatamanagerwhotalkstoomuchabout cooperation is one who is saying he doesn’t have the ability to utilize excellentindividualsandtheirideasandputtheirideasinharmony.Ifmy companyissuccessful,itislargelybecauseourmanagersdohavethatability. Ihavehadtoarguethepointloudandlongevenwithinmycompany. Some years ago, when I was deputy president and Michiji Tajima was chairmanoftheboard,wehadaclashthatillustratesmypoint. Tajimawasaveryfineman,adistinguishedgentlemanoftheoldschool who had been director general of the Imperial Household Agency, which handlestheaffairsanddetailsoftheroyalfamily.Ihadsomeviewsthat angeredhimandIpersistedintryingtopushthroughmyviewpoint,although IcouldseeTajimawasopposed—Ican’tevenrememberwhatitwasabout aftersomanyyears.ButasIwenton,itwasobviousthathewasgetting increasinglyirritatedandfinallyhecouldstanditnolongerandsaid,“Morita, youandIhavedifferentideas.Idon’twanttostayinacompanylikeyours whereyoudon’thavethesameideasthatIhaveandwearesometimesin conflict.” IwasveryboldinmyresponsebecauseIfeltasstronglythenasIdo nowaboutthisissue.Isaid,“Sir,ifyouandIhadexactlythesameideason allsubjects,itwouldnotbenecessaryforbothofustobeinthiscompanyand receiveasalary.EitheryouorIshouldresigninthatcase.Itisprecisely becauseyouandIhavedifferentideasthattinscompanywillrunasmaller riskofmakingmistakes. “Pleasethinkofmyviewswithoutgettingangrywithme.Ifyouare goingtoresignbecauseIhaveadifferentidea,youarenotshowingloyaltyto ourcompany.” ThiswasnewthinkinginaJapanesecompany,andTajimawastaken abackatfirst,butofcoursehestayedon.Actually,myargumentwasnot reallynewinthecompany.Intheverybeginning,wehad,asIsaidbefore,no company song (nobody could imagine the thoughtful, introspective Ibuka singing),butwedidhaveastatementcalledthe“SonySpirit,”astatementin whichwebelieved.WefirstsaidSonyisapioneerandthatitneverintendsto followothers.“Throughprogress,Sonywantstoservethewholeworld,”we saidandwentontosaythatindoingsothecompanywouldbe“alwaysa seekeroftheunknown.” Wealsosaidthis:“Theroadofapioneerisfullofdifficulties,butin spiteofthemanyhardships,peopleofSonyalwaysuniteharmoniouslyand closelybecauseoftheirjoyofparticipatingincreativeworkandtheirpridein contributingtheirownuniquetalentstothisaim.Sonyhasaprincipleof

respectingandencouragingone’sability—therightmanintherightpost— andalwaystriestobringoutthebestinapersonandbelievesinhimand constantlyallowshimtodevelophisability.ThisisthevitalforceofSony.” Ourideawasthatpeoplewereattheheartofwhatweweretryingtodo.As welookedaroundatJapanesecorporationswesawthatveryfewcompanies weredoingwhatwewere,becausethepersonneldepartmentsactedlikegods, assigningpeopleandmovingthemaroundandmoldingpeopletojobs. Ihavealwaysmadeitapointtoknowouremployees,tovisitevery facilityofourcompany,andtotrytomeetandknoweverysingleemployee. Thisbecamemoreandmoredifficultaswegrew,anditisimpossibletoreally knowthemorethanfortythousandpeoplewhoworkforustoday,butItry.I encourageallofourmanagerstoknoweverybodyandnottositbehindadesk intheofficeallday.Ienjoyshowingupatafactoryorabranchofficeand chattingwithpeoplewhenIcan.NotlongagoIfoundmyselfindowntown Tokyowithafewextraminutesinmyschedule,andInoticedasmalloffice ofSonyTravelService.Ihadneverbeenthere,andsoIjustwalkedinand introducedmyself.“Icameheretoshowmyface,”Isaid.“Iamsureyou knowmebyseeingmeonTVorinthenewspaper,soIthoughtyoumightbe interested in seeing Morita in the flesh.” Everybody laughed, and I went aroundtheofficechattingwiththestaff,andinthosefewminutesweallfelt goodaboutoursenseofsharedeffort.OnavisittoasmallSonylabnearPalo Altooneday,ourmanager,anAmerican,askedmeifIwouldposeforsome picturesandIsaidIwouldbehappyto.Beforethehourwasover,Ihadposed withallthirtyorfortyemployeesandIsaidtothemanager,“Iappreciateyour attitude.YouunderstandtheSonyfamilypolicy.” Onthetwenty-fifthanniversaryofSonyAmerica,YoshikoandIflewto theU.S.wherewehadapicnicoramealwithalltheemployees.Wearranged itsothatwecouldhaveapicnicwithourNewYorkstaffandcouldsitdown toamealwiththethreeshiftsatourDothan,Alabama,tapeplantandalsoat ourSanDiegofactory.WedinedanddancedwithemployeesinChicagoand LosAngeles.Itwasaverysatisfyingthingforme,andIthinktheywere pleasedtoseemeandmywife.Itwasnotjustpartofmyjob;Ilikethose people.Theyarefamily.

II

Acompanywillgetnowhereifallofthethinkingislefttomanagement. Everybody in the company must contribute, and for the lower-level employeestheircontributionmustbemorethanjustmanuallabor.Weinsist thatallofouremployeescontributetheirminds.Todaywegetanaverageof eight suggestions a year from each of our employees, and most of the suggestionshavetodowithmakingtheirownjobseasierortheirworkmore reliableoraprocessmoreefficient.SomepeopleintheWestscoffatthe suggestionprocess,sayingthatitforcespeopletorepeattheobvious,orthatit indicatesalackofleadershipbymanagement.Thisattitudeshowsalackof understanding.Wedon’tforcesuggestions,andwetakethemseriouslyand implement the best ones. And since the majority of them are directly concernedwithaperson’swork,wefindthemrelevantanduseful.Afterall, whocouldtellusbetterhowtostructuretheworkthanthepeoplewhoare doingit? IamremindedofmyargumentwithChairmanTajimaondifferencesof opinionandconflictingideas.Thereisnopossibilityoftheworldprogressing ifwedoexactlythesamethingsasoursuperiorshavedone.Ialwaystell employeesthattheyshouldnotworrytoomuchaboutwhattheirsuperiorstell them.Isay,“Goaheadwithoutwaitingforinstructions.”TothemanagersI saythisisanimportantelementinbringingouttheabilityandcreativityof those below them. Young people have flexible and creative minds, so a managershouldnottrytocrampreconceivedideasintothem,becauseitmay smothertheiroriginalitybeforeitgetsachancetobloom. In Japan, workers who spend a lot of time together develop an atmosphereofself-motivation,anditistheyoungemployeeswhogivethe real impetus to this. Management officers, knowing that the company’s ordinary business is being done by energetic and enthusiastic younger employees,candevotetheirtimeandefforttoplanningthefutureofthe company.Withthisinmind,wethinkitisunwiseandunnecessarytodefine individualresponsibilitytooclearly,becauseeveryoneistaughttoactlikea familymemberreadytodowhatisnecessary.Ifsomethinggoeswrongitis consideredbadtasteformanagementtoinquirewhomadethemistake.That mayseemdangerous,ifnotsilly,butitmakessensetous.Theimportant thinginmyviewisnottopintheblameforamistakeonsomebody,butrather tofindoutwhatcausedthemistake. TheAmericandirectorofajointventurecompanyinTokyocomplained

tomethathewasnotabletopindownresponsibilityforanaccidentathis

company,andheaskedmewhyitseemedimpossibletodiscoverthenameof

theculpritnomatterhowhardhetried.Iexplainedtohimthatthemeritinhis

companyliespreciselyinthefactthateverybodyrecognizesresponsibilityfor

theaccidentandthattofindoneguiltypartymightdestroythemoraleofall.

Wecanallexpecttomakemistakes.IbukaandIhavemadethem.Welost

moneyontheChromatronsystem,andwefailedwiththeL-cassette,alarge-

sizeaudiocassetteusingwidetapethatgavebetterfidelitythanwasavailable thenonquarter-inchtapeinthestandardcompactcassettes.Andweshould haveworkedhardertogetmorecompaniestogetherina“family”tosupport theBetamaxformat.OurrivalintheVHSformatdidthatandendedupwith morecompaniesmakingthatformatthanours,eventhoughwegetbetter quality.(SincethenwehavegotmajorcompaniesinJapanandoverseasto agree on standards for our new eight-millimeter video, and for our high-

density3.5-inchfloppydiskforminicomputers.)And,asIhavesaid,getting

outofthecalculatorbusinessmayhaveslowedusdownindevelopingour owndigitaltechnology. Butthepointisthatthesemistakesormiscalculationsarehumanand normal,andviewedinthelongruntheyhavenotdamagedthecompany.Ido notmindtakingresponsibilityforeverymanagerialdecisionIhavemade.But ifapersonwhomakesamistakeisbrandedandkickedofftheseniority promotionescalator,hecouldlosehismotivationfortherestofhisbusiness lifeanddeprivethecompanyofwhatevergoodthingshemayhavetooffer later.If,ontheotherhand,thecausesofthemistakeareclarifiedandmade public,thepersonwhomadethemistakewillnotforgetitandotherswillnot makethesamemistake.Itellourpeople,“Goaheadanddowhatyouthinkis right.Ifyoumakeamistake,youwilllearnfromit.Justdon’tmakethesame mistaketwice.” Besides,evenifyoufindthepersonresponsibleforthemistake,Itold myAmericanfriend,itislikelythathehasbeenwiththecompanyfora while,andevenifareplacementisputinhisjob,itwon’tnecessarilymake upforthelossofhisknowledgeandexperience.Andifheisnewtoyour company,Isaid,well,achild’smistakedoesnothavetobedealtwithby disowninghim.Itismoreimportanttotrytogettothecausesothatyoucan avoidtheprobleminthefuture.Andifitismadeclearthatthecauseisbeing pursued not to cause damage to an individual’s future but to help all employeeslearn,theresultwillbeavaluablelessonratherthanaloss.Inall myyearsinbusinessIcanrecallveryfewpeopleIhavewantedtofirefor makingmistakes. RightafterweformedourAmericancompany,weneededalotofpeople

inahurrytoestablishoursalesorganizationbecausebusinessgotverygood veryfast.Someofournewemployeesweregoodandsome,werealizedlater, weshouldn’thavehired.WehadtroublewithonemanandIwasexasperated and constantly worried about him. Finally, I discussed his case with my Americancolleagues.“Whatcanwedowiththisguy?”Iaskedoneday.They alllookedatmeasthoughIwasslow-witted.“Why,firehim,ofcourse,”they said.Iwasstunnedbytheidea.Ihadneverfiredanybody,andeveninthis caseithadnevercrossedmymind.Buttosolveaproblembyfiringtheman wastheAmericansystem.Itseemedsoclearandstraightforwardandlogical. IbegantothinkAmericaisamanager’sparadise;youcandoanythingyou wanttodo.ThenafewmonthslaterIsawtheothersideofthecoin. We had a district sales manager who looked very promising, so promising,infact,thatIsenthimtoTokyoonanextendedtriptomeet everybodyatthehomeofficeandgetacquaintedwiththephilosophyand spiritofourorganization.Hedidbeautifully,impressingeverybodyinTokyo. HecamebacktotheStatesandwenttoworkandcontinuedtopleaseusuntil oneday,withoutanywarning,hecameintomyofficeandsaid,“Mr.Morita, thanksforeverythingbutI’mquitting.”Icouldn’tbelievemyears.Butitwas no joke. Acompetitor had offered to double or triple his salary, and he thoughthecouldn’trefuseit.ThisistheAmericanway,Irealized.Iwasvery embarrassedandembitteredbythisepisode,and,frankly,Ididn’treallyknow howtohandleit.Monthslater,Iwenttoanelectronicsshowandthereatthe boothofoneofourcompetitorswasthistraitor.Ithoughtweshouldavoid each other, but instead of hiding from me, he rushed over to me full of greetingsandconversation,asthoughtherewasnothingtobeashamedabout. Heintroducedmearoundenthusiasticallyanddemonstratedhisnewproduct, justasiftherehadbeennobreachoffaithbetweenus.ThenIrealizedthatfor him,andintheAmericansystem,therehadbeennothingwrongwithhis departurewithallofourmarketinginformationandourcorporatesecrets. Apparently,thissortofthinghappenedeveryday,andthatisafarcryfrom managerialparadise.Ivowedthatmycompanywoulddoitsbesttoavoid adoptingthisaspectofAmericanmanagerialtechnique. IalsodiscoveredsoonthatinWesterncountries,managementlaysoff workerswhenarecessionsetsin.ThatwasalsoashockbecauseinJapanwe justdonotdothatunlesswehavebeenbroughttothedirestpoint.Inthe wake of the oil embargo, Japan suffered heavily because of our total dependenceonforeignsourcesforoil.Weexperiencedaone-yearinflation

rateofover25percentin1973-74,andsomecompaniessimplycouldn’tkeep

theirshopsrunning,sotheyhadtosendpeoplehome.Butitwasimpossible

forthosepeopletositaroundathomewhentheircompanywasintrouble,so

there were cases where employees started drifting back to the company, cleaning up, mowing lawns, offering to do any odd jobs. One electrical appliance company sent employees to local electrical shops to help the retailers,whowerealsosuffering,bybecomingunpaidsalesmen.Thiswas notsomethingthatcamefromthemanagementside.Itcamefromtheworkers themselves, who see their jobs in the context of a shared fate with the company.Ihaveheardofacasewherealaid-offworkerinOsakawhocame backtohisplantconfidedtoareporterthathewasshamedbyhiswife,who said, “How can you sit here at home all day doing nothing while your companyisinsuchtrouble?”

said, “How can you sit here at home all day doing nothing while your companyisinsuchtrouble?”
ReunitedafterthewarinSeptember1945,thefamilyisathomein Kosugaya,thethreebrothersinuniformforthelasttime.Firstrow,leftto

ReunitedafterthewarinSeptember1945,thefamilyisathomein

Kosugaya,thethreebrothersinuniformforthelasttime.Firstrow,leftto

right:Yuki(Kyuzaemon’ssister),Kyuzaemon,andShuko.Backrow,leftto

right:Kazuaki,Akio.Kikuko,andMasaaki.

right:Kazuaki,Akio.Kikuko,andMasaaki. In1947,TokyoTsushinKogyomovedfromabombeddepartmentstore

In1947,TokyoTsushinKogyomovedfromabombeddepartmentstore

toabarrackinGotenyama,thesamesiteSonyheadquartersnowoccupies.

Fromlefttoright:AkiraHiguchi,KazuoIwama,MasuruIbuka,AkioMorita.

ASonyfamilyphotograph,1951,withthecompany’s483employees.

ASonyfamilyphotograph,1951,withthecompany’s483employees.

IbukaandMoritastandfrontrowcenter,andIwamaisdirectlybehindMorita.

ThefirstfactoryandheadquartersbuiltbySony.The“T”standsfor TokyoTsushinKogyo.

ThefirstfactoryandheadquartersbuiltbySony.The“T”standsfor

TokyoTsushinKogyo.

TokyoTsushinKogyo. ThefirstmagneticrecordingtapeandtaperecordermarketedinJapan,

ThefirstmagneticrecordingtapeandtaperecordermarketedinJapan,

1950.

Anelectricricecooker—aproductthatneverworkedproperly.

OnSeptember17,1970,SonybecamethefirstJapanesefirmtobelisted

OnSeptember17,1970,SonybecamethefirstJapanesefirmtobelisted

ontheNewYorkStockExchange.Fromlefttoright:RobertHaack,president

ofNYSE,AkioMorita,andAlbertFried,NYSEspecialistforSony.

ontheNewYorkStockExchange.Fromlefttoright:RobertHaack,president ofNYSE,AkioMorita,andAlbertFried,NYSEspecialistforSony.
Sony’sfirsttransistorradio,1955. Theworld’sfirstvideocassettesystem.

Sony’sfirsttransistorradio,1955.

Theworld’sfirstvideocassettesystem.

Theworld’sfirstvideocassettesystem. TheMoritafamilyathomeonNewYear’sDay,1974.Lefttoright:

TheMoritafamilyathomeonNewYear’sDay,1974.Lefttoright:

Naoko,Hideo,Yoshiko,Akio,andMasao.

LongtimefriendLeonardBernsteinrelaxesattheMoritaresidencein Tokyo.

LongtimefriendLeonardBernsteinrelaxesattheMoritaresidencein

Tokyo.

LongtimefriendLeonardBernsteinrelaxesattheMoritaresidencein Tokyo.

WithDengXiaopinginChina,September1979.

WithDengXiaopinginChina,September1979.

ThePrincessofWalesattheopeningoftheexpandedSonyBridgend

plantinWales.

plantinWales. MeetingwithPresidentReaganattheWhiteHouseduringtheKeidanren

MeetingwithPresidentReaganattheWhiteHouseduringtheKeidanren

missiontotheUnitedStatesinJune1984.

missiontotheUnitedStatesinJune1984. Itwasnotalwayslikethis,ofcourse.InMeijitimes,whenthe

Itwasnotalwayslikethis,ofcourse.InMeijitimes,whenthezaibatsu weretheeconomicrulersofthecountry,anyattemptatlabor-organizingwas brandedradical,orworse,Communist,whichwasoutlawed.Therewasno real democracy before the war. Coal miners, mill workers, and factory laborerswereexploited.Lifetimeemploymentwasaone-waystreetinthose days.Thatis,workerswererequiredtostayloyalwithaspiritof“servebut onemaster.”Buttheemployercouldfireanybodyatanytime.Peoplecould befiredonthespot.Theapprenticesystemwasalsonotorious,something veryfewofouryoungstersrealizetoday.Whenanapprenticetookservice withanemployer,hewasforcedtoworkafewyearswithoutanypaymentat all.Thiswascalled“courtesyservice.”Theyworkedtenortwelvehoursa day,andtheaverageapprenticewasgivenonlyoneortwodaysoffamonth. Rightafterthewar,whenthenew,liberallaborlawswereenacted,many businessmenfearedthelawswouldleadtothecollapseofJapaneseindustry. So,eventhough thissystemofbeingunableto fireanybodymighthave seemeddangerous,theJapanesebusinessmenwentthrougharoughperiodof

tryingtoturnthesituationtotheiradvantage.Theydiditbypromotingthe familialconcept,andinmakingthebestofwhattheythoughtwasabadthing, theycreatedsomethingnewanddurable.Managementtransformeditselfat thesametime.Nowthatthezaibatsuweregoneandfamilyfortuneswere virtuallywipedout,everybodybecameaworker. Wewerefortunate,despiteeverything,tohavethenewlaborconcepts forcedonusafterthewar,conceptsthattheWesterncountrieshadlearnednot allthatmanyyearsearlierafterdecadesoflaborexploitationandstrife. Notallbusinessmenwereexploitersduringthebadolddays,butthereis a difference between old-fashioned paternalism and the shared-fate and egalitariansystemthatexiststoday.Icannotunderstandwhythereisanything goodinlayingoffpeople.Ifmanagementtakestheriskandresponsibilityof hiringpersonnel,thenitismanagement’songoingresponsibilitytokeepthem employed. The employee does not have the prime responsibility in this decision,sowhenarecessioncomes,whyshouldtheemployeehavetosuffer forthemanagementdecisiontohirehim?Therefore,intimesofboomweare verycarefulaboutincreasingourpersonnel.Oncewehavehiredpeople,we trytomakethemunderstandourconceptofafate-sharingbodyandhowifa recessioncomesthecompanyiswillingtosacrificeprofittokeeptheminthe company.Theirwageincreasesorbonusesmightalsohavetobesacrificed, becauseweallmustsharethisdifficulty.Theyknowthatmanagementdoes notlavishbonusesonitself—onlyworkersgetbonusesunderoursystem— and, as I have mentioned before, there are no “golden parachutes” for managersexceptasimplelifetimeparachuteofguaranteedemploymentanda lifeofconstructivework.Andwhenacompanyisintrouble,itisthetop managerswhotakesalarycutsbeforethelower-levelemployees. Idonotliketohavemymanagersthinktheyareaspecialbreedof peopleelectedbyGodtoleadstupidpeopletodomiraculousthings.The worldofbusinesshassomepeculiarities.Forinstance,intheworldofthe arts,nobodywillrecognizeapersonasanartistunlessheisoutstanding, excellent,avirtuoso.NobodywouldpaytohearHorowitzandKempffand Serkinplaythepianounlessthosemenwereoutstandingperformers.Itisno exaggerationtosaythatacircustightropewalkeroranaerialististhesame. Theyallhaveexcellenceoftechnique,whichtheyperfectedonlyafterlong andhardtraining.Andmostimportant,theyknowthatanylittlemistakethey make will be obvious to the audience immediately. It could destroy their wholecareer,andforthecircusperformeritcouldbefatal. Buttheremarkablethingaboutmanagementisthatamanagercangoon for years making mistakes that nobody is aware of, which means that managementcanbeakindofcon-job.Thisisbecausemanagement,despite

the work of the Harvard Business School and others, and the increasing number of holders of advanced degrees in business administration, is an elusivethingthatcannotalwaysbejudgedbynextquarter’sbottomline. Managerscanlookgoodonthebottomlinebutatthesametimemaybe destroyingthecompanybyfailingtoinvestinthefuture.Tomymind,the performance of a manager is measured by how well that manager can organizealargenumberofpeopleandhoweffectivelyheorshecangetthe highest performance from each of the individuals and blend them into a coordinatedperformance.Thatiswhatmanagementis.Itdoesnotstartatthe bottomlineofthebalancesheet,whichcanbeblackonedayandredthenext, nomatterwhatyoudo.Itoldmymanagersrecently,“Whatyouareshowing toyouremployeesisnotthatyouareanartistwhoperformsbyhimselfonthe highwire,butyouareshowingthemhowyouareattemptingtoattractalarge numberofpeopletofollowyouwillinglyandwithenthusiasmtocontribute tothesuccessofthecompany.”Ifyoucandothat,thebottomlinewilltake careofitself. Therearemanystylesofmanagement,andsomeworkfineintheirown contextbutnotinothers.Forexample,SonyAmericawasunderthedirection

ofHarveyScheinfrom1972to1978,andourU.S.businessreallyflourished

withhimatthecontrols.HisapproachwasnotJapanese,butbasedonpure, hard,straight,andclearlogic.IguessthatiswhatIfoundattractiveabouthim during my negotiations with him for the CBS-Sony joint venture. The problemwiththelogicgame,however,isthatitleaveslittleroomforthe humanfactor. Ourold-stylefamilialcompanywasunusualorrareintheUnitedStates, althoughTomWatson,Sr.,builtIBMintoanindustrialgiantbyusingsomeof thesamepeople-orientedpoliciesweuse.Therewereafewothersamongthe smallerconcernsintheU.S.ButScheindidnotbelievethatthiskindof managementwouldhelptheexpansionofSonyAmerica.Wetalkedalot aboutthis,andhegotmyauthoritytostreamlinethecompany.Ithoughtit wasaninterestingandreasonableexperiment.HeAmericanizedthecompany totally and did a very fine job of it. He recruited a new group of top executivesandfiredsomeofthepreviousgroup,andheinstalledabudgeting systemthatkepttightfinancialcontrolofeverything.Heevenfleweconomy classhimselfwhenhetraveledondomesticflights.Heconsideredcostin everything,andasfarasmakingaprofitwasconcerned,therewasnomatch forhim. In 1975, when we were ready to introduce Betamax, which was to becomeourfuture“cashcow,”Ienvisionedahugedomesticadvertisingand promotion campaign that would be carried out regardless of budgetary

considerations.Myfeelingwasthatthisfirsthome-usevideocassetterecorder neededtobeintroducedtothepeoplewithamassivecampaign,becauseit wasthefirstofitskindandpeoplehadtobeshownhowtheycouldusethe productintheirdailylivesandhowitcouldbecomeanassetandsomething morethanatoy.ButmySonyAmerica(Sonam)presidentwasreluctantto spendthemoney.Hesaidifwespentalotonthispromotionandifhecould notbringinenoughsales,wewouldlosemoney.Itoldhimoverandover, “Youmustalsoconsiderthereturnthatcomesinfiveortenyears,Harvey,not justtheimmediatereturn.”Hehadhisownplansforintroductionandwas satisfiedwiththem.Iwasn’t. Astheintroductiondatedrewnear,Ibegantoworryaboutwhatthe campaignwouldlooklikeandwhatitsimpactwouldbe.ThemoreIknewof it,themoreworriedIgot.Ididn’tthinkitwasimpressiveenoughtomatch theinnovativenatureofthisbrand-newproduct.ThatsummerIwaswithmy family at our cottage in Karuizawa, and I couldn’t get my mind off the problemoftheBetamaxintroduction.Iwantedittobeastunningintroduction that would grab the imagination of Americans and show them how this machinecouldchangetheirlives,asIknewitwould.ThatnightIwenttobed troubled.Icouldn’tsleep,tossingandturninguntilIcouldstanditnolonger. Inthemiddleofthenight,IgrabbedthephoneandcalledHarvey.He wasinameetinginNewYork.Igothimoutandyelledathim,“Ifyou’renot goingtospendamillionortwomilliondollarsontheBetamaxcampaignin thenexttwomonths,Iwillfireyou.”Ihadneversaidanythinglikeit,andhe hadneverheardmesoundinglikethat.Itmadeanimpression,andIfelt better. Hespentthemoney,andBetamaxwaswellandproperlyintroduced.But IdiscoveredlaterthatwhattheydidatSonamwasshiftthemoneyfromother partsofthebusiness,soourtotaladvertisingexpenditureremainedthesame. ItmeantacutinthepromotionbudgetforaudioequipmentandTV,which werethenveryactive.Theirsalesmighthavebeenevenmoreactiveifthead andpromotionbudgetshadn’tbeencutbackbytheBetamaxpromotion.But I’llneverknow. ThetroublewithAmericanmanagementoftheSonamoperationinthe earlydaysunderScheinwasthatprofitwasthemaingoal.Inmyview,profit doesn’thavetobesohigh,becauseinJapanesecompaniesourshareholders donotclamorforimmediatereturns;rathertheypreferlong-termgrowthand appreciation.Ourbankloansaresolidatfavorableratesofinterest.Ofcourse wehavetomakeaprofit,butwehavetomakeaprofitoverthelonghaul,not justtheshortterm,andthatmeanswemustkeepinvestinginresearchand

development—ithasrunconsistentlyabout6percentofsalesatSony—andin

service. Toooftentheideawassoundedthatservicewasanuisance,andwhen thatphilosophytookhold,servicequalitydroppeddramatically.Stockingof partsmeansanincreaseininventory,hencemoreinterestloss,sousinggood HarvardBusinessSchoollogic,thethingtodo,Iwastold,wastodecreasethe servicecomponentsstock.Whenweplannedtoopenanextensiveservice centerinKansasCitytoestablishacompleteservicingnetwork,Ihadavery difficulttimeconvincingSonammanagementthatthiswasanecessaryand goodidea.MyargumentagainandagainwithHarveyScheinandotherswas thatbysavingmoneyinsteadofinvestingitinthebusinessyoumightgain profitonashort-termbasis,butinactualfactyouwouldbecashinginthe assetsthathadbeenbuiltupinthepast.Togainprofitisimportant,butyou mustinvesttobuildupassetsthatyoucancashininthefuture. Intheelectronicsindustrytoday,everythingischangingrapidly;infact theonlythingwecanbecertainofisthatthebusinesswillneverstandstill. ThecompetitionbetweencompaniesinJapanisfierce.Wehavegonefrom taperecorderstovideotaperecorderstocompactdiscs,fromvacuumtubesto transistors, semiconductors, integrated circuits, very large-scale integrated circuits,andwehavebiochipstolookforwardtointhefuture.Thisonward rush of technology will one day enable people to have facilities at their commandintheirhomesthatarenotevenhintedatyet.Itwillbeanexciting future. Itmaysoundcurious,butIlearnedthatanenemyofthisinnovation couldbeyourownsalesorganization,ifithastoomuchpower,becausevery oftentheseorganizationsdiscourageinnovation.Whenyoumakeinnovative newproducts,youmustre-educatethesalesforceaboutthemsothesalesmen can educate and sell the public. This is expensive; it means investing sufficientmoneyinR&Dandnewfacilitiesandadvertisingandpromotion. Anditalsomeansmakingsomepopularandprofitableitemsobsolete,often theitemsyoucanmakethemostprofitonbecauseyourdevelopmentcosts arepaidforandtheseproductshavebecomeeasyforyoursalesmentosell. But if you are nothing but profit-conscious, you cannot see the opportunitiesahead.Andwherecompensationistiedtoprofits,asitisin mostAmericancompanies,veryoftenamanagerwillsay,“WhyshouldI sacrificemyownprofitstodayfortheguywhoisgoingtofollowmeinthis jobafewyearsfromnow?”ToooftenintheU.S.andEurope,managerswill abandonworkonapromisingproductbecausedevelopmentcostsseemtoo high.Thatcanbeveryshortsightedandcanleadtotheinabilityofacompany tocompete. Sometimessalesmencangetoutinfrontofthepublicwithoutactually

leadingthem.Whenwefirstmarketedourportableblackandwhitevideo tape recorder, the U-Matic, we got an order almost immediately for five thousandunitsfromanAmericandistributor.Itoldhimtheorderseemedtoo large for the market at the time. Not many people were psychologically preparedtobuysuchadevice.IsaidthatwithaninnovationliketheU-Matic, alotofeducatinghastobedone:onemustpreparethegroundworkamong

thecustomersbeforeyoucanexpectsuccessinthemarketplace.Itisatime-

honoredJapanesegardeningtechniquetoprepareatreefortransplantingby slowlyandcarefullybindingtherootsoveraperiodoftime,bitbybit,to preparethetreefortheshockofthechangeitisabouttoexperience.This process,callednemawashi,takestimeandpatience,butitrewardsyou,ifitis doneproperly,withahealthytransplantedtree.Advertisingandpromotionfor abrand-new,innovativeproductisjustasimportant.Inthecaseoftheearly U-Matic,littlehadbeendonetopreparetheAmericanpublicforthisnew device,anditwasnosurprisetomethatthedistributorandtheretailerscould not sell them. Then, in reaction to the disappointment of the failure, the distributordidtheworstpossiblethingfromourpointofview:hediscounted themheavilytogetridofthem,cheapeningourimage. Ihavesometimesbeenaccusedofmovingtoofast,ofbeingimpatient (myNewYorkofficestaffoncegavemearedfireman’shelmetasapresent becausetheysaidIwasalwaysinsuchahurry).ButIamalsoapersonwho canapplyakindofsixthsensetopeopleandproductsthatmightdefylogic. Somethingtoldmethatthemarketwasnotyetripeforalargesaleofvideo portables,andIwasright.Advertisingandpromotionalonewillnotsustaina badproductoraproductthatisnotrightforthetimes.Homevideowasthe rightproductandprovedtobeadurablesuccess,butitstimewasabitlater. WhatIcansometimessenseinaproduct,Ihavealsobeenabletosense inpersonnel,Ibelieve.IthinkIhavehiredmanymorecreativeemployees thanmediocreones.Theyhaven’talwaysagreedwithme,whichisfine,of course.OneofthebestexamplesofthisisNorioOhga,theyoungmusic

studentwhoaskedsomanyaudaciousquestionsofoursalesmenin1947that

theyfinallybroughthimaroundtothecompanytotalktotheengineers.

Ohgaadvisedusonthemusicalsideofthingsformanyyearsbeforehe

joinedSony.Hemadeoneofourfirsttaperecordingsofthefullorchestraof

theTokyoUniversityofArts,withhimselfasbaritonesoloistinBrahms’s

GermanRequiem.ItriedveryhardtogethimontotheSonystaff,buthewas

extremelyreluctant.WhenhefirstcametovisitSony,whilehewasstilla

student,hestartedarguingwithme,notknowingexactlywhoIwasorwhat

mypositionwas.Thestaffwasamusedbyhisbrashness,andwhenIleftthe

roomheaskedthemaboutme.Theysaid,“That’sMorita,Mr.TokyoTsushin

Kogyo.”Hesayshewasembarrassed,butIdoubtit.Itcertainlydidn’tchange hisstyle.HewentofftoGermanytostudy,andweaskedhimtowriteus aboutdevelopmentsinelectronicsthere.Isenthimoneofourfirsttransistor radios to show off, and we kept in touch while he studied and sang his favoriteroles,WolframinTannhauser,thetitleroleinDonGiovanni,and CountAlmavivainTheMarriageofFigaro.HefinallyreturnedtoJapan,got married,andgaveconcertswithhiswife,thepianistMidoriMatsubara.In

1959IaskedhimtocomewithmetoEuropeonatriptofindnewagentsfor

transistorradios.WehadafinetripandIdidn’tbroachthemainsubjectIhad inminduntilwewereaboardtheSSUnitedStates,whereIhadhimtrapped forthefourdaysandtenhoursoftheSouthampton-to-NewYorkcrossing. Onthattrip,wewalkedalot,atealot,exercisedalot,andtalkedalot,of course. Ohga, a strapping, barrel-chested fellow, with a resonant voice, criticizedSonyinbeautifultones,andIwasmostinterestedinwhathehadto say.Hedidn’tpullanypunches.“Yourcompanyisfullofengineers,”hesaid, andfromhistoneofvoiceIcouldtellhedidn’tmeanitasacompliment. “Sincetheseengineersstartedthecompany,”hecontinued,“fromtheirpoint ofviewtheythinkitisrightthattheyshouldcontinuetorunit.Butfroman outsider’spointofview,thecompanyisold-fashionedandpoorlyrun.”Itwas afreshpointofview,andstartling,becausewestillthoughtofourselvesas quite daring and original managers. We couldn’t see what he saw from outside,thatperhapswehadbeenrestingonouroars,thatweweregetting outofdateafteroveradecadeincontrol.Heelaboratedatsomelength,and finallyIsaid,“Allright,youjoinusandyouwillbeoneofthemanagement team.”Hehadfallenintomytrap,Ithought.Buthestillheldout,sayingthat hewantedthefreedomtobeanartist,notasalarymantiedtoadesk.Isaidhe couldstillgiveconcertsandalsoworkforusfull-time,thatwewouldworkit outbetweenus. AfterwegotbacktoJapan,mywifeandIwenttohiswife,Midori,and appealed to her to help us get him on board. Midori was a high school classmateofYoshiko.Idonotknowwhowaseventuallymostpersuasive,but Ohgafinallyjoinedthecompanyasgeneralmanagerofprofessionalproducts and in a year and a half was in charge of all consumer tape recorder

operations.In1964,afteronlyfiveyearsinthecompany,andwhenhewas

onlythirty-four,hebecameamemberoftheboard,somethingunheardofin traditionalJapanesecompanies,butSonystillthoughtitwasanythingbut traditional, despite Ohga’s criticism. In his first year he did many nontraditionalthings,includinghiringalmostfortypeopleawayfromother companies. When Sony was new and small, we could steal people from other

companies and get away with it, but now that we are so large it is not consideredtherightthingtodo,althoughwestillkeeponscoutingfortalent. Besides,ittendstounderminetheloyaltyofyourowncompany’sstaffby slightingthepeoplewhoaretryingtoearnpromotions.WhenIwasstarting Sony,Ifoundmanypeoplefromamongmyclassmatesatschool,whichis oneofthetraditionalsources.IevencalledonpeoplewithwhomIhadgone toelementaryschoolbecauseIknewthemandtheirfamilies.ButIlongago ranoutofthesepersonalfriendsandacquaintancesandhadtorecruitinother ways.Ohga,inhisearlydayswithus,wouldgothroughthebookletsofnew graduatesputoutbyeachschoolandmarkthepromisingonesforusto recruit.

III

Onceyouhaveastaffofprepared,intelligent,andenergeticpeople,the nextstepistomotivatethemtobecreative.Foralongtime,theJapanese havebeenbrandedasimitatorsratherthancreators.ButIthinkitwouldbe downrightfoolishtosaythatwhatJapaneseindustryhasaccomplishedinthe past forty years has been anything but creative. The work being done in biotechnology,newmaterialssuchasceramicsandfibers,optoelectronics, andotherfieldsallspeakforthemselves.Andcertainlyourcontributionsin productiontechnologyandqualitycontrolhavebeencreative. Wealllearnbyimitating,aschildren,asstudents,asnovicesintheworld ofbusiness.Andthenwegrowupandlearntoblendourinnateabilitieswith therulesorprincipleswehavelearned.Dr.MakotoKikuchi,ourresearch centerdirector,likestopointoutthatimitationisthefirststepinachild’s learningprocessandthattheoriginalmeaningoftheJapanesewordmanabu (tolearn)ismanebu(toimitate). WhenJapanjoinedtheworldaftermorethantwocenturiesinisolation, theJapanesewereignorantofsomuchthathadbeenlearnedanddeveloped abroadduringthosecenturies.Ledbythegovernmentandtheenlightened leadershipoftheEmperorMeiji,Japanreachedoutallaroundtheworldfor these“new”ideasandtechnologies.Inawaythiswasdoneinself-defense, becausewhentheWesterncountriesdemandedthatJapanopenitsdoors,they alsoimposedunequaltreatiesonJapan,pactsthatdidnotallowJapanto protecthereconomyandinfantindustries.Astrongindustrialbasetogether withastrongmilitaryseemedtheonlywaytosurviveasamemberofarather greedyandpredatoryinternationalsociety. Some people think that the Japanese ability to create the country’s present industrial establishment is something that was learned in the four decadessinceWorldWarII,buttheyjustdonotknowtheirhistory.Fromthe depthsofagrarianisolation,Japanstartedonitsindustrialjourneyinthelast

thirdofthenineteenthcentury,andby1905—onlyaboutonegeneration—the

industrialandeconomicmightofthenationhadbeenraisedtosuchaheight thattinyJapan,withapopulationofaboutthirtymillion,wasabletodefeat both China (1894-95) and Imperial Russia (1904-1905) in war. At the beginning of World War I in Europe, Japan was the major military and industrialpowerinAsia.Thisishistory,andIamcitingitonlytopointout

thattheeconomicmiracleofJapansince1945shouldbeseeninperspective.

Early in the development process the Meiji government realized it could

devise economic plans and set industrial goals to fulfill the plans, but governmentleaderssoonrealizedtheycouldnotrunthefactoriesandproduce thegoods.Andsogovernmentandindustrydevisedasystemofcooperation andsupport,forthebenefitofthenation.Someaspectsofthesystemare beingdismantledonlytoday. Comparingthetwoperiods—theMeijieraandthepost-PacificWarera —wouldbeuseless,butonestrikingfactmustbenoted,andthatisthatall Japanesehavesharedinthestruggletorebuildthenationanditspeaceful industrialplantsincetheendofthewar.Andtheyhavesharedthefruitsof theirsuccessforthefirsttimeinhistory,astheJapanesestandardofliving reachedtopworldlevels.Ofcourse,Japanreachedoutagainintheselastfour decades for technology, to attempt to catch up with developments it had missed,andweboughttechnologiesfordirectuseandtoimproveupon. Japanese steel makers bought technology for the basic oxygen conversionsystemfromtheoriginatingcompaniesinAustria,butwithinless than a decade Japanese companies were selling improved steel-making technologybacktothosesamecompanies.Asanotherexample,weatSony tookthebasictransistorandredesignedandrebuiltitforapurposeofourown thattheoriginatorshadn’tenvisioned.Wemadeacompletelynewkindof transistor, and in our development work, our researcher, Leo Esaki, demonstratedtheelectrontunnelingeffect,whichledtothedevelopmentof thetunneldiodeforwhichhewasawardedaNobelPrizeseventeenyears later,afterhehadjoinedIBM. IwasontheboardofIBMWorldTradewhentheawardwasannounced andwasactuallyattendinganIBMboardmeetinginParisatthetime.An assistantbroughtnewstoIBMchairmanFrankCareyatourmeeting,and CareyproudlytoldhisboardmembersthatthiswasthefirsttimeanIBM scientisthadwonaNobel.Hewasbeaming,naturally,andtherewasapplause allaround.ThenDr.EmanuelPiori,theheadofIBMresearch,wenttohim andquietlyexplainedthebackground.WhenCareycalledonme,Ionlysaid, “Weareverypleased.”Actuallyitwasanunderstatement.Esaki’sNobelwas thefirstNobelPrizeforanyJapanesescientistworkinginindustry;allthe otherlaureateshavebeenprofessors.AndSonywas,relativelyspeaking,a veryyoungcompanyontheJapaneseindustrialscene. Dr. Kikuchi, our research center director, says that regardless of whatever arguments one might make about what he calls the “adaptive creativity”thatJapanesescientistsandtechniciansusedduringthecatch-up phase in Japan’s development and the so-called “independent creativity” practicedtoday,thereisnodoubtthatJapanisnowafull-fledgedmemberof theworld’stechnologicalcommunity.Japan,theUnitedStatesandWestern

Europenowtreateachotheronequalterms.Whentechnicalmeetingsare heldinJapan,suchasthemeetingonso-calledfifthgenerationcomputer

technologyheldinTokyoin1984,topresearchersfromaroundtheworld

gathertolearnofJapan’stechnicalprogress.Atthat1984conference,speaker

afterspeakerfromabroadpointedouthowtheJapanproject,lightlyfunded bythegovernmentandparticipatedinbymanyJapanesecompanies,had stimulatedtheirgovernmentstoinvestinartificialintelligenceprojectsthat hadbeenneglecteduntiltherewasnewsofJapan’sproject. AsDr.Kikuchihaspointedout,therearedifferentkindsofcreativity.I toldagatheringofEuropeansandAmericansattheAtlanticInstituteinParis

inDecember1985thatthekeyfactorinindustryiscreativity.Isaidthereare

three creativities: creativity in technology, in product planning, and in marketing.Tohaveanyoneofthesewithouttheothersisself-defeatingin business. ToclearupafewmythsthatstilllingeraboutthesubjectofJapanese creativity,ImustemphasizethatauniquefeatureofJapanesetechnological developmentisitsindependencefromdefensetechnology.Itiswellknown thatmuchofAmericanandEuropeantechnologyisspunoffofdefensework fundedbygovernment.Thishasbeenbeneficial,ofcourse;butinJapan, wherewehavenodefenseindustrytospeakof,wehavemadeperpetual changesintheconsumermarketplace,bringingtechnologicalinnovationinto thehomewithcommercialusetechnology.Andinterestingly,inthereverseof

theflowintheUnitedStatesandEurope,nowJapanesenon-defenseknow-

how is being sought by the defense establishments of both the U.S. and Europe.Infact,anagreementhasbeensignedontheexchangeoftechnology

betweenJapanandtheU.S.concerningimagingtechnologyusingJapanese-

designed charge-coupled devices, which convert analog information into digital information that can produce finer and more useful and adaptable images. Also, I think it is worth pointing out that in Japan most advanced engineering and scientific research has been carried out by national universities, not private ones. These national universities tend to avoid influencesfromoutsideandjealouslyguardtheirindependence,especially from the private business community. That is why cooperation between industriesanduniversitiesismoredifficultherethanelsewhere.IntheUnited States, exchanges of human and research resources are common between universitiesandtheprivatesector. The major burden of research is borne by private industry in Japan, which contradicts the notion that Japanese business and government

cooperationisthekeytoJapanesecommercialsuccess.Infact,in1984,77.7

percentoftheR&DinJapanwaspaidforbybusinessenterprises,andonly22

percentbygovernment.Someofusinbusinessfeelthegovernmentisn’t really helping, but is creating impediments to innovative change and developmentswithexcessiveinterventionandobsoleteregulations. ThehighlyeducatedworkforceofJapancontinuestoproveitsvaluein thefieldofcreativeendeavor.Intherecoveryfromthewar,thelowcostof thiseducatedlaborwasanadvantageforJapan’sgrowinglow-technology industry.Nowthattheindustrialdemandisforhightechnology,Japanis fortunatetohaveahighlyeducatedworkforcesuitedtothenewchallenge. Andeventhoughlaborcostsarehigh,theintelligenceofthelaborforceisone factorthatwillcontinuetobeanadvantageforJapan’sindustry. ThereisgrowingdiscontentinJapantodaywiththecurrenteducational system,whichforcesstudentstospendmuchoftheirtimelearninghowto passexaminationsinordertogetintogoodschools.Thissystemdoesnot leave them enough time for experimentation and original thinking. The systemhasserveduswelluptonow,butwaysarebeingexploredtomakethe systemmoreefficientandrelevanttothenewtimeswearelivingin.Wehave always demanded original thinking from our employees, and we have receivedalotofit.Fromamanagementstandpoint,itisveryimportantto knowhowtounleashpeople’sinborncreativity.Myconceptisthatanybody hascreativeability,butveryfewpeopleknowhowtouseit. Mysolutiontotheproblemofunleashingcreativityisalwaystosetupa target.ThebestexampleofthiswastheApolloprojectintheUnitedStates. WhentheSovietUnionlaunchedtheworld’sfirstartificialsatellite,Sputnik, andthensentthefirsthumanbeingintoouterspace,itwasashocktothe UnitedStates.ManynationsthathadalwayslookedtotheU.S.asthegreat innovatorandcreatorofsomanygoodthingscouldhardlybelievethatany othercountrycouldhavetheabilitytobefirstinspace.Americabegana programtocatchup,butwhenPresidentKennedysetaverycleartarget— goingtothemoonwithintenyears—everythingchanged.Thetargetwasa clearchallenge. Itmeantanenormousleapforwardwouldbeneeded.Nobodyknewhow todoit,allwastheory.Thestudieshadtostartimmediately.Howmuch power would be necessary? What kind of navigation system would be needed?Whatkindofcomputerwouldhavetobedeveloped?Andthenthere wasneedfornewmaterials.Carbonfiberwasinvented;evensuchsimplebut useful things as Velcro came from that program. The inertial navigation system,awholenewconcept,wasinventedandisinuseinourairliners today. Inordertoreachonetarget,manypeoplebecamecreative.Managershad

todeterminegoalsandgoforthem,encouragingworkerstoexcel.Infact,the ZeroDefectsprogramsofNASAwereagreatinfluenceonJapan’squality controlprograms.WehadhadoneboutwithAmericanhigh-qualitystandards

duringtheKoreanWar(1950-53),whenU.N.militaryprocurementinJapan

gave an enormous boost to Japanese industry and introduced military standardsthatrequiredhigherqualitythanwascommonforordinarycivilian products. We Japanese took the military standards and the Zero Defects programstoheart. The“patronsaint”ofJapanesequalitycontrol,ironically,isanAmerican namedW.EdwardsDeming,whowasvirtuallyunknowninhisowncountry untilhisideasofqualitycontrolbegantomakesuchabigimpactonJapanese companies.Americansawoketothemessageofthisprophetbutdidnottake itasseriouslyastheJapanesedid.Infact,towinaDemingAwardforquality isoneofthehighestdistinctionsaJapanesecompanycanattain.WeatSony havealwaysbeenfanaticsaboutquality.Simply,thebettertheoriginalquality of a product the fewer service problems that have to be faced. We were pleased and proud—and taken by surprise—to hear that a Sony cassette

recorderwastakentothemoonaboardtheApollo11spacecraftandusedto

playmusicbacktotheearth.AlthoughNASAspentlargeamountsofmoney to develop zero gravity reliability assurance into every item used in the program, down to such things as mechanical pencils, the recorder the astronautsusedwasanoff-the-shelfmodel,whichhadbeentestedandfound tobeacceptablewithoutanyneedtoreferbacktous.Wedidn’tknowaboutit inadvance,andIjokinglychidedourengineersafterIheardaboutit,saying theyhadobviouslyoverdesignedthetaperecorder.“Itdoesn’thavetoworkin zero gravity,” I said. “It just has to work anywhere on earth.” When an engineerorascientistisgivenacleartarget,hewillstruggletoreachit.But withouthavingatarget—ifyourcompanyororganizationjustgiveshimalot ofmoneyandsays,“Inventsomething”—youcannotexpectsuccess. That is the trouble with Japanese government research institutes. Governmentbelievesthatifyouhaveabiglaboratory withallthelatest equipmentandgoodfundingitwillautomaticallyleadtocreativity.Itdoesn’t workthatway.WhenIwasastudent,oneofJapan’stopelectricalcompanies builtanewlaboratoryinalovelywoodedcampusincentralJapan.Itwas beautifullydesignedandoutfittedwiththelatestequipment,andthescientists hadgorgeousworkstationsthatweretheenvyoftheirpeers.Thecompany thoughtthatiftheythrewmoney atthesescientists theymightgetsome results.Verylittlecamefromthelab,exceptthatmanyoftheresearchersused theirtimetodoresearchfortheiradvancedacademicdegreesatcompany expense.ThecompanymadealotofPh.D.’s,butnoproductstospeakof.The

governmenthasalsofollowedthesamepathwithaboutthesameresults.In industry,wemusthavethetheoreticalbackground,andwemusthavethepure researchthatprecedesdevelopmentofnewthings,butIhavelearnedthat onlyifwehaveacleargoalcanweconcentrateourefforts. Idonotmeantodenythevalueofpureorbasicresearch.Infact,weare heavilyengagedinitrightnow,andIbelievethatinthefutureJapanese industrymustputmoreeffortintothisfield,becausethiskindofresearchis essential for the creation of new technology. Japan’s spending for basic researchisnowincreasingatafasterratethanspendingforgeneralresearch anddevelopment.ButJapanshouldnotbecomplacent.AreportfromJapan’s

ScienceandTechnologyAgencyin1985saidthatJapan’sinvolvementin

fundamentalresearch“cannotbesaidtobeadequate.”Anditpointedoutthat eventhoughJapan’sR&Dinvestmentishigherthanthatofthethreemajor European countries, the ratio of spending for basic research is lower and seemstobegraduallydecreasinginuniversitiesandgovernmentinstitutions, whichmeanstheloadisincreasinglyfallingonindustry. Whenwestartedourcompanyandevenbeforewetookstockofour abilities,thenumberofpeoplewehad,andwhattheirtalentsandexpertise were,Ibukasaid,“Let’smakeataperecorder.”Thiswasevenbeforewe knewwhatthetapewasmadeoforhowitwascoated—orevenwhatit lookedlike.Wesetouttomakespecial,innovativeproducts,nottoindulgein purescience.Butaswegrewwehadtomovemoreandmoreintothisrealm tomakeourproductsandtheircomponents,todeviseourownproprietary itemsliketransistors,semiconductors,integratedcircuits,andcharge-coupled devices. Gradually, the lines between different kinds of research tend to overlap.Atnotimedidwelooktothegovernmentforhelp.Ourperhaps peculiarlyJapanesereactionwhenwelearnofsomenewdevelopmentor comeacrossaphenomenon,isinvariably“HowcanIusethis?WhatcanI makewithit?Howcanitbeusedtoproduceausefulproduct?” WhenvideorecordingwasbeingusedintheUnitedStatesbythemajor broadcastingstations,wethoughtpeopleshouldhavethesamecapabilityin theirhomes.ThebigTVmachinesthatthestationsusedwerecumbersome and very expensive. We started working toward our target to bring this machineintothehome.Aswedevisedeachnewmodel,itseemedmoreand moreincredibletousthatwecouldmakeitsosmallandsowell.Yetitwas notsmallenoughforIbuka.Butnobodyknewexactlywherewewereheaded untilhetossedthatpaperbackbookontotheconferencetableandsaidthat wasthetarget,avideocassettethesizeofthebookthatcouldholdatleastone hourofcolorprogram.Thatfocusedallthedevelopment.Itwasn’tjusta matterofmakingasmallcassette—awholenewconceptofrecordingand

readingthetapehadtobedevised. Ourbrilliantresearcher,NobutoshiKihara,cameupwiththesystemthat didawaywiththeblankspacesbetweenthebandsofrecordedmaterialon regularvideotape.Theseemptybands(calledguardbands)wereplacedthere to avoid interference, or spillover, as each band of program material is recordedandplayedback.Butthismeantthathalfthetapewasgoingunused except for providing separation between the bands of program. Kihara thought,whynotrecordontotheemptyspaces,greatlyincreasingcapacity andavoidinginterferencebyusingtworecording-readingheadsandangling theheadsaboutninetydegreesfromeachothersothateachheadcouldnot readorinterferewiththerecordedtracknexttoit.Anewrevolvinghead drum had to be designed and a different mechanism developed, but after manymonthsoftesting,hisgroupproducedasystemthatworkedbeautifully, and we had built a brand-new video system for home use, with the best pictureyetattainable. WewerejustifiablyproudofBetamax.InJapanesethewordpronounced “beta”referstoabrushstrokeinpaintingorcalligraphythatisrichandfull, withoutskipsorwhitespots.Kiharausedittorefertotheuseofallthetape withoutleavingspacefortheguardbands.Thesound,beta,soresembledthe Greekletterbetaanditsscientificovertones,thatwecoinedthebrandname, Betamax,fromit. Management of an industrial company must be giving targets to the engineersconstantly;thatmaybethemostimportantjobmanagementhasin dealingwithitsengineers.Ifthetargetiswrong,R&Dexpensesarewasted, sothereisapremiumonmanagementbeingright.Andtomymindthis meansthatpeoplewhoarerunningabusinessoughttoknowtheirbusiness

verywell.Iftheaccountanthadbeeninchargeofourlittlecompanyin1946,

our company would be a small operation making parts for the giants. Likewise,someonewhoisonlyascientistisnotalwaysthebestpersonto haveatthehelm. The late Peter Goldmark was a remarkably creative man, a brilliant engineer.Heinventedthelong-playingrecordandheeventuallybecamethe headofCBSLaboratories.Hegottheideaforatypeofvideorecordingthat used black and white photographic film and electron-beam printing. He demonstratedhisideatotheCBSboard,andtheywereenthusiasticaboutit. Ofcoursenobodyelseontheboard,includingChairmanBillPaley,hada technicalbackground.Theywereallnovicesatengineeringtechnology,and sotheyhadnowaytojudgetheinvention.Goldmarkhadagoodrecordon inventionsandwasalsoaverycapablesalesmanofhisideas,andperhaps nobodyaskedtherightquestions.Inanycase,theboarddecidedtoinvesta

lotofmoneyinthissystem.Goldmarkcametometotrytoselltheidea, hopingtoenlistusinusingthesamesystem,butwewerealreadydeeply involvedinvideorecordingusingthemuchsimplermagneticsystem. “Peter,weareexpertsonvideorecording,”Itoldhim.“Wehavebeen working on magnetic video recording for a long time, and it works beautifully.Wedon’tthinkthisisthewaytogo.”Hewasdisappointed,butI toldhimIthoughtaphotochemicalmethodwasjusttoocomplicated;too manythingscouldgowrongwithit.CBSwentaheadwiththesystem(they calleditEVR)andspentalotofmoneyonitbeforetheyfinallyabandonedit. Althoughitwascreative,itwasnotfeasibleasabusinessventure. As another example, RCAwent into the video disc business with a mechanicalcapacitancesystem,butintheendhadtowriteoffmanymillions because the system was a flop. Whether the design, the technology, the merchandising, or the promotion was bad, the failure was a failure of management. Managers who do not have the capability to judge from a technicalstandpointwhetheraproductisfeasibleornotareatatremendous disadvantage.Ihavealwaysfeltthattheideathatprofessionalmanagerscan movefromoneindustrytoanotherisdangerous.Evenbeinginthebusiness and being knowledgeable about it is no guarantee that all the possible opportunitieswillbeexploitedandthatmistakeswillnotbemade,butatleast theoddsareonyourside. TexasInstrumentsshowedgoodforesightinmakingaradiofrequency transistoratthesametimewewerealsostrugglingwithit.(Theyhadalso licensed the technology from Western Electric.) TI became a principal supplieroftransistorstoIBMandtootherindustrialcompaniesaswellasto manyinvolvedinU.S.defensecontracting.Theylaterinventedtheintegrated circuit,agreatachievementintheareaofsemiconductortechnology.Texas Instruments also supported the Regency company, which put the first transistorizedradioonthemarketafewmonthsbeforeours.YetTIdidnot makemovestodevelopandtakeadvantageofthehugemarkettheymight havehadintheconsumerfield.TheRegencyradio,asImentionedearlier, wasonthemarketforonlyashorttime.Wewouldhavegiventhemagood runfortheirmoneyiftheyhadstayedin,buttherewasneverafightbecause TIapparentlysawnofutureinsmallradios.Butwedid. Itispossibletohaveagoodidea,afineinvention,butstillmisstheboat, soproductplanning,whichmeansdecidinghowtousetechnologyinagiven product, demands creativity. And once you have a good product it is importanttousecreativityinmarketingit.Onlywiththesethreekindsof creativity—technology, product planning, and marketing—can the public receivethebenefitofanewtechnology.Andwithoutanorganizationthatcan

worktogether,sometimesoveraverylongperiod,itisdifficulttoseenew projectstofruition. Ithasbeensaidthatthecreativityoftheentrepreneurdoesnotexistin Japananymorebecausethenationhassomanygiantcompanies.Butventure capitalisavailablenowasneverbefore,andsowewillseetheresultsfrom newsmall,innovativecompanies.Wepromoteentrepreneurshiprightwithin ourownlargecompanybythewaywemanage.Wehaveagroupsystemin which each group, such as TV, video, magnetic, audio, has its own managementwithtotalresponsibilityforwhatitdoes.Withineachsection, eachchiefhasresponsibilityinhisfield.Sowhenheorhisstaffcomesup withanideaoranewinvention,oranewtechnologicalmeansorprocess,he hastheauthoritytopresentittotopmanagement.Ifmanagement,whichhas theabilitytounderstandtechnology,seesthepossibilitiesfavorably,wegive theauthoritytoproceed.Ifwedonot,therearesometimesoptionsbeyond justdroppingtheproject. OneyoungSonyresearcherrecentlycameupwithasystemofplasma displaythatmightonedaybeadaptableforcomputers andevenflatTV monitors.Buttheideaseemedveryfarinthefuturetous,toofartoinvesta lotoftimeandmoneyinatthemoment.Wesuppliedhimwithsomecapital, andheacquiredsomemoreandhassethimselfupinbusiness.Wewere reluctanttoletgoofsuchatalentedemployee,butwefeltthatsincehisdesire tobecomeindependentwassostrong,hecouldapplyhistalentsbetterinhis ownenvironment. AsanideaprogressesthroughtheSonysystem,theoriginalpresenter continuestohavetheresponsibilityofsellinghisideatotechnical,design, production, and marketing staffs and seeing it to its logical conclusion, whetheritisaninsideprocessoranewproductthatgoesallthewayto market.Thatwaythefamilyspiritcontinuestoprevailandthegrouporthose within the group can feel they are not only a part of the team but entrepreneursaswell,contributingprofitablyandcreativelytothewelfareof allofusinthefamily.

AMERICANANDJAPANESESTYLES:The

Difference

I

IoncecomplainedtoanAmericanfriendthatitwasbecomingdifficult tofindanythingactuallymadeintheUnitedStatesthesedays,andhesaid, “Why don’t you take some of our lawyers, a genuine Made-in-America product!”Webothlaughedoverthejoke,butitisn’treallyfunny. The lawyer has become in my mind a major symbol both of the differencebetweenAmericanandJapanesebusinessandmanagementstyles andofaweaknessintheAmericansystem.Ihavespokenoutquitefranklyon thesubjectoflawyersinspeechesinmanyplacesintheU.S.,includingthe JohnF.KennedySchoolofGovernmentatHarvardUniversity. Americansknowthatlegalproblemsareconstantlyinvolvedinalmost alloftherelationsbetweenindividualcompaniesandbetweencompaniesand the government and its agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange CommissionandtheFairTradeCommission.Americansseemtotakeitin stride,butIcan’t.Theselegalproblemshaveasevereimpactonhowbusiness is conducted and, worse, on how businessmen see their role in America. Americanbusinessmenseemtothinkitisnaturalalwaystobelookingover theirshoulderstoseewhoiscomingupbehindthemwithalawsuit.They mustalwaysbeprotectingthemselvesfromattacksfrombehindinsteadof movingaheadandlookingfarintothefuture.Theintrusionoflawyersand thelegalmentalityintosomanyfacetsofAmericanbusinessisincontrastto Japanese management style and philosophy, but as Japanese business has becomemoreinternationalized,weJapanesehavehadtobecomemoreaware ofthelegalprofession.IhopewedonotgothewayoftheAmericansinthis regard.IprefertheJapanesesystem,althoughIhavelearnedalotfromthe Americansystem.Idon’tbelieveallthatwedoinJapanisgood,becauseitis not,butIbelieveabetterunderstandingofthedifferencesmayclearupsome misconceptions. I met Dean Graham Allison of Harvard’s Kennedy School of GovernmentattheShimodaConference,aperiodicgatheringinJapanof AmericanandJapaneseintellectuals,businessmen,andothers,namedforthe town that became the site of America’s first consulate in Japan. The conferencesareagreatopportunityforcommunication,foranalysisfromboth

sides,forexpressingopinionsinanattempttoincreaseunderstanding,andfor justgettingtoknowpeople.InmydiscussionswithDeanAllison,Imusthave beenprettyanimatedonthesubjectoflawyers,becauseheinvitedmeto comespeakattheschool,andinhisletterofinvitationheassignedmea provocative title: “The Role of Lawyers in Handicapping Entrepreneurial EffortsintheUnitedStates.” When I began researching my subject, I discovered that other businessmenhavebeenworriedabouttheproblemsthatlawyerscreatefor businessandforAmericansocietygenerally.MyfriendJohnOpelofIBM wroteanarticleafewyearsagotitled“OurLitigiousSociety,”soIknewI wasnotaloneinmyviewthatlawyersandlitigationhavebecomesevere handicapstobusiness,andsometimesworse.IwasoncetoldbyanAmerican friendthatinsomecaseslawyersstepinwhenthereisatrafficaccidentand

sometimestake65percentoftheinsurancemoneyorthecourtaward,leaving

thevictimonly35percent.Itisanastoundingsituationfromourpointof

view. ThereareoverfivehundredthousandlawyersintheUnitedStates,andI understandthateveryyearmorethanthirty-ninethousandpeoplepassthebar examinations,sothenumberoflawyerscontinuestogrow.Manypeopletake lawdegreesintheU.S.eventhoughtheydonotintendtopracticelaw.In Japanwehaveapproximatelyseventeenthousandlawyers,andthenumber growsonlybyaboutthreehundredpersonsayear.Thebarexaminationisso

difficultthatlessthan3percentofthosewhotakeitpassit.Thosewhopassit

gototheNationalLegalTrainingInstitute,wheretheychoosetopursueone ofthreebranchesofthelaw:publicserviceasaprosecutororasajudge,or privatepractice. Thethreehundredannualgraduatesoftheinstituteareusuallydivided almostequallyamongprosecutors,judges,andprivate-practicelawyers.Of course,therearethousandsofyoungpeoplewhostudylawandgetdegrees andthenmoveintoprivatecompanieswheretheydocorporatelegalstaff workverymuchlikeAmericanlawyers,buttheydonotpracticebeforethe court.Otherswhoaretrainedinlawsometimessitasarbitrators.InJapan,we havenohugelawfirmsasintheUnitedStates,wheredozensoflawyers’ namescoverthefrontdoor—sometimesthefrontwall.Also,whensomeone filesalawsuitincivilcourt,heisrequiredtopayanonrefundablefilingfee basedontheamountbeingsuedfor.Ifhelosesthecase,hemustalsopaythe courtcosts.Thisisonereasonwhyinourearlydayswewerehesitanttogoto court in Tokyo against Balcom Trading over the tape recorder patent infringementcase;wecouldn’taffordtoloseifthecasedraggedonforalong time,buildingupthecourtcosts.

EventhoughwearenotbusyinJapancreatinglawyers,ourcourtsare stilljammedwithcasesthattakeyearstosettle,whichispartlyafunctionof thesmallnumberoflawyers.Thisstateofaffairsalsotendstodiscourage casuallitigation,becausepeopleknowwhentheygointocourtthatitmay takeaverylongtimetoreachasettlement.Therefore,mostordinarydisputes betweenpeopleandevenmanybetweencompaniesaresettledbyarbitration. ButascrowdedasJapan’scourtcalendaris,itisnothingliketheAmerican

situationwhere,accordingtoOpel’scalculations,intheyear2010therewill

benearlyamillioncasesonappeal. WhiletheUnitedStateshasbeenbusycreatinglawyers,wehavebeen busier creating engineers. We have twice as many engineering graduates, whichmeans,takingtherelativesizeofourcountriesintoaccount(theU.S. hasabouttwicethepopulationofJapan),fourtimestheratioofengineers.In theelectronicsfieldalone,eachyearwegraduateabouttwenty-fourthousand engineers,toaboutseventeenthousandintheU.S. Withthissituationinmind,IflewtoBostonformyspeechonaJuneday

in1982anddrovetotheHarvardcampuswhereDeanAllisonmetme.AsI

lookedoutovermyaudienceinFaneuilHall,Ithoughttomyself,thereare

probablyalotoflawyershere,andthisisAmerica,soIhadbetterstartout

withadisclaimer.Isaid,“FirstIwishtomakeitveryclearthatwhatIam

abouttosayismypersonalobservationandnotanopinionhavinganylegal

meaning.Idon’tneedanylegalproblems.”

Theaudiencewasanythingbuthostile,andtheychuckledatmyopening

observation.ButIcouldn’thelpsayingwhatwasinmyheartandmind.Itold

aboutmyfirstexperiencewithAmericanlegalproceduresinsettingupour

companyandabouthowmuchIlearned.AlthoughIhadknownquiteabit,

foraJapanese,aboutthelawintheearlydaysofourbusiness,itwaspretty

muchcenteredaroundpatentsandthingsdirectlyrelatingtoourproducts.We

knewnothingofcontracts,ofconsolidatedaccounting,orothercomplicated

matterslikedealingwithAmericangovernmentagencies,whichyoucannot

doyourselfbutmusthavealawyerdoforyou.

Isaidwehavemanylawyersinourcompanytodayandareinvolved

withmanylawfirmsinAmericaandelsewhere,andtheygiveusvaluable

advice.“Butifwelistentolawyerstoomuch,”Isaid,“wecannotdoany

business.Thelawyer’sroleisveryimportantforthebusinessman,butIalso

thinkthatitposesadanger.Evenifthelawyersthinkofallthepossiblerisks,

anunpredictablethingmayhappen.”ItoldofmyAmericanfriendwhowas

soafraidoffallingandhurtinghimselfinthebathtubthathehadthetub

coveredinrubber—andthenonenighthefelldowninhisbedroomandbroke

hisleg.

WhenIhadwarmeduptothesubject,Imadethepointthat“ifyouhave somanylawyers,theyhavetofindbusiness,whichsometimestheyhaveto create.Iknowtherearemanylawyerssittinghere.ButIthinkthatisafact. Sometimesnonsensicallawsuitsaregeneratedbylawyers.Inthiscountry everybodysueseverybody.”Contingencycases,whicharefrowneduponin Japan,arecommonintheUnitedStates,andIknowofcasesnowintheU.S. courtsinvolvinglargesumsofmoneythatIbelievewerethoughtupbyan outsidelawyerandsoldonacontingencybasistoanAmericancompany. Worse,inmy opinion,isthatnobodyseemsto trustanybodyin the legalisticclimatethathasbeencreatedintheU.S.Ioftensaytomyassistants, “Never trust anybody,” but what I mean is that you should never trust someone else to do a job exactly the way you would want it done; so therefore,donotputtheburdenonsomeoneelsetofulfillyourwishes.In Japanwecustomarilytrusteachother,whichiswhygovernmentandindustry havemanagedtogetalongsowellsincethewar,eventhoughtheyoften squabble. IntheUnitedStatesbusinessmenoftendonottrusttheircolleagues.If youtrustyourcolleaguetoday,hemaybeyourcompetitortomorrow,because peoplefrequentlymovefromonecompanytoanother.Itisalmostinevitable inthissituationthatmutualtrustandconfidencearelostallacrosstheboard. Management doesn’t trust its employees, and employees don’t trust management. The government doesn’t trust business organizations or industry, and industry doesn’t trust government. Sometimes at home the husband doesn’t trust his wife, and the wife doesn’t trust her husband— althoughthatisn’tstrictlyanAmericancharacteristic.Abouttheonlyperson youcantrustinAmerica,itseems,isyourlawyer.Theconversationand correspondencebetweenthelawyerandclientareprotected,legally.Allother thingscanbedisclosedincourt,sohowcanyoutrustanybodyelse? IhavehadmydifficultieswiththeAmericanlegalsystem,andsoIfeel qualifiedtotalkaboutit.WeestablishedourcompanyintheUnitedStatesas Sony America, an American company, and we have been good business citizensofAmerica.WehadtolearnaboutAmericangovernmentandlegal proceduresrightawayandIwasluckytohavealawyerlikeEdwardRosiny tomaketheintroductions.Itwasnoteasyformetograspwhysomethings werenecessary,butIlearnedtocomplywiththeendlesslegalrequirements. However,IthinkinAmericathereissuchathingaslegalharassment,and hereisagoodexample:

In1968theElectronicsIndustriesAssociationfiledacomplaintwiththe

TreasuryDepartmentclaimingthatJapaneseTVmakersweresellingtheir

setsintheUnitedStatesatlowerpricesthaninJapan,inshort,dumpingthem

andcausinginjurytodomesticmakers.Sonywasinvestigatedandfoundnot tobedumping,butbecauseallJapanesecompaniesweresuspected,Sony continued to be subjected to an incredibly tedious, inefficient, time-

consuming,andcostlyinvestigationformanyyearstocome.Finally,in1975

wewereexcludedfromthistelevisiondumpingruling,whichwehadno reasontobeincludedininthefirstplace.Butfortechnicalreasons,ittook anothereightyearstoclearthecase.

Whilethisinvestigationwasgoingon,in1970JapaneseTVmakers

includingSonywerenameddefendantsinaprivateantitrustlawsuitfiledby anAmericanTVmaker,NationalUnionElectricCompany(NUE),which usedthebrandnameEmerson.Thatsuitalsochargeddumping.Ittookten yearsofhardworkbysomeofmybestlegalstaffpeopleandoutsidelawyers beforetheFederalDistrictCourtinPhiladelphiadeliveredajudgmentinour favor,sayinginparticularthatSony’swell-knownpositionasthehighest priced seller in the U.S. market makes it “an illogical candidate” for membershipinalow-priceconspiracy.Yetittookanothertwoandahalf yearstohavethejudgmentconfirmedbytheCourtofAppeals. Ithoughtthatmightbetheendofit,butIwaswrong.Acoalitionof American color TV makers and their unions filed a petition with the International Trade Commission claiming injury from increased Japanese color TV exports. President Jimmy Carter didn’t go along with the recommended duty increase of 20 percent, but he negotiated an orderly marketingagreementwiththeJapanesegovernmentrestrictingshipmentsfor threeyears.Mycompanywascoveredbytheagreement,eventhoughour salesintheU.S.showednosignofthekindofincreasethatcouldcause injurytodomesticmakers. Well,ifthatwasn’tenoughtowearusout,alongcametwodutypetitions seekingtoplacehigherdutiesonourproducts.AndevenwhentheTreasury DepartmentconcludedinthesecasesthatJapanese-madeelectronicswerenot subsidizedbythegovernment,ZenithsuedtheU.S.governmentoverthe ruling!TheychallengedtherulingandsaidthattherefundoftheJapanese commoditytaxonexportedgoodswasasubsidy.Threeyearslater,theU.S. SupremeCourtdismissedtheZenithcase.Imustsaythatallofthis—and thereismoreIwillnotmention—indicatestheuseofthelawbyAmerican companiestoharassandactuallyblockJapaneseimports.Thesecompanies spent millions of dollars in the legal battles, but they failed to make themselvesmorecompetitiveagainsttheJapanesemakers.Theresultwasa greatdealofbitternessandalostbattle.Theonlyoneswhoprofitedfromit were the lawyers, not the consumers, the American companies, or the Japanesefirms.AndsoifIusedthephrase“handicappingentrepreneurial

efforts”inmyspeech,asDeanAllisonsuggested,Ithinkitwasapt. Oneofthethingsthatbothersmethemostabouttheproblemsthatcan becreatedbylawyersisillustratedbytheNationalUnionElectriccaseI mentionedearlier.Whilethiscasewasdraggingon,itstruckmethatitwas costingeverybodyalotofmoney,andIthoughtitwouldbewisetocometo somekindofagreementtoendthesecosts.TheparentcompanyofNUEwas Electrolux,andIwenttoseethechairman,HansWerthen,andsuggestedwe talkaboutsettlingthecase.Buthesaidhehadnocontroloverthecaseand wouldhavetogethislawyer’sOK.Iseenothingwrongwithaskingand takingalawyer’sadvice,butwhygivethemsomuchcontrol?Inthiscase, WerthenwasevenworriedthatifhesettledwithSonyhemightbesuedby hisownlawyer!

Werthenmadeadepositiontoourcounselin1978andrecountedour

meeting,saying,“Ihadtotell[Morita],however,muchasIsympathizedwith him,thislawsuitisabsolutelyoutofmyhands.ItoldhimthatIhaveadeal— wehaveadealwithourlegalpeopleherethattheyhandlethelawsuitagainst asortofcompensationthatdependsontheoutcome….ThatmeansthatI cannotstarttogiveorderstomylawyerstosaydismissthisoneorbringthis one.Theymusthandleit.ItoldMoritathatIwouldhardlybeinapositionto giveordersinthiscase….” Thereisnoproofthathislawyercontrolledthiscaseinordertogeta largeattorney’sfeeintheend,butIhavetostronglysuspectthatthiswasthe case,becauseWerthensaidtomethathislawyerrepresentedhiscompanyon acontingentfeebasis,andtheamountofpossiblerecoveryinthiscase— under the old law that allowed for treble damages if proved—was three hundredandsixtymilliondollars.Whateverthetruthwasinthisparticular incident,acombinationofthesystemoftrebledamagesandprivatelawsuits, which are allowed under the 1916 Revenue Act in suspected unfair competitioncases,pluscontingentfees,seemstogiveincentivetoclientsand theirlawyerstobringprivateantitrustactionsinordertosharetherecoveryof damageawardsbetweenthem.Theideamusthavecomefromlawyers,and thatiswhyIsayitisthelawyerswhocreateproblems. I believe there may be some justification for contingency cases. Sometimesitenablespeoplewhocouldnotaffordtohirealawyertomakea legitimateclaim,andIknowitislegalintheUnitedStates,andnotactually illegal in Japan. But I do not think that contingency cases should be applicabletolargeindustrialcompanies. Many Americans seem proud of the adversarial relationship between governmentandbusiness,asthoughtheiraimsarenaturallyantagonistic.In Japanwedonotseeitthatway.Toputitbluntly,whetherwelikeitornot,the

governmentisapartnerinourbusinesswithoutowningasingleshareofSony stock or running any risk. And the American government is a partner of Americanbusiness,too,inthesameway.TheJapanesegovernmenttakes

awaymorethan50percentofourprofits,andthatinasensemakesita

majoritypartner.Sofromourgovernment’sviewpoint,itwantsitspartnerto workhardandmakeaprofit.Bydoingso,businessisabletokeeppeople employed,enablingthecompanyanditsemployeestopaytaxesratherthanto goonthepublicdole.Thisisdonewithalong-rangeviewpoint.Sowhilewe oftenhaveourdisagreementswiththegovernmentanditsbureaucracy,which actuallyrunsthegovernment,andwhileIoftencriticizespecificgovernment programsorpolicies,Iknowtherelationshipisbasicallysupportive. TheAmericansystemofmanagement,inmyopinion,alsoreliestoo muchonoutsiderstohelpmakebusinessdecisions,andthisisbecauseofthe insecuritythatAmericandecisionmakersfeelintheirjobs,ascomparedwith mosttopJapanesecorporateexecutives.Thelegalrequirementfordisclosure puts the manager’s performance on show every quarter and the main evaluation of an executive too often is done in this shortsighted way.

Obviously,aftertheGreatCrashof1929thereasonsforregulationand/or

constant public reporting were evident to everyone, and the objective of protectingtheshareholderswasaworthyone.ButtheSECandtheFTC became like policemen. And maybe that is justified in the United States, where there have been so many cases of executives being arrested for economiccrimes. InJapanapersonwhoholdsanexecutivepositionoftrustandwho

violates it is really disgraced, and because of our closed-circle society, it wouldbeimpossibleforhimtocontinuetododamagetocompanyafter company,assomehavedoneintheU.S.andeveninEurope.Oftenifsome majorfailureorillegalitytakesplacesomewherewithinthecompany,orif thereisabreachoftrustwiththeconsumers,itisthepresidentwhoresignsto acceptresponsibilityforthefailureofthecompanytodowhatwascorrect. Rarelyissuchanexecutivepersonallyheldresponsibleforthefailure.

Forexample,in1985thepresidentofJapanAirLinesresignedaftera

JAL747crashed,killingfivehundredandtwentypeopleintheworstsingle-

airplanedisasterinhistory.Severalyearsbefore,hepersonallyvisitedthe survivorsandthefamiliesofthedeadinanaccidentthatwaslessdisastrous. The head of a famous Tokyo department store, who was known for his autocratic and flamboyant ways, created a sensation when the business reputationofhisfineoldcompanywasdamagedbythescandalofhaving misrepresented and sold some bogus Persian antiques as real. When he refusedtoresigntotakeresponsibilityforit,hisboarddefiedlong-standing

tradition and actually voted him out. Since Japanese management of a companyislong-rangeandcollective,thedepartureofanyonetopofficialis notlikelytochangethelong-rangegoalsofthecompanyorthewayitdeals withitsemployeesandsuppliers.Inthiscase,thescandalwassohumiliating tothisfirmthattheboardfeltitwasnecessarytorepudiatenotonlythe presidentbutalsothechangesofstylehehadbroughttothejobofrunning thecompany.Itisveryrare,though,foraJapaneseboardtohavetofireatop executive. ButthedifferencesbetweenU.S.andJapanesecompaniesgobeyondthe cultural. If you ask a Japanese executive, “What is your most important responsibility?” he will invariably say that continued employment and improvingthelivelihoodoftheworkersisatornearthetopofthelist.In ordertodothat,thecompanymustmakeaprofit.Makingaprofitwillnever beatthetopofthelist.MostoftheAmericanbusinessexecutivesIknowput thehighestpriorityonreturntotheinvestorsorthisyear’sprofit.Theyhave theresponsibilitybecausetheinvestorsgaveittothem,andtostayintheir jobstheyhavetocontinuetokeeptheinvestorshappy.Theboardofdirectors representstheinvestors,andiftopmanagementfailstogivethereturnthe investorsfeeltheyneed,hewillbefired.Forthatreasonheisentitledtouse thefactoryandthemachineryofthecompany,andalsotheworkers,astools toaccomplishhisaim.Thiscanbedetrimental. VisitinganAmericantelevisionplantintheMidwestafewyearsago,I commentedtothemanagerthatIthoughthereallyneededtobuysomemore modern equipment in order to improve the company’s productivity. He shocked me when he told me that his compensation was based on the company’sfinancialperformanceandthathewasnotgoingtodoanything, likemakinglong-rangeinvestments,thatmightcuthiscompensationforthe sakeofthenextmanagerwhowouldbealonginayearorso.Ihavealso noted in our joint venture dealings that we in Japan like to take our depreciationquickly,onaconstantpercentage,andgetonwiththebusiness, whereasourAmericanpartnersalwaysseemtowanttotaketheirdepreciation overalongperiod,onconstantvalue. Afterthewar,boththelaborlawreformsandthedestructionofthe family-controlled holding companies were major contributors to Japan’s reconstruction.Wealsodevisedaunionsysteminwhichthecompanyfamily becamethelaborunitratherthantheimpersonalindustry-widekindofunions thatfinallydevelopedintheUnitedStates.OfcoursetheJapanesecompany unionsbelongtoassociationsofunionsthatsetgoalsandgenerallyattemptto coordinatetheconcernsanddemandsofthememberunions.Butwehave laborpeaceinJapanmainlybecausemanagementdoesnotuselaborasatool

andtriestobeawareoftheconcernsoflabor.Somecompaniesare,ofcourse, betteratthisthanothers. InParisnottoolongago,someonesaidratherinnocentlytomethat Japanisacapitalisticcountry.Isaidthatitwouldappearso,butthatactually, itwouldbemoreaccuratetosayJapanhasasocialisticandegalitarianfree economicsystem.Whenthelawswerechangedafterthewar,itappearedto many Americans as well as Japanese that the swing to the left could be dangerous.Thelaborlawsthatmadeitvirtuallyimpossibletofirepeople

seemed a terrible intrusion into the traditional discretionary powers of management,especiallytotheoldermanagers.Buttheywereforcedtoaccept theselawsandtheyturnedthemtoeveryone’sadvantage.Japanesemanagers thought that if everybody could have a familial attitude—and after all,

Japanesetendtofeelthatwayalmostinstinctivelyabouttheir“Japanese-

ness”—perhapsitwouldbeeasiertopullJapanoutoftheholeinwhichit

founditself.ThatwasthespiritthatcreatedwhatanAmericanfirstcalled

“JapanInc.”

Generally,intheUnitedStates,management’sattitudetowardthelabor

forceandeventhelower-levelexecutivesisveryhierarchical,muchmoreso

thaninJapan,anOrientalcountrywhereWesternersalwaysexpecttosee

such hierarchies. When I visited the Illinois television assembly plant of Motorola, one of the first things I noticed was that the offices were air- conditioned,butoutontheshopflooritwasstifling,peopleweredripping withsweat,andbignoisyfanswereblowingthehotairaround.Theworkers wereplainlyuncomfortable,andIthought,“Howcanyougetqualitywork frompeoplelaboringundersuchconditions?Andwhatkindofloyaltycan theybeexpectedtoshowtothebigbossesintheircooloffices!”InJapan peopleoftenusedtosaythattheshopfloorwherethegoodsweremadewas alwaysmorecomfortablethandieworkers’homes.Thathaschangedasthe Japanese workers have become more affluent, and air-conditioning has

becomemorecommonathome.Bythemiddleof1984,morethanhalfof

Japan’shomesandapartmentshadit.Butbackinthelatefifties,weair-

conditionedourfactoriesbeforetheoffices. AmenitiesarenotofgreatconcerntomanagementinJapan.Thestruggle foranofficewithacarpet,awatercarafe,andanoriginaloilpaintingonthe wall is not common. Just recently a U.S. company, the maker of highly complexcomputerizedgraphics equipment,formedajointventurewith a JapanesecompanyandtheJapanesepartnersaidtohisforeignassociate:“We wouldlikeyoutodesigntheshowroom,butpleaseallowustodesignthe office space upstairs.” It seemed reasonable enough. The showroom was beautifullyappointed,withsoftlightingandcomfortablechairsforvisitors

andclients.Theequipmentwashighlightedusingmoderndisplaytechniques, andtherewerevideodemonstrationsandelegantfour-colorbrochuresonthe companyanditsequipment.Upstairs,theentireofficestaffwashousedinone bigopenroomwithoutpartitions,justagridofdeskswithtelephones,filing cabinetsandothernecessaryfurnitureinasimple,verySpartanarrangement. TheU.S.partnerraisedhiseyebrows,andhisJapanesecolleagueexplained, “IfJapaneseclientscomeintotheofficeofanewandstrugglingcompanyand see plush carpet and private offices and too much comfort, they become suspicious that this company is not serious, that it is devoting too much thoughtandcompanyresourcestomanagement’scomfort,andperhapsnot enoughtotheproductortopotentialcustomers.Ifwearesuccessfulafterone year,wemightputuplowpartitions.Aftertwoorthreeyears,wemightgive thetopexecutiveaclosedoffice.Butfornowwehavetoallberemindedthat wearestrugglingtogethertomakethiscompanyasuccess.”Exactlymy sentiments.Wewanteverybodytohavethebestfacilitiesinwhichtowork, butwedonotbelieveinposhandimpressiveprivateoffices.OrperhapsI shouldsaywedonotgivesuchthingspriority.AtSonywehavecomfortable offices everywhere and some new and impressive buildings, but our headquartersinTokyoisnothingmorethanaconvertedfactorybuilding.We havemadeitcomfortableandfunctional,butitstillbothersmeabitthat visitorshavetoclimbtwoshortflightsofstairstogettothereceptiondesk. Generally,inJapaneseindustry,theinvestmentgoesintothosethingsthat relatedirectlytotheproduct.Andoftenthebuildingthathousesafactorysite will look very much like a warehouse. But inside it will have all the essentials.ToooftenIhavefoundindealingwithforeigncompaniesthatsuch superfluousthingsasthephysicalstructureandofficedecortakeupalot moretimeandattentionandmoneythantheyareworth.Obviously,insome businessesitisimportanttoputonashowfortheclients,butpeopleinthe hardware business rarely need to do this. We like to give thought to the atmospherewithinourplants,toprovideacomfortable,simple,andpleasant workenvironment,whichwebelievehasadirecteffectonproductquality. Whenwestartedthecompany,clothingwasscarceandexpensiveonthe blackmarket.Peoplecametoworkinanoddassortmentofgear;returning soldiersworebitsoftheiruniformorold-fashionedsuitsthathadbeensaved formanyyears.Ifapersonwasfortunateenoughtohaveagoodsuit,he didn’twanttowearittotheofficewherehemightriskburningaholeinit withacidorsoilingit.Someofouremployeesjustdidn’thavethemoneyto investinaworkjacket.Sowithcompanymoneyweboughtajacketfor everyonetowearintheoffice.Prettysoonthesejacketsbecameasymbolof ourcompanyfamily.Asthecompanyprospered,wecouldhavedoneaway

with the jackets—we used to have a summer jacket and a winter one— because we were all being better paid and could afford our own, but everybodyseemedtoliketheidea,andsowejustdecidedtocontinueto providethem.Inthebeginning,weexecutiveshadadifferentcoloredname tag from the others, but we eventually adopted the same kind worn by everyoneelse.Todaythesejacketsandtagsarebeingusedeverywhere,even whereclassdistinctionsmadepeoplehesitanttowearthematfirst.Manyof uslikedourbluejackets,andIstillwearmineoccasionally. Butintheearlyseventies,whendiplomaticrelationswererestoredwith thePeople’sRepublicofChinaandcontactsincreasedandnewscoverage pickedup,thepapersoftenhadpicturesoflargegroupsofChineseintheir Maojacketsalllookingalike,andsomepeoplearoundSonybegantojoke thatwhenagroupofusgatheredforameetingwelookedlikethepeoplein thepicturesfromChina. Iwantedachange.AndsoonSony’sthirty-fifthanniversaryIaskedthe designdepartmentsofseveralTokyodepartmentstorestocompeteforthe contracttodesignandsupplytheentirecompanywithnewjackets.They cameupwithsomeverygooddesigns,Ithought,andsomeofourpeople worethejacketstoseehowtheyworkedoutonthejob.Therewasnoclear favorite.Finally,Itooktheproblemtomyfriend,thefashiondesignerIssey Miyake.Hecametothecompanyandwatchedhowthepeopleworked.He went into the plants, the labs, and the offices to observe the kinds of movementstheymustmake,andaboutayearlaterhecameupwithasimple andingeniouslydesignedgrayjacketwithredpipingthathassleevesthatcan beremoved,turningthejacketintoakindofvestthatcanbewornallyear around.Thatendedthecomplaints;Ifiguredcorrectlythatevenifpeople werenottoopleasedwiththejackets,theycouldn’tverywellcomplainwhen they were wearing something created by one of the world’s top fashion designers.Sonobodycoulddoubtit,ImadeitapointtoinsistthatMiyake put his label in every garment. Today one of those jackets on a Sony employeeisasgoodasacreditcardinbusinessestablishmentsnearour facilities.Thewearingofthatjacketmakesapersonfeelthatheispartofour team effort, and merchants in the neighborhood will often give credit to someonewhoasksforitjustonthestrengthofthejacketandtheperson’s namecard.

II

Japanese attitudes toward work seem to be critically different from Americanattitudes.Japanesepeopletendtobemuchbetteradjustedtothe notionofwork,anykindofwork,ashonorable.Nobodywouldlookdownon amanwhoretiresatagefifty-fiveorsixtyandthentokeepearningmoney takesamoremenialjobthantheoneheleft.Ishouldmentionthattop-level executivesusuallyhavenomandatoryretirementage,andmanystayoninto theirseventiesandeventheireighties. AtSonywehavemandatoryretirementfromthepresidencyatsixty-five, buttoutilizetheirexperienceandknowledgewekeepformerexecutiveswho haveretiredasconsultants.Weprovidethemwithofficespaceandstaff,so thattheycanworkapartfromtheday-to-dayaffairsofthecompany,atIbuka Hall,abuildinglocatedfiveminutesawayfromtheheadquartersbuilding. Fromtimetotime,weaskthemforadviceandtheyattendconferencesand othereventsasrepresentativesofSony.Manyofthosepeoplewhoretirefrom managerialjobsfindexecutivepositionsinsmallercompaniesorsubsidiary companiesofSonywheretheirmanagerialexperienceandskillareneeded andvalued. Workers generally are willing to learn new skills. Japan has never devisedasystemliketheAmerican,inwhichapersonistrainedtodoone thing and then refuses to take a job doing anything else—and is even supportedbygovernmentfundswhilehelooksforajobthatsuitshisspecific tastes. Because of Japan’s special situation, our people do not have that

luxury.Andourunemploymentratelatelyhasnotreached3percent.

One old style of management that is still being practiced by many companiesintheUnitedStatesandbysomeinJapanisbasedontheideathat thecompanythatissuccessfulistheonethatcanproducetheconventional productmostefficientlyatcheapercost.Efficiency,inthissystem,becomesa god.Ultimately,itmeansthatmachineryiseverything,andtheidealfactoryis aperfectlyautomatedone,perhapsonethatisunmanned.Thismachinelike managementisamanagementofdehumanization. Buttechnologyhasacceleratedatanunparalleledpaceinthepastfew decadesandithasentaileddigestingnewknowledge,newinformation,and different technologies. Today, management must be able to establish new business ahead of its competitors, rather than pursue higher efficiency in manufacturing conventional products. In the U.S. and Europe today, old- fashionedlow-leveljobsarebeingprotectedwhilethenewtechnologiesare

beingneglected.

Moreimportant,anemployeetodayisnolongeraslavetomachinery

whoisexpectedtorepeatsimplemechanicaloperationslikeCharlieChaplin

inthefilmModemTimes.Heisnolongerabeastofburdenwhoworksunder

thecarrot-and-stickruleandsellshislabor.Afterall,manuallaborcanbe

takenoverbymachineorcomputer.Modemindustryhastobebrain-intensive

andsodoestheemployee.Neithermachinerynoranimalscancarryoutbrain-

intensive tasks. In the late sixties, when integrated circuits had to be assembledbyhand,thedeftfingersofAsianwomenweregreatlyindemand byU.S.companies.Asthedesignofthesedevicesbecamemoreandmore complicated, along came more sophisticated machinery, such as laser trimmers,whichrequirednotdeftfingersbutagilemindsandintelligence. Andsothisupgradingoftheworkersissomethingthateverycountrywill havetobeconcernedabout,andtheideaofpreservingold-fashionedjobsin themoderneradoesnotmakesense.Thismeanseducatingnewemployees andreeducatingolderemployeesfornewchallenges. Thatisnotall.AtSonyweattimeshavescientistsparticipateinsalesfor awhilebecausewedon’twantourscientiststoliveinivorytowers.Ihave alwaysfelttheyshouldknowthatweareinaverycompetitivebusinessand shouldhavesomeexperienceinthefrontlinesofthebusiness.Partofthe training program for graduates who enter Sony as recruits fresh out of universityincludesaprogramwherenontechnicalpersonsundergoamonth oftrainingatafactoryandtechnicalpersonsworkassalespeopleinaSony shopordepartmentstore,sellingourproducts. Japaneselaborpracticesareoftencalledold-fashionedintoday’sworld, andsomesaytheoldworkethiciserodinginJapanasithaselsewhere,butI donotthinkthisisinevitable.AsIseeit,thedesiretoworkandtoperform wellisnotsomethingunnaturalthathastobeimposedonpeople.Ithinkall people get a sense of satisfaction from accomplishing work that is challenging,whentheirworkandroleinthecompanyarebeingrecognized. Managersabroadseemtooverlookthis.PeopleinAmerica,forexample, havebeenconditionedtoasysteminwhichapersonsellshislaborfora price.Inaway,that’sgoodbecausepeoplecannotcoast;theyknowtheyhave toworktoearntheirmoneyorbefired.(IalsothinkthewayAmericansmake theirchildrendoworktoearntheirallowanceisafineidea;inJapanweoften justgivethemoneywithoutrequiringanythingofourchildren.)InJapanwe dotaketheriskofpromisingpeoplejobsecurity,andthenwehavetokeep motivatingthem. YetIbelieveitisabigmistaketothinkthatmoneyistheonlywayto compensateapersonforhiswork.

Peopleneedmoney,buttheyalsowanttobehappyintheirworkand proudofit.Soifwegivealotofresponsibilitytoayoungerman,evenifhe doesn’thaveatitle,hewillbelievehehasagoodfutureandwillbehappyto workhard.IntheUnitedStates,titleandjobandmonetaryincentivesareall tiedtogether.Thatiswhy,ifayoungpersonhasabigjob,managementthinks hehastohaveabigsalary.ButinJapanwecustomarilygiveraiseseachyear asemployeesgetolderandmoreexperiencedinthecompany.Ifwegivean unusuallyhighsalarytooneperson,wecannotcontinuetogivehimannual increasesindefinitely.Atsomepoint,hissalarywillhavetoleveloff,andat thatpoint,heislikelytogetdiscouraged.Soweliketogivethesamesortof raisetoall.Ithinkthiskeepsourpeoplewellmotivated.Thismaybea Japanesetrait,butIdonotthinkso. Ibelievepeopleworkforsatisfaction.Iknowthatadvertisementsand commercialsintheU.S.seemtoholdupleisureasthemostsatisfyinggoalin life,butitisnotthatwayinJapanyet.Ireallybelievethereissuchathingas company patriotism and job satisfaction—and that it is as important as money.Itgoeswithoutsayingthatyoumustpaygoodwages.Butthatalso means,ofcourse,thatthecompanymustnotthrowmoneyawayonhuge bonusesforexecutivesorotherfrivolitiesbutmustshareitsfatewiththe workers.Japaneseworkersseemtofeelbetteraboutthemselvesiftheyget raisesastheyage,onanexpectablecurve.Wehavetriedotherways. Whenwestartedourresearchlaboratory,wehadtogooutandfind researchers,andbecausethesepeoplehadmoreeducationandwere,naturally, olderthanournormalnewemployeeswedecidedtheyshouldhavehigher wages,equivalenttoU.S.salarylevels.Onesuggestedplanwastoputthem under short-term contract, say three years, after which we would decide whethertorenewornot.Butbeforewedecidedonthisnewpayscheme,I asked the new employees whether they would prefer the more common system of lower pay to start, but with yearly increases, or the three-year contractatamuchhigherwage. NotoneofthemaskedfortheAmerican-levelsalary.Everyoneoptedfor long-rangesecurity.ThatiswhyItelltheAmericansImeetthatpeopledon’t workonlyformoney.ButoftenwhenIsayit,theyrespond,“Yes,Isee,but how much do you pay the ones who really work hard?” Now this is an importantpoint.Whenaworkerknowshewillbegettingaraiseeachyear,he canfeelsosecurethathethinksthereisnoneedtoworkhard.Workersmust bemotivatedtowanttodoagoodjob.WeJapaneseare,afterall,human beings, with much in common with people everywhere. Our evaluation systemiscomplexandisdesignedtofindreallycapablepersons,givethem challengingjobs,andletthemexcel.Itisn’tthepaywegivethatmakesthe

difference—itisthechallengeandtherecognitiontheygetonthejob. My eldest son, Hideo, may not be the best example of the typical Japaneseworker,buthehasaninterestingand,Ithink,typicalviewofwork inJapan.HehasstudiedinBritainandtheUnitedStates,andallhislifehe wantedtoworkforSony.HewenttoworkasanArtistsandRepertorymanat theCBS-SonyrecordcompanyontheurgingofNorioOhga.HeandIfelt thatforhimtocomedirectlyintoSonyheadquarterswouldbewrong,because ofthefamilyconnectionandtheovertonesofnepotism.Sohewasproving himselfatCBS-Sony.Heworkedwithforeignandlocalartistsandbecame famousandsuccessfulintherecordindustryinJapan.Heworkedveryhard, fromaboutnoonuntilthreeorfouro’clockinthemorning,doinghisregular officebusinessduringthedayandthendealingwithmusiciansafterthey finishedtheirwork.Hideodoesn’tdrink,andsoitwashardforhimtosit aroundtheTokyodiscosandbarswiththeserockstars,drinkingCoca-Cola whiletheyrelaxedwithwhiskeyintheweesmallhoursofthemorning.Butit wasimportantforhimtodothis,andalthoughhecouldhavegoneonalong timerestingonhislaurels,hetookstockofhimselfonhisthirtiethbirthday andmadeadecision. Asheputit,“Intherecordbusiness,therearemanypeopleintheirlate thirtiesandearlyfortieswearingjoggingshoesandwhitesocksandjeansand T-shirtstotheoffice.Ilookedatthoseguysandsaid,Idon’twanttobelike thatwhenIamfortyorforty-five.ThisbusinessisfineandIhavebeen successful,andIhavenoreasontoleaveit.IfIkeepthisjob,Ithought,I mightendupbeingatopofficerofCBS-Sony,butIdidn’twanttoseemyself atfiftycomingintotheofficeatoneo’clockintheafternooninjoggingshoes andwhitesockssaying‘Goodmorning.’IfeltIhadtoprovetomyselfafter sevenyearsintherecordbusinessthatIcouldworkfromninetofive,like ordinarypeople.” HewasassignedtotheSonyaccountingdivision—quiteachange,you mightthink,fromtheartisticsideoftherecordbusiness—andsomemight havewonderedwhetherhecouldmakeitornot,butIbelievedhecould.His attitudeisveryJapanese,despitehisinternationalupbringing:

“Alljobsarebasicallythesame.Youhavetoapplyyourself,whether

youarearecordA&Rman,asalesmanonthestreet,oranaccountingclerk.

Yougetpaidandyouworkonehundredpercenttodothejobathand.Asan

A&Rman,Iwasinterestedandexcitedandhappy,butnaturallyaslongas

youaresatisfiedwithyourworkandareusingyourenergy,youwillbe

happy.Iwasalsoveryexcitedabouttheaccountingdivision.Ifoundout

somethingneweveryday,strugglingwithawholebunchofinvoicesandthe

paymentsheets,thebalancesheet,theprofitandlossstatement,andworking

withallthosenumbers.Ibegantogetabroadpictureofthecompany,its financial position and what is happening day to day and which way the companyisheading.Idiscoveredthatthatexcitementandmakingmusicat thestudioarethesamething.” InthelatesixtiesaEuropeanCommissioninternalmemoonJapanwas leaked,andagreatstirwascreatedbecauseitreferredtotheJapaneseas “workaholics”wholivein“rabbithutches.”Thereisnodoubtthatinadequate housing is a major problem in Japan, and nobody could deny that the Japaneseareprobablythehardestworkingpeopleintheworld.Wehave manyholidaysinJapan,butonlyaboutthesamenumberastheUnitedStates. Wedonotgivelongsummervacations,eventoourschoolchildren. AtSonywewereoneofthefirstJapanesecompaniestoclosedownour factoryforoneweekinthesummer,sothateverybodycouldtakeoffatthe sametime.Andwelongagoinstitutedthefive-day,forty-hourweek.The Japan Labor Standards Act still provides for a maximum forty-eight-hour workweek, though it is soon to be revised downward, and the average workweekinmanufacturingisnowforty-threehours.Butevenwithupto twentydaysofpaidvacationayear,Japaneseworkersmanagedtotakefewer daysoffandspendmoredaysonthejobthanworkersintheUnitedStates andEurope. It was only in 1983 that banks and financial institutions began to experiment with the five-day week, closing one Saturday a month, and eventually the whole nation will move closer to the five-day week. Still, InternationalLaborOrganizationdatashowthatJapaneseworklongerweeks andhavefewerlabordisputesthanworkersintheU.S.,theU.K.,France,or WestGermany.WhatIthinkthisshowsisthattheJapaneseworkerappearsto besatisfiedwithasystemthatisnotdesignedonlytorewardpeoplewithhigh payandleisure. At Sony we learned that the problem with an employee who is accustomedtoworkonlyforthesakeofmoneyisthatheoftenforgetsthathe isexpectedtoworkforthegroupentity,andthisself-centeredattitudeof working for himself and his family to the exclusion of the goals of his coworkersandthecompanyisnothealthy.Itismanagement’sresponsibility tokeepchallengingeachemployeetodoimportantworkthathewillfind satisfyingandtoworkwithinthefamily.Todothis,weoftenreorganizethe workatSonytosuitthetalentsandabilitiesoftheworkers. IhavesometimesreferredtoAmericancompaniesasbeingstructures likebrickwallswhileJapanesecompaniesaremorelikestonewalls.BythatI meanthatinanAmericancompany,thecompany’splansareallmadeupin advance,andtheframeworkforeachjobisdecidedupon.Then,asaglanceat

theclassifiedsectionofanyAmericannewspaperwillshow,thecompanysets outtofindapersontofiteachjob.Whenanapplicantisexamined,ifheis foundtobeoversizedorundersizedfortheframework,hewillusuallybe rejected.Sothisstructureislikeawallbuiltofbricks:theshapeofeach employeemustfitinperfectly,ornotatall. InJapanrecruitsarehired,andthenwehavetolearnhowtomakeuseof them.Theyareahighlyeducatedbutirregularlot.Themanagertakesagood longlookattheseroughstones,andhehastobuildawallbycombiningthem inthebestpossibleway,justasamastermasonbuildsastonewall.The stones are sometimes round, sometimes square, long, large, or small, but somehowthemanagementmustfigureouthowtoputthemtogether.People alsomature,andJapanesemanagersmustalsothinkoftheshapesofthese stonesaschangingfromtimetotime.Asthebusinesschanges,itbecomes necessarytorefitthestonesintodifferentplaces.Idonotwanttocarrythis analogytoofar,butitisafactthatadaptabilityofworkersandmanagements hasbecomeahallmarkofJapaneseenterprise. WhenJapanesecompaniesindecliningorsunsetindustrieschangetheir lineofbusinessoraddtoit,workersareofferedretrainingand,forthemost part,theyacceptiteagerly.Thissometimesrequiresafamilymovetothenew job,andJapanesefamiliesare,again,generallydisposedtodothis.

III

Whoownsacompanyanyway?Isitthemanagers,theshareholders,or theworkers?Thequestionisnotassimpleasitsounds.InJapanwefeelthat the company must be as much concerned with the workers as with the shareholders.Iunderstandverywelltheimportanceofstockholders.Wehave many of them, and more than 40 percent are non-Japanese. The duty of managementistousetheirfundseffectivelyandtogivethemareturnontheir investment greater than they could have realized if they had used it themselvesinsomeotherway.Butthisdoesnotalwaysmeandividends.It could also mean growth in the value of the stock they hold, which is consideredmoreimportantthandividendsinJapan,sincethetaxrateson growthofthevalueofthestockarelowerthanratesondividends.Acompany thatreinvestsinitselfinsteadofpayingoutdividendswillinthelongrunbe returningmoretotheshareholders,andcertainlymorethanmanycompanies intheUnitedStatesandEuropethatpaydividendsoutoffictitiousprofits. Sometimesfightsbetweencompanies,especiallyintakeoverattempts, canleadtosomestrangebattlesthatdrainthevitalityfromcompanies.The unfriendlytakeoverhasn’tyethappenedinJapan,thoughonemajorcasewas pending at the beginning of 1986 but failed by midyear, and many businessmenthinkthistactic,commoninAmerica,mayonedaytakehold here.

MyargumentwiththeAmericansysteminthisregardcanbeillustrated bythecaseofajointventurecompanyfoundedwithonlyfourmilliondollars morethanfifteenyearsagoinJapan.Thecompanybecamephenomenally profitableveryquicklyandbeganpayinghandsomedividends,yetretained

plentyofearnings.Infact,by1985thecompanyhadbuilttwonewplants

completelyoutofretainedearnings,withoutresortingtoanyloans,andthere wasstilloveronehundredmilliondollarsinretainedearningsinthebank. Then the American partner’s parent company came under attack by a corporateraider,andtofendofftheraiderthecompanyhadtobuyitsown stockataveryhighprice.Todothistheyneededcash,andtheireyesfellon thejointventurecompanyinJapananditsearnings.Theytoldtheirpartnerin Japanthattheywantedanimmediatedividenddeclared,takingmorethan three-fourthsoftheretainedearnings,sotheycouldfightthetakeover.The Japanesepartnerdidn’twanttosacrificetheearnings,butthepressurewasso intensehecouldnotresist. InJapanwebelieveoneofthemostimportantthingsinacompanyisthe

workers’morale;iftheworkerslosetheirenthusiasmforthecompanythe

companymaynotsurvive.Theemployeesviewlossofretainedearningsasa

threattotheirjobsecurity.Wefeelacompanythatsellsitsassetshasno

future.ItseemstobedifficultforsomeWesternerstounderstandthisideawe

haveinJapanthatthecompanybelongsnotonlytotheshareholdersandthe

managers.Theshareholderscantaketheirmoneyoutanytimetheywish.In

Americathemanagerscanleavewhentheircontractsexpire,andtheworkers

candriftinandout.ButIbelieveinmostcasesworkerswantjobsecurity,

evenintheUnitedStatesandEurope.Theworkersarethepeopleleastableto

defendthemselvesandyettheyareindispensabletobothmanagementand

shareholders.

Inthesixtiesandseventies,whenJapanwasbecomingmoreliberaland

internationalinoutlook,therewasadefensivespiritinthecountry.Someold-

linebusinessmenwereagainstlettingforeigncompaniesinatallandwanted moreandmorebarrierserected.Iwasgoingtheotherway,andItriedto encourageliberalizationandtheentryofforeigngoodsintothecountry.I establishedSonyTradingCompanyandbeganimportingforeigngoods,all sortsofthings,fromrefrigeratorstoFalconjetsandsundries,andIhopedto seemoreforeigncompaniesonJapanesesoil. IfirstestablishedinSonyAmericaadivisioncalled“U.S.SelltoJapan Division,”andwedidalotofadvertisingforcompaniesthatwantedtosell productstoJapan.AtfirstIthoughttherewasnorealenthusiasmontheU.S. side, but the inquiries began pouring in and eventually we had eleven thousand of them, some from top U.S. companies such as Whirlpool CorporationandtheHoovervacuumcleanercompany.Webeganbringing manyproductsintoJapan,butwehadsomeproblemswithoursuppliers. Whirlpool,forexample,madeafinelargerefrigerator,butitsmotorranon theAmericanvoltagesystemofonehundredandten volts.InJapan our standardvoltageisonehundredvolts.WetoldWhirlpoolthattheyshould changethemotorsintheunitstheyshiptoJapan,anduntiltheydidwehadto installavoltageconverterineachunittheyshippedtous.Ittookfivelong yearsforWhirlpooltostartreplacingthestandardU.S.motorwithonethat wasusableinJapan.InthebeginningtheWhirlpoolmachinewasbiggerthan anyrefrigeratoravailableinJapan,andalthoughitwasnoisyandvibrated,it soldwell.ButJapanesemakersbeganbuildingbiggerrefrigerators,too,and theirdesignersweremoresensitivetotheneedforquietrunningmechanisms foruseinoursmallJapanesehouses,wherekitchensarenotnormallyveryfar fromthebedrooms.Unfortunately,theAmericanrefrigeratorwasnotableto maintainacompetitiveedgeinthemarket. Atpresent,wearedevotingmuchofourenergytoimportinghelicopters

made by L’Aerospatiale of France. For the 1986 Tokyo summit of industrializednations,wewereabletosellthreelargeAerospatialeSuper PumahelicopterstothegovernmentforVIPuse.Infact,ofthefourhundred

andthirty-ninehelicoptersinJapaninOctober1985,onehundredandthirty-

six were Aerospatiale machines. We also became agents for Falcon jet aircraft, but unfortunately there are few airports in Japan and the transportationministryregulationsarestrict,sowehavehadfewsales.The reason,Ibelieve,isthatthedistancesinJapanarenotgreatandcommercial carriershaveaveryeffectivesystem.SonyistheonlycompanyinJapanthat ownsacorporatejet,asidefromthenewspapercompanies. MyactivitiesabroadforSonyandasamemberoftheMorganGuaranty TrustInternationalCouncil,thePanAmericanboard,andtheIBMWorld Tradeboardputmeincontactwithmanyfinebusinessmenfromallaround theworld,many ofwhomhavebecomegoodfriends oflongstanding. I supposeitwasnatural,then,thatIwascalledontohelpTexasInstruments come into Japan. I had known Pat Hagerty of TI since 1955, when we discussedapossiblejointventure.Eventhoughitneverworkedout,Hagerty and I became close friends. When TI developed integrated circuits (IC), everybody in the electronics business in Japan was interested in the

technology.Atthattime(1968),TI’schairmanwasMarkSheppard,andhe

wasadamantabouthowTIwouldmakeitsentryintoJapan:hewouldnotsell anyIClicensestoaJapanesecompanyunlessTIhaditsownwholly-owned companyinJapan.TIwantedtocomeintomanufactureICsandsellthemin theJapanesemarket,too. ButundertheexistingJapaneseregulations,theonlywayTIcouldcome inwasthroughajointventurewithaJapanesefirm.TE’stechnologywaswell respected,andhavingTIinJapan,manyrealized,wouldbeagoodthingfor ourindustryandforthenation.Besides,lotsofcompanieswantedthatIC technology.AndsoIwasapproachedtotrytoworkoutacompromise.I offered TI a joint venture with Sony—we were also a maker of semiconductors—and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry

seemedagreeabletothearrangementbywhichwewouldsellour50percent

inthreeyears.WehitasnagwhentheTIsidesaidtheyneededaguaranteein

writingfromthegovernmentsayingthatthesaleofour50percentofthe

companywouldbeapprovedthreeyearshence.Gettingagovernmentagency toapprovesomethinginadvanceisachallengeinanycountry.“Youmust trustus,”ItoldoneoftheTInegotiators,butheinsistedithadtobeonpaper. Wefinallycreatedasatisfactorywrittendocumentthatjustbarelymanagedto satisfy the American lawyers. TI ran the joint venture as though it were whollyownedanddidaveryfinejobofit,whichwaswhatweintended,and

aswehadassuredtheTIlawyers,oursharewassoldtoTIthreeyearslater. SomeyearsaftertheTexasInstrumentsjointventurewentthrough,I

helpedGeneralMotorschairmanJamesRocheinhisnegotiationstobuy35

percentofIsuzuMotors.Itwasthefirstmajorautomotivedealofitskindand hadtobehandledverydiscreetlyinthosedays.ThemoodinJapaninApril

1971,whenJamesRochearrived,wasverydefensive.Newspaperheadlines

speculatedonthemotivesofthisgiantcompany,andthetermstheyusedhad military overtones. They talked of “invasion” and “bridgehead” and speculatedthatRochewascomingtotakeoverIsuzuMotors. WhathadstirredthingsupwasavisitbyHenryFordIIjustbeforethe Roche visit in which, at a Tokyo press conference, Ford criticized Japan severelyontheslowpaceofitstradeliberalization.Infact,Fordwasquite bluntandhisbluntnessirritatedmanypeople.IknewJamesRocheasafellow memberoftheMorganGuarantyTrustInternationalCouncil,andwhilethe tripwasbeingprepared,IwasaskedbytheMorganrepresentativeinTokyo to advise Roche, brief him when he arrived, and help arrange some appointmentsforhim.Ithoughtitwasagoodidea,becausetheFordvisit could have been counterproductive for those of us who were trying to promote liberalization and less parochialism in the country. Another antagonistic performance might set back the cause of liberalization and internationalizationforyears. IwantedRoche’sfirstimpressionontheJapanesetobeapositiveone. ThedayRochearrived,IrentedaroomattheTokyuHotelatHanedaAirport. ReporterswaitingattheairportweretoldthatMr.Rochewastiredandthathe wouldwanttowashupandrestforahalfhouratthehotelbeforemeeting them.IwenttotheroomearlysothatIwasnotseenbythepressandwas waitingintheroomwhenRochearrived.Ispentthehalfhourbriefinghim.I had arranged his appointments with Kiichi Miyazawa, the minister of internationaltradeandindustry,andwiththechairmanoftheChamberof CommerceandIndustry,whichbecameheadlinenewsevents.Ihadprepared theshapeofhisfirstpressrelease,hispressannouncements,andakindof scriptofthequestionsIthoughthewouldbeaskedatthepressconference. Hisaideshadmanyquestions,andwediscussedeverythingingreatdetail.I suggestedthatheexplainGM’sinterestinJapanandhiscurrentmissionwith asofttouch,becauseatthattimeJapanwasinarathertensemood,asthough sufferingfromanallergy. ThepresssawthestoryofGM’sinterestinJapanasoneofthemost importantstoriesofthepostwarera,andthepaperswerefightingeachother forexclusivepicturesandinformationonwhatGMwasplanningtodo.I advisedRochetosayflatlythatGMwasnotinterestedintakingoverIsuzu

Motors,whichitwasnot,andhedidso.Asitturnedout,allthequestionsI

hadanticipatedwereasked,andRochetookmysuggestionsonhowtoanswer

them.Atthattimeaforeigncompanyneededgovernmentapprovaltobuy

morethanone-thirdofaJapanesecompany,andIhelpedsmooththeway

withindustryandthegovernmentfigureswhowereconcernedwiththeGM-

Isuzuplan.Theplanworkedsmoothlyandwithlittleadversepublicity. Manyyearsafterward,IwasdelightedtolearnthatGMcontinuedtobe gratefulformyadvice.SeveralyearsagoIwasinvitedtolunchbytheheadof GMJapan,whotoldmehehadbeenreadingthecompanyfilesbeforehe cametoJapanandsaid,“IknowverywellhowmuchGMowesyou.”Itgave meagreatdealofpleasureandencouragementforthefuturetoknowthat somegiantcompaniessuchasGMcanshowthosehumanqualitieswethink Japanesecompaniesexcelinratherexclusively.AfterRogerSmithbecame chairman of GM, he visited Japan and asked to come chat with me. He thankedmeforwhatIhaddoneforGMmorethantenyearsbefore.

IV

Theprimaryfunctionofmanagementisdecision-makingandthatmeans professionalknowledgeoftechnologyandtheabilitytoforeseethefuture directionortrendsoftechnology.Ibelieveamanagermusthaveawiderange ofgeneralknowledgecoveringhisownbusinessfield.Italsohelpstohavea special sense, generated by knowledge and experience—a feel for the businessthatgoesbeyondthefactsandfigures—andthisintuitivenessisa giftonlyhumanbeingscanhave. IwashavinglunchinNewYorkonedaywithProfessorPeterDrucker, the management expert, and Bill Bernbach, the advertising man whose agency created many fine campaigns for us, including the popular and successful“TummyTV”series.Thesubjectofmanagementcameup,and Druckersaid,“WhenIspeakwithJapanesemanagerstheydon’tseemtome toberationalintheirthinking.Thestrangething,though,isthattheyendup comingtothecorrectconclusions.Howisthatpossible?” Bernbachpondereditforawhile.“MyprofessionisadvertisingandI don’tknowmuchaboutbusinessadministration,”heconfessed.“Butinorder to make rational decisions, you have to know all of the facts and the environment that surrounds the facts. But it is probably impossible for a humanbeingtoknoweverything.Americanmanagersmaybelievethatthey arerational,buttheyareonlyrationalonthebasisofthefactsthattheyhave cometoknow.Thereareboundtobelotsoffactsandenvironmentalfactors thattheydon’tknow.Ifthesearemissing,itisnaturalthatnomatterhow rationalaconclusionmightseem,it’sgoingtobeoffbase. “Comparedwiththis,”hewenton,“Japanesemanagersseemtohavea kindofOriental‘sixthsense.’|Probablyinsteadofputtingonefacttogether with another, they grasp a general idea as a whole and then use this information,togetherwiththat‘sixthsense,’inmakingdecisions.Thisway theyhaveabettergraspofthegeneralideathanonecangetonlythrough carefulreasoning.” IuseBillBernbach’scommenttoillustratethepointthatitisessential thatthepeoplewhorunthebusinessknowthebusinessandtheenvironment andarepreparedtotakerisksbasedontheirknowledgeandindeedevenon thisso-calledsixthsense.Ihopethereaderwillnotconsiderittoomuchofa boastifIrefertomyhunchthattheportablestereoplayer,theWalkman, wouldbeasuccessfulandpopularproductdespitealotofskepticismwithin myowncompany.IwassocertainofthisthatIsaid,“Ifwedon’tsellone

hundred thousand pieces by the end of this year, I will resign my chairmanshipofthiscompany.”OfcourseIhadnointentionofdoingthat;I justknewthisproductwouldbesuccessful. IntheUnitedStatestoday,becausemanagementsaresohighlymobile— Iamtoldthattheaveragewhite-collaremployeeworksatthreedifferent companiesinhislifetime—itiscommonthatthemanrunningacompany knowslittleornothingaboutthetechnicalsideoftheproductshiscompany makes. If that is the case, he will naturally lack this intuition about his productsandtheirimpactonthemarket,especiallyifheis,say,anaccountant runningaconsumerproductscompany.Thereareremarkableexceptionsto this,ofcourse,butIbelievetheyarefew.Itismyobservationthatsuchan executive, lacking knowledge and unsure of himself, will hesitate to take risks,willfeeltheneedtojustifyhiseverymove,andwilloftenturntothe consultingfirms. Nexttolawyers,Ithinkthesepeoplearethemostoverusedandmisused businessmenonthesceneintheUnitedStatesandJapan.Iuseconsultants selectively and have found the best ones can do valuable information gatheringandmarketanalysis.Buttheirusecanbebroughttoridiculous extremes, and it has been. Often when the market research proves to be wrong,theexcuseisheardthatmarketconditionschangedafterthestudywas done.Sowhatistheuseofit?Mainly,Iamafraid,toavoidriskingjobs.I knowofacasewheretheAmericanhomeofficeofajointventurecompany didn’tthinkthattheplansoftheJapanesepartnerwereright,sotheyhadtheir American representative in the joint venture employ a prestigious managementconsultingfirmbasedinTokyotodoastudy. IthappenedthattheAmericanrepresentative,whoisavicepresidentof thejointventure,agreedwiththeJapanesepartnersabouttheirplanandhad toldhishomeofficesoinarecommendationtothem.Buthisbossinthe Statesdidn’ttrusthisownmaninTokyoortheJapanesepartner.Whenthe AmericaninTokyodiscussedtheprojectwiththeconsultingfirm,hetold themthewholestoryandtheresultshe“expected”theywouldfind.Itmaybe coincidencethattheyfoundjustwhathewaslookingfor.TheJapanesefirm wasrightallalong,aswasprovedlater,butitcostthecompanyalargesumof money for the consultant’s fee; a great deal of time was lost while the executives were interviewed; it subtly undermined the trust between the partners;itmadetheirrepresentativefeelandlookfoolishandineffectual;and nothingnewwaslearned.ButanexecutiveintheUnitedStatesinchargeof theinternationaloperationsofhiscompanyhadcoveredhimselfincasethe projectfailed. IfIhavewrittenalotabouttopmanagementandworkerssofar,Ihave

notmeanttoexcludemiddlemanagement,whichissoimportantandinJapan differsfromtheWesternmodel.ManyJapanesecompaniesoperateonthe “proposal”system,inwhichmiddlemanagementisexpectedtocomeupwith ideasandconceptstobeproposedtotopmanagementforjudgment.Thisof coursediffersfromtheconceptofone-manorsmall-teammanagementthatis socommonintheWest,andespeciallyinAmerica,whereitmaybealegacy ofthefrontierorpioneerspirit.(InJapanwehavebeenexposedtoAmerican moviessincebeforethewar,andwehavecometoassesstheAmericanspirit inthoseterms,whichisprobablynotaltogetheragoodoraccuratething.But we like the idea of “fighting spirit,” and sometimes in sports and even businessweadmiretheplayerwiththebestspirit,evenifheloses.)Itmay soundlikeacontradictiontosaythatJapanesecompanies,asopposedto Westerncompanies,arerunbyconsensusinlightofwhatIhavealready written about the individuality we prize at Sony and other Japanese companies such as Honda, Matsushita, and some others, where a strong centralfiguretraditionallymakesbolddecisions,seeminglyallbyhimself. Butitisnotacontradiction. TheconceptofconsensusisnaturaltotheJapanese, butitdoes not necessarily mean that every decision comes out of a spontaneous group impulse.GainingconsensusinaJapanesecompanyoftenmeansspending timepreparingthegroundworkforit,andveryoftentheconsensusisformed fromthetopdown,notfromthebottomup,assomeobserversofJapanhave written.Whileanideamayarisefrommiddlemanagement,forexample,top management may accept it whole or revise it and seek approval and cooperation all down the line. When I pulled my bluff on the Walkman, threateningtoresign,mycolleaguesknewthatIwasaheadofthem,thatIwas using all of my experience and knowledge of marketing and consumer psychology in making my decision. And because of it they committed

themselves100percenttohelpingmaketheprojectasuccess.Ifwehadfailed

withtheWalkman,Icouldnothavepointedtoanymarketresearchasthe

causeofthefiasco.

Onceadecisionisreached,whetheritoriginallycameupfromtheshop

floorordownfromthefrontoffice,itistheJapanesewayforeveryoneto

devoteeveryefforttoimplementingitwithoutthesnipingandbackbitingand

obstructionismthatissometimesseeninsomeWesterncompanies.Itisafine

situationtobein,becauseeverybodyisdoinghisshareofthework,but

gettingtherecanbedifficult.

Mysecondson,Masao,workedforMorganGuarantyTrustinNewYork

andLondonfortwoandahalfyearsafterhegraduatedfromGeorgetown

University,andhefindstheJapanesewayofreachingconsensusandplanning

tedious.Hisviewpointisveryinterestingtome,andveryWestern.“Ina Japanesecompanytheyliketohavemeetings,”hecomplains.“Theyspend hoursandhoursatit,andIamalwaysfrustratedbecauseIwanttoknow exactlywhywearemeetingandwhatwearegoingtodecide.Ihavetrouble keepingmyeyesopenafterthefirstfiveminutes.AtMorganIworkedin foreignexchangetrading,andtimewassopreciousthatwedidn’twasteitin meetings. If we had to make a presentation, we would always give the conclusion first, and if anybody wanted to know how I arrived at the conclusiontheywouldask.InJapantheyliketoexplainfirstandtheydon’t tellwhattheyhavedecideduntiltheveryend.Butsometimesitisdifficultto understandalltheexplanationwithoutknowingwhereitisheaded.” Thisisaproblemthatseemstobotherforeignerswhoareexposedtothe system.AjournalistwhocametoJapantodoalotofinterviewsofJapanese businessmen visited me near the end of his trip. I asked him what his impressionwasandhewasveryfrank.Hesaidthatafterseveralweekshehad finallyfiguredouthowtounderstandtheJapanese:“Idon’thavetolistento thefirstpartofwhattheysay.Ionlyhavetobegintopayattentionwhenthey say‘however…’becauseuptothentheyareexpressingeverybodyelse’s ideas.Afterthattheyareexpressingtheirownideas.”Youhavetobevery patientindealingwiththeJapanese.IttakesmostJapanesealongtimetotell peoplewhatisreallyontheirminds. ThegroupmanagementsystemofJapan,wheredecisionsoftenaremade basedonproposalsfromyoungermanagement,canbeanadvantagefora company.Youngmanagerscanbeexpectedtoremainwitht