Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Together with his mentor and business partner, Masaru Ibuka, Morita turned a tiny precision-instrument factory into the Sony Corporation, one of the largest industrial firms in the world and home of one of the best-known brand names in the world of business.
Akio Morita was born in 1921 of a prominent family in Nagoya, the fifteenth-generation heir to one of Japan’s oldest sake-brewing families. He grew up in an affluent household that mixed native traditions with an easy familiarity with Western ways. While the family was devoutly Buddhist, holding religious services at home, the young Morita could play tennis on the family court, go for Sunday outings in an open Model T Ford, and listen to Western classical music on an imported Victrola. In his autobiography, Morita writes that as a youngster he was intrigued by electrical devices such as the vacuum tube, which could take old scratchy, hissing records and turn them into beautiful sounding music.
Before long the intrigue turned into an obsession, and he was making his own crude radio and electric phonograph as well as a primitive voice-recording device. His scientific tinkering may have been responsible for his somewhat spotty academic record: While he excelled at mathematics and science, he received less than average grades in other studies. Still, by dint of a determined effort during a year of intense study with tutors, he...
(The entire section is 2041 words.)
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