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Vol.7 : Sony Flies Out to the World

Mass air shipment of pocketable "TR-63" radio


The word "pocketable" is today featured in both English and Japanese dictionaries. Sony was the first to popularize this now familiar word in 1957 when the world's smallest transistor radio TR-63 was launched. The first TR-55 transistor radio didn't fit inside a pocket, but in just two years, Sony developed a radio that could. Sony chose the word "pocketable" to emphasize the TR-63 was even smaller than the portable TR-55.

Unfortunately, the TR-63 was slightly too big to fit into a shirt pocket. To get round this obstacle, shirts with a slightly larger pocket were ordered for the sales representatives.

The TR-65 was a huge hit not only because it was smaller but also because it consumed half the power of existing radios. The price of 13,800 yen, the same as the average monthly wage at the time, did not stop sales. The TR-65 was behind the evolution towards one radio per person from a radio per household.

By the way, there is another TR-63 anecdote: it marked the first full-scale export of transistor radios from Japan. The price was US$39.99 and it was such a huge hit in the US, a Japan Airlines flight had to be chartered to meet demand. The true moment that Sony flew out to the world.

The next year, Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo changed its name to Sony. And soon, the catchphrase <i>"the global brand made in Japan"</i> would be commonly used.

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