Vol.3 : The Original Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Corporation Sign

May 7, 2006 - Sony′s 60th anniversary

The Original Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Corporation Sign

On May 7, 2006, Sony celebrated its 60th anniversary. On the same day in 1946, Ibuka-san and Morita-san established, with capital of just 190,000 yen, Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation), which would later become Sony. At the time, the factory and office was in a rented space in Nihonbashi in Tokyo. But, as the sales area expanded, they had to move. For a time, they were forced to move different workspaces to different locations - hardly an ideal solution. The next year, Ibuka-san and Morita-san found a warehouse in Shinagawa, where all the manufacturing, warehouses and office operations were moved. The warehouse was in such a state that when it rained, everyone had to use umbrellas. Still, it was a joy to be able to work under the same, if somewhat leaky, roof. And, soon after came the tape recorder and transistor radio.

Sony HQ in the mid-1950s. The building to the left is the original Shinagawa building.

By the way, in Japanese we use the term "raise the signboard" to say "start a company." Tokyo Tsuhin Kogyo raised its signboard at this site in Shinagawa, but it was far from glamorous. As the company took off, a new wooden factory was built in 1949 and, in 1951, an adjacent plot was bought and the three story wooden building was converted into an office/factory. The photo is the signboard that was put up at the entrance to the 1951 building and is a symbol of the success of the company.

The building was torn down in the 1960s. The new building (the former HQ until 2007) was a symbol of Sony's rapid growth. After being thrown out of the original site, it is said Ibuka-san and Morita-san wandered Tokyo in search of a new site where everybody could work closely together. Their modest dream back then was to have an elevator and a flushing toilet. That dream became reality in just over a decade.