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Vol.19 : Masaru Ibuka's Aspirations for the Next Generation of Scientifically-gifted Youth

Sony's Electronics & Science Exhibition for Kids Remembered as an Event which Attracted a Record Number of Visitors

A youngster (perhaps a future "Ibuka") looking at a giant
skeleton of the TR-610 transistor radio (125 times larger than
actual size)

Mitsukoshi is a well-known department store which traces its roots back more than 300 years. While this department store features numerous exhibitions annually, exactly 50 years ago Sony set a startling new record for Mitsukoshi exhibition attendees thanks to its special exhibition.

The exhibition started on Children's Day, May 5, 1959 at Mitsukoshi's main store located in the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo. In commemorating the 13th year since its founding, Sony put everything into this event. It was co-sponsored with the Asahi Shimbun newspaper and entitled: the Electronics & Science Exhibition for Kids The event had two objectives: to enhance the scientific knowledge of the young generation in whose hands the future of Japan would lie. The other was to acquaint them with certain aspects of modern industry. Although it lasted only six days, a record-breaking 200,000 visitors thronged the venue.

As Sony founder Masaru Ibuka stated in the Founding Prospectus of Sony's predecessor, Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation, one of the purposes of incorporation was "to promote the education of science among the general public." This was the result of Ibuka's view that once company operations were on strong footing, the company should widely promote scientific and technological knowledge for the betterment of society and its citizens. Ibuka put his ideas into practice in earnest when he involved the entire company in related activities by establishing the Sony Fund for the Promotion of Science Education in Japan in 1959. Sony's support for education began with this scheme and continues to this day, 50 years later.

It just so happens that the Electronics & Science Exhibition for Kids was held around the same time Sony launched its support for education. The science exhibition provided a comprehensive overview of advanced technologies of the time, including Japan's first video tape recorder and the transistor radio assembly process. Surely Ibuka must have recalled his own youth when he saw the shining eyes of youngsters looking at these advanced technologies for the first time.

Ibuka gazes across the packed venue
with a smile
Enthralled visitors watching the
transistor radio assembly process
Japan's first video tape recorder was developed in 1958. Everyone was astonished when
they saw it in action for the first time.
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