Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony

Rate this book
The chairman of the Sony Corporation discusses the rise of Sony, his extraordinary career as a businessman, and his views on the United States, Japan, and the world economy

309 pages, Hardcover

First published October 1, 1986

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Akio Morita

17 books38 followers
Mr Morita was a Japanese businessman, writer, and co-founder of Sony Corporation.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,554 (36%)
4 stars
1,728 (40%)
3 stars
811 (19%)
2 stars
120 (2%)
1 star
54 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 229 reviews
2 reviews2 followers
February 7, 2013
Amazing book. And I joined Steve Jobs and many more from the Akio Morita fan club.

Did you know that he was such a sensation that Steve Jobs wanted to build Apple to be like Sony? Here are the similarities- Both Apple and Sony had a reputation of creating perfectly crafted consumer products which conquer the marketplace. Apple still does, in fact.

Both companies were leaders in "personal technology". This is where Apple drew inspiration from Sony's Walkman, an inspiration which culminated in the first iPOD.

This book is the story of Sony's legend, told in the words of its most famous co-founder himself. It gives an insight into how the Japanese way of doing business, along with a burning passion to conquer the marketplace and the vision of producing the highest quality products in the world grew Sony into the most respected multinational corporation in Japan and worldwide, and allowed it to become the first real Japanese company which cut across regional and international barriers and vanquished foreign competition.

Akio Morita's style of writing is conversation style. He talks about all things Japanese, and all things American- and attempts to distinctly mark the difference between them. This book is probably the best lecture on management and entrepreneurship that you could ever probably get.

This is almost the history of Japan from pre-WWII era to the present, running parallel to the story of SONY itself. It also gives an insight into the lives and homes of the common Japanese people, their preferences, their beliefs. The moment you pick up the book, whatever page it may be, you feel instantly teleported to a seat in front of the legendary Akio Morita narrating his and Sony's life to you.

Finally- a good, exciting lecture on the Japanese way of doing business, on business ethics, and on Japan. MUST READ.
Profile Image for Omar Halabieh.
217 reviews69 followers
December 7, 2013
Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- "I have always believed that a trademark is the life of an enterprise and that it must be protected boldly. A trademark and a company name are not just clever gimmicks—they carry responsibility and guarantee the quality of the product. If someone tries to get a free ride on the reputation and i the ability of another who has worked to build up public trust."

2- "In the beginning, when our track record for success was not established, our competitors would take a very cautious wait-and-see attitude while we marketed and developed a new product. In the early days, we would often have the market to ourselves for a year or more before the other companies would be convinced that the product would be a success. And we made a lot of money, having the market all to ourselves. But as we became more successful and our track record became clearer, the others waited a shorter and shorter time before jumping in. Now we barely get a three-month head start on some products before the others enter the market to compete with us with their own version of the product we innovated. It is flattering in a way, but it is expensive. We have to keep a premium on innovation."

3- "My point in digressing to tell this story is simple: I do not believe that any amount of market research could have told us that the Sony Walkman sensational hit that would spawn many imitators. And yet this small item has literally changed the music-listening habits of millions of people all around the world."

4- "It was this kind of innovation that Ibuka had in mind when we wrote a kind of prospectus and philosophical statement for our company in the very beginning: "If it were possible to establish conditions where persons could become united with a firm spirit of teamwork and exercise to their hearts' desire their technological capacity," he wrote, "then such an organization could bring untold pleasure and untold benefits." He was thinking about industrial creativity, something that is done with teamwork to create new and worthwhile products. Machines and computers cannot be creative in themselves, because creativity requires something more than the processing of existing information. It requires human thought, spontaneous intuition, and a lot of courage, and we had plenty of that in our early days and still do."

5- "My view was that you must first learn the market.. learn how to sell to it, and build up your corporate confidence before you commit yourself. And when you have confidence, you should commit yourself wholeheartedly."

6- "...no matter how good or successful you are or how clever or crafty, your business and its future are in the hands of the people you hire. To put it a bit more dramatically, the fate of your business is actually in the hands of the youngest recruit on the staff."

7- "When most Japanese companies talk about cooperation or consensus, it usually means the elimination of individuality. At our company we are challenged to bring our ideas out into the open. If they clash with others, so much the better, because out of it may come something good at a higher level. Many Japanese companies like to use the words cooperation and consensus because they dislike individualistic employees. When I am asked, and sometimes when I am not, I say that a manager who talks too much about cooperation is one who is saying he doesn't have the ability to utilize excellent individuals and their ideas and put their ideas in harmony. If my company is successful, it is largely because our managers do have that ability."

8- "Management officers, knowing that the company's ordinary business is being done by energetic and enthusiastic younger employees, can devote their e and effort to planning the future of the company. With is in mind, we think it is unwise and unnecessary to define individual responsibility too clearly, because everyone is taught to act like a family member ready to do what is necessary. If something goes wrong it is considered bad taste for management to inquire who made the mistake. That may seem dangerous, if not silly, but it makes sense to us."

9- "I cannot understand why there is anything good in laying off people. If management takes the risk and responsibility of hiring personnel, then it is management's ongoing responsibility to keep them employed. The employee does not have the prime responsibility in this decision, so when a recession comes. why should the employee have to suffer for the management decision to hire him? Therefore, in times of boom we are very careful about increasing our personnel. Once we have hired people, we try to make them understand our concept of a fate-sharing body and how if a recession comes the company is willing to sacrifice profit to keep them in the company."

10- "What you are showing to your employees is not that you are an artist who performs by himself on the high wire, but you are showing them how you are attempting to attract a large number of people to follow you willingly and with enthusiasm to contribute to the success of the company. If you can do that, the bottom line will take care of itself."

11- "It may sound curious, but I learned that an enemy of this innovation could be your own sales organization if it has too much power, because very often these organizations discourage innovation. When you make innovative new products, you must re-educate the sales force about them so the salesmen can educate and sell the public. This is expensive; it means investing sufficient money in R&D and new facilities and advertising and promotion. And it also means making some popular and profitable items obsolete, often the items you can make the most profit on because your development costs are paid for and these products have become easy for your salesmen to sell."

12- "The primary function of management is decision-making and that means professional knowledge of technology and the ability to foresee the future direction or trends of technology. I believe a manager must have a wide range of general knowledge covering his own business field. It also helps to have a special sense, generated by knowledge and experience—a feel for the business that goes beyond the facts and figures—and this intuitiveness is a gift only human beings can have."

13- "Next to lawyers, I think these people are the most overused and misused businessmen on the scene in the United States and Japan. I use consultants selectively and have found the best ones can do valuable information gathering and market analysis. But their use can be brought to ridiculous extremes, and it has been."

14- "I think one of the main advantages of the Japanese system of management over the American or the Western system in general is this sense of corporate philosophy. Even if a new executive takes over he cannot change that. In Japan the long-range planning system and the junior management proposal system guarantee that the relationship between top management and junior management remains very close and that over the years they can formulate a specific program of action that the years they can formulate a specific program of action that will maintain the philosophy of the company. It a also may explain why in the initial stages progress is very slow in a Japanese company. But once the company communicates its philosophy to all employees, the company has great strength and flexibility."

15- "My point is that it is unwise merely to do something different and then rest on your laurels. You have to do something to make a business out of a new development, and that requires that you keep updating the product and staying ahead of the market."

16- "My prediction is that we can enjoy our lives with less energy, less of the old materials, fewer resources, more recycling, and have more of the essentials for a happy and productive life than ever. Some people in the world, especially the Americans, will have t to learn something of the meaning and spirit of mottainai and conserve more. Step by step, year by year, we must all learn how to be more skillful and efficient in using our resources economically. We must recycle more. As to the expanding populations, that will be a challenge to everyone, for they will have to be fed. clothed, and educated. But as the standard of living of a people increases, the population tends to level off, people live a different way, acquire different tastes and preferences, and develop their own technologies for survival."

17- "I believe there is a bright future ahead for mankind, and that future holds exciting technological advances that will enrich the lives of everybody on the planet. Only by expanding world trade and stimulating more production can we take advantage of the possibilities that lie before us. We in the free world can do great things. We proved it in Japan by changing the image of the words "Made in Japan" from something shoddy to something fine. But for a single nation or a few nations to have accomplished this is not enough. My vision of the future is of an exciting world of superior goods and services, where every nation's stamp of origin is a symbol of quality, and where all are competing for the consumers' hard-earned money at fair prices that reflect appropriate rates of exchange. I believe such a world is within our grasp. The challenge is great; success depends only on the strength of our will."
Profile Image for Christopher Lewis Kozoriz.
825 reviews268 followers
November 20, 2019
"I believe there is a bright future ahead for mankind, and that future holds exciting technological advances that will enrich the lives of everybody on the planet. Only by expanding world trade and stimulating more production can we take advantage of the possibilities that lie before us. We in the free world can do great things. We proved in Japan by changing the image of the words "Made in Japan" from something shoddy to something fine. But for a single nation or few nations to have accomplished this is not enough. My vision for the future is of an exciting world of superior goods and services, where every nation's stamp of origin is a symbol of quality, and where all are competing for the consumers' hard-earned money at fair prices that reflect appropriate rates of exchange. I believe such a world is within our grasp. The challenge is great; success depends only on the strength of our will." (Akio Morita, Made in Japan, Page 309)

Written by the co-founder of the Sony Corporation, Akio Morita. He and his partner, Masaru Ibuka, started off by creating radios just after the US occupation after World War II. Japan was not allowed to make weapons, so they started being productive in industry. A few of their claims to fame are Sony's first transistor radio, the world's first videocassette system, and of course the Sony Walkman.

This book goes into details of his start as a wealthy businessman's son. He father sold sake, which is an alcoholic rice beverage. Apparently, a very popular beverage in Japan and a very lucrative business; however, the Author was more interested in engineering, and went to school, and met his future mentor, and co-founder of Sony, Masaru Ibuka. It seemed to me that Masaru Ibuka was more on the engineering side of things, while Akio Morita, was more hands on with the business side of things.

The author takes on many subjects in this book, including: selling to the world, management, American and Japanese styles of business, competition, technology and world trade. He says concerning goal setting: "In industry, we must have the theoretical background, and we must have the pure research that precedes development of new things, but I have learned that only if we have a clear goal can we concentrate our efforts."

He did a lot of explaining of the differences between how the Japanese do business and their philosophy of life, and Americans. Sometimes, I felt he thought the Japanese ways were superior to the Americans. Also, some of the things he wanted to change in the USA were things that would benefit him and his company and country, rather than the Americans, such as keeping Americans from being protectionists because of the amount of trade flowing into America, but Japan letting little imports in.

If you ever wanted to know how the Sony Corporation started and the founders behind them, then this is the book to read. I heard Steve Job's also was highly influenced by this book and his building of Apple.

Good read!
Profile Image for Baiju Joshi.
24 reviews1 follower
March 28, 2019
I picked up this book for the same reason that I read 'Made in America' by Sam Walton, and that is because I like to read entrepreneurial tales. While the Walmart story was about cost-cutting and economies of scale, Sony was about innovation and bringing new technology to people.
This book tells the story of the rise of Sony in the backdrop of the global economy in the 60's and 70's. I found the the first half of the book a bit boring, because it talks more about the personal life of the author. But as the book progresses, there is talk in great detail about concepts on Management, Competition, Technology and World Trade.
Throughout the book, there is a comparison between the Japanese and American style of working and the author has not shied away from criticizing the American way. Further, a lot has been written about the role of Japan in the world economy and the need for a more global/free trade going forward. Mr. Morita also raises concerns about the current exchange rate system (in the 80's) and despises the money-market currency manipulators that trade in the market for the sole purpose of profiting. The author's truly global perspective, which he gained by travelling for decades and meeting all sorts of people, is enlightening.
Finally, the best part of the book for me was knowing more about the Japanese culture, and the little anecdotes and quotes mentioned at pertinent points make it an interesting and a fun read. Some of the ingenious Japanese concepts and ideas only made me respect the Japanese people more!
P.S. There is absolutely no mention of Indian Subcontinent or even Africa in the book, which is somewhat disheartening, especially when the author talks a lot about individual American, Asian and European countries. This is probably because the book was written in the 80's and India hadn't really been put on the world map yet.
Profile Image for Alex.
227 reviews40 followers
March 8, 2022
If you want to understand Apple, this is the book to read. Steve Jobs admired Akio Morita. Sony was the blueprint Jobs used to build his company, and it's all here. In fact I'm quite surprised that this book hasn't gained cult status, becoming something of a totem for Apple fanatics.

In any event, this is first-rate as far as business books go. In a genre I find bloated with useless, clichéd rubbish, this is a standout. I saved 125 highlights in the span of its 300-some pages—prodigious for my typical pace. He offers invaluable insight on building and running companies, and has a unique lens by which he's able to explain critical differences in Japanese and Western culture.

The book is well-structured, too. It's written in a series of widening concentric circles. Morita begins with his personal upbringing, then expands to his family. Next comes the story of Sony, then he finishes with his perspective on issues of trade and international relations.

Morita cuts an interesting figure. On one hand he seems very down to earth, friendly, personable. On the other, there are things he says which give the impression that he was quite brash. He had firm opinions and was unafraid to speak them.

He also seems to lack some self-awareness. He writes casually about meeting with President Regan, flying around in private jets and helicopters, having famous musicians over for dinner at his Manhattan apartment, sending his children to private boarding schools overseas—don't you realize that's not how most people live?

Altogether it's an excellent book. I thoroughly enjoyed his perspective of the world.
Profile Image for Alibiserver.
48 reviews17 followers
October 20, 2011
Let me start my review by informing you all that there are many ways of how to look a book. I treat Made in Japan as an honest and down-to-earth memoir and little much as a treatise on economics, trade, and doing business as a whole. Frankly speaking, my knowledge about economics on the macro side tend to be poor, and with conditions today being very different from when the book was written, some concepts may not apply in the contemporary context. With that known, the book is actually an enjoyable, simple read on how Japanese business models worked in those days.

Morita makes little embellishments on his texts and cuts right through his early days during the war. Born from a prominent Nagoya family making cottage industries for nearly a hundred years, his interest in Physics enabled him to branch away from his family’s tried-and-tested business concerns and instead worked his way in creating one of the biggest electronic companies today. The path though, needless to say, had never been a rose garden; beset with common problems after the war, lack of human resources and capital, and a reliable consumer base, he transforms his know-how and sways the topic very well from being a purely research-based scientist to a overarching industrialist, with one topic constantly being talked about- flexibility.

It is astonishing how Morita writes the book with a deft perception about his philosophies, about how his company worked and moved on with time, and how it fitted in the cutthroat competition of the industry, now being the trendsetter of electronic goods. While there were passages that were in bias to Sony’s favour, he doesn’t sugar-coat or swerves to another topic when putting his company’s failures, but rather puts it at a caution. One of the things I looked forward to reading in the book was the loss of the Betamax format in the videocassette war of the ‘80s which he did not put much into retrospect (being that the book was published in 1986) though he did put highlights on their successes such as the U-Matic, the Walkman, the floppy drives, and colour television sets.

There were other highlights in the book which I felt were not only inherently Japanese, like treating company members as a form of a family and how socialist ideas come into play with the togetherness of the company. What shook me though was how spot-on his critique was of American business practices. It all rang true even today: keeping top-brass well-paid and balance sheets tidy at the expense of firing workers and closing shops, how lawyers and financial opportunists had now taken Wall Street at the expense of putting more emphasis on research, development and creativity, and finally, the most biting of them all, was how the US has somehow lagged in its position as a leading industrial nation.

In all sense, the book provided humanity to industry through the eyes of Sony; while their products scream of assembly-line dehumanization, it transformed its heart through its business principles and hierarchy. I cannot say true about it these days but it made me want to buy a Sony.
Profile Image for Ben Rogers.
2,390 reviews156 followers
September 1, 2022
Well Made

This was an amazing book on Japanese business, quality technology, and the story behind some really groundbreaking products for their time.

Truly, a wonderful leadership book.

I was loving it until about the last third, where he started really applauding Kissinger.
I've really had it up to here with Kissinger popping into my recent reads!
All else otherwise, it was a fantastic read.

Profile Image for Foad Ansari.
244 reviews37 followers
May 1, 2018
کتاب خیلی پراکنده است و نویسنده مدام از این شاخه به اون شاخه میره
خوندنش خسته کننده س و پیشنهاد نمیکنم
Profile Image for Patrick (Kunle).
71 reviews21 followers
May 23, 2023
One of my fondest memories as a child was going to the Sony Center in New York, and playing around with the different electronics and video games there. Reading this book gave me a window into the mind and process responsible for that bright memory.

Learning Akio Morita's story, from his days as a student of science and naval officer in WW2 Japan to the founder of Sony and international business magnate, has been a major pleasure of mine this past month.

This book offers a look into Morita and his partners' ethos on business (which I find very admirable!) and approach to building quality technology products. Beyond that, it's a look into the culture, work ethic and hopes of the people in early Post-war Japan.

The final act where he focuses on world trade, its successes, its potential, its barriers and his hopes for a more equitable world were unsurprising but equally welcome.

I highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Madhulika Liddle.
Author 13 books421 followers
April 7, 2017
The biography of Sony’s founder and chairman, Akio Morita, is aptly named. Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony covers the main aspects of what this book is about. Japan, Japanese industry, Sony, and Morita himself. It is, in fact, less an autobiography of Morita (unless, of course, you take into account the fact that his personality and beliefs are reflected in the issues he discusses in the book) and more about Japan, commerce, technology, and related fields.

Made in Japan begins dramatically: at the point where, Hiroshima having been bombed, 24 year old Akio Morita, then a naval officer involved in research, realized that the war was effectively over for Japan. Less than a year later, in May 1946, Morita and a handful of others set up a technology company, using the bombed-out shell of a Tokyo department store as office and factory. This was what went on to become Sony.

Over the course of nearly 350 pages, Morita describes and examines a number of related topics. How Sony evolved, how some of its major products came to be (I especially liked the story behind Walkman, in particular the disagreement over its name), how it expanded. How Japanese industry works, the ethics and the work culture, and the history behind industry and trade in Japan. How these are different from their Western counterparts. How international trade, exchange rates, import restrictions, politics, markets, and other factors affect industry. Technology and its inherent need to be constantly updated.

For me, the most interesting parts of Made in Japan were the history of Japanese industry (and, to some extent, the emphasis on postwar Japan); the Japanese way of working (with the workers being considered part of a ‘family’ rather than mere employees); and—to some extent—the many tidbits about what Sony does to help its employees feel more invested in the company, at the same time also making them more capable, more productive, and more focused on quality.

I’ll admit that some of the technology aspect of this book went over my head and had me waiting to get beyond it. The more detailed examination of international trade, of legality and law (especially in the case of America) too was a little tedious as far as I was concerned. This was the main reason I gave this book three stars instead of four.

Another point: I thought it would have made sense to include an appendix to the book. Made in Japan was written originally in 1986 and is, unsurprisingly, in many ways outdated. This edition dates back to 2009. Akio Morita died in 1999 and had been working at Sony till 1994; surely it would have been interesting to have him write a brief update on some of the things that had changed since this book was first written? Or, if not Morita himself, someone else who could comment on how changing political scenarios and new technologies had impacted Sony (and Japanese industry as a whole) in the years since?

Still, an insightful book, and if you’re part of the corporate world, worth reading for lessons on leadership and innovation, if nothing else.
Profile Image for Tian MinJia.
20 reviews
May 31, 2023
This book took quite some time to finish as it was incredibly dense with business knowledge - almost like a bible for business. It now makes sense why Daily Express believes this "should be in the briefcase of every entrepreneur".

Some key lessons here that stood out the most:

1) People make purchase decisions based on their perceived value of what the product can bring to them - not how difficult it is to make from an engineering perspective (ref. Sony's ¥170000 initial tape recorder)

2) Just because a country is developed does not mean that better products will not sell (ref. Akio's first visit to America)

3) Lead the public with new products that adds value to people's lives, instead of relying on market research. Most of the time, the public does not know what is possible or even what they want. (e.g. Job's iPhone, Sony's Walkman)

4) After the release of an MVP, listen to the customers, iterate, iterate, and iterate - (ref. removing dual headphone ports / "hotline" on the Walkman)

5) "Fifty years ago, your (Bulova) brand name must have been just as unknown as our name is today. I am here with a new product, and I am taking the first step for the next fifty years of my company." (ref. negotiations to not become purely an OEM)

6) Once inside the firm, establish scorecards/measures of performance on metrics that actually matter to the success of the firm/team (proven ability, performance, potential) , instead of judging people based on their school records

7) "A ballet dancer needs a mirror to perfect her style, her technique." - the importance of a product critic

8) People do not just work for money. To motivate people, you must bring them into the family and treat them like respected members of it. People choose to work for a purpose / vision / something they can devote their life to.

9) People make mistakes - those who do not make mistakes are asleep.

10) Many managers are saving money instead of investing it in the business to gain short-term accounting profits at the expense of future profitability - what they are doing is essentially cashing in on the assets that have been built up in the past.

11) Without a target, R&D spend will not result in success. As the leader, have a clear vision of the product you want to make and motivate your team towards that goal (e.g. Jeff Bezos' clear & uncompromising vision of the Kindle resulted in breakthroughs of ebook merchandising + tablet connectivity + screen technology)

12) On Sony's simple and bare office layout: "... if Japanese clients come into the office of a new and struggling company and see plush carpet ... this company is not series ... is devoting too much thought and company resources to management's comfort and perhaps not enough to the product or to potential customers ..." ... "... we have to all be reminded that we are struggling together to make this company a success"

13) On executives who lacks time and experience in an industry: "such an executive, lacking knowledge and unsure of himself, will hesitate to take risks, will feel the need to justify his every move, and will often turn to the consulting firms"

July 24, 2019
I am overwhelmed and mesmerized by the way Akio Morita, a most sought after business magnate, a tycoon and an unconventional manager who took a nascent company from Japan to becoming the world's most successful corporation in the late 80s. In the process of taking the business to a newer heights, Akio and his colleagues faced ordeals which is unthinkable to this day but the outcome was always positive. The foremost reason why Akio was able to endure harsh realities in business arena is because he was persistent to achieve goal, his ability to tactfully negotiate business dealings and motivating employees to take risk to innovate new things.

Upon reading this book, I understood that Japanese are always a special human being because of their ability to endure harsh realities be it natural or human-made calamities. They were and are always prepared to confront challenges and learn from the past mistakes. In the past, several of its metropolitan cities were destroyed by fierce volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Several of its cities and towns were burned down by America during world war II to a mere rubbles which was unimaginable to retrieve and rebuild. Yet, world was awestruck and awed by the way Japanese rebuild its home from the scratch. To this day, Japanese still feel uncertain about their livelihood and because of this reason they constantly work to bring changes in social livelihood by technological advances(breakthroughs).

A special thing that sets apart Sony Corporation from other corporations is investing enormous amount of money on research and development which has put them into limelight. Employees are encouraged to think out of box to creating “skunk works” within an organisation to pursue their interest. Several of its products were the outcome of such initiatives, one such was Walkman which is more telling. I still remember during my childhood days, when owning a Walkman was a moment of pride for a person. Not many could afford it. Now I realize that it is through such management exercises that Sony could produce a magnum opus “Walk man” back then.

I think many of our managers, leaders and so called power savvy people should definitely read this book and try to emulate Akio’s management styles. An adage,” it is always lonely at top” is more relevant in Bhutanese context because managers are always driven by self-interest rather than bringing significant changes in posterior. So, its high time to invest now and reap the benefits for all times to come to upkeep with the changes around us.

Happy Reading!
Profile Image for Fedjablpula.
159 reviews6 followers
October 26, 2021
Akio Morita i Masaru Ibuka se upoznali u vojsci i nakon rata u razrusenom Japanu osnovali kompaniju, kasnije je preimenovali u sony.
Masaru Ibuka je vise bio zaduzen za stvaranje novi proizvoda, Akio je vise bio za menadzerski dio, probijanja na druga trzista i slicno.

Akio je iz bogate porodice, njegov otac ih je pomagao na pocetku.
Made in Japan danas vise nije asocijacija na nesto nekvalitetno.

Mi u Japanu vidimo na sasvim drugaciji nacin uspjeh u biznisu i u industriji. Mi duboko vjerujemo da, ako zelite visoku efikasnost i produktivnost, bliski drugarski odnosi sa svojim sluzbenicima, koji vodi ka visokom moralu, jeste neophodan.
Profile Image for Vikas Harsh.
10 reviews1 follower
March 27, 2018
Akio morita was probably a bigger deal than Steve jobs of apple in the post World War II era where Japan had a task to build their reputation on the national and international levels.

The book is like a narrative about the problems he (akio)faced across his life establishing Sony, first in Japan and then overseas. And how the mindset and rules of doing business differ across border but are still the same deep within.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what it would have been like to establish a business so big that operates in 100+ countries 50 years back.

An absolute delight!
176 reviews
July 6, 2020
Mostly covers management of an intentional company with some minimal biographical info. Interesting stories about meeting folks in other countries including US Presidents as he espouses business beliefs.

More so a book on management than anything else and no mention at all of Sony's foray into US moving making as a production studio.

Worth reading to learn about tariffs, legal issues in dealing with the US and other business-related activities.
Profile Image for sourabh.
49 reviews
October 15, 2022
Story of how Sony developed into what it came to be. A story of gutsy innovation, coupled with trend setting advancements that have come out of Sony and it's research wings. All of this in the first half of the book, but the second half of it tapered down into trade policy, economics and business side of things which weren't as much of a page turner or enjoyable to read but would stimulate the minds of people interested in management

First published in 1986, more than 35 years ago, it was interesting to know the views that Morita held with regard to the world and its ways of doing business, most of which have changed drastically and don't hold true now-a-days
Profile Image for Barack Liu.
480 reviews17 followers
September 4, 2020

224-Made In Japan-Akio Morita-Biography-1986

- Wind Yulu a reunion, they won numerous world.

"Made in Japan" was first published in Japan in 1986. "Made in Japan" is an autobiography of Morita Akio dictated by Akio Morita and recorded by Miko Shimomura .

Akio Morita (Akio Morita) was born in 1921 in Nagoya, Japan, and died in 1999. Studied at the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Osaka Imperial University (now Osaka University). In 1946, Akio Morita founded the " Tokyo Telecommunications Industry Co., Ltd." together with his friend Ifuka . Akio Morita served as the executive director and was in charge of marketing.

In 1958 , " Tokyo Telecommunications Industry Co., Ltd." officially changed its name to "SONY" (SONY), and Akio Morita began to carry out international strategic deployment. In 1960, Akio Morita became president of Sony Corporation of the United States. In 1971, Akio Morita served as president and chairman successively after the listing of Sony Corporation. In 1979, under the leadership of Akio Morita, the "Walkman" developed by Sony began to take the world by storm. In the 1980s, Akio Morita began to implement the strategy of "promoting hardware products with software" and completed the integration of resources at home and abroad. In 1998, as the only Asian Akio Morita, is "when on behalf of the Week" named one of the 20 most influential business people of the 20th century. Representative works: "Made in Japan" and so on.

Part of the catalog
1. War-Survival and Hope
2. Peace-start a new life
3. Going to the world-the journey forward
4. About business-as close as a family
5. The difference between " American" and "Japanese"
6. Competition-the source of vitality for Japanese companies
7. Technology-a means of survival
8. Japan and the world-similarities and differences
9. World Trade-Avoiding Crisis

I had only myself to understand those outstanding entrepreneurs, writers, artists, politicians, philosophers, I find their origin in a majority of two categories, one is born poor and lowly, one is superior lineage Ottawa . On the contrary, the children of typical middle-class families seem to have a relatively low percentage of brilliant achievements. Probably similar to the natural world, rare and exotic beasts do not appear in the most sinister living environment, or they live in the heaven and the blessed land?

Assuming that my guess is in line with the facts, there may be several interpretation methods. In the growth of the living environment of the worst in people, it will change the fate of the most intense. Their most distinctive feature is "eagerness." Optimal living environment Ottawa man, nature can develop their full freedom. Its characteristic is "freedom".

On the one hand, people who grow up in an environment where there is no more than enough to survive , on the one hand, there is no severe pressure to survive, but on the other hand, the family background is not so superior that he can develop according to nature, so his family environment has become the greatest guarantee for a stable life , But also tied it to the life path planned by the parents in advance. Its characteristic is "stable".

Qin Guan wrote in "The Immortal Magpie Bridge: The Silky Cloud Makes Cleverness", "When the golden wind and jade dew meet, they will win but countless people." These two sentences are the best in the sentence describing love. In fact, by extension, it is not only a great fortune to meet such a "partner" in love, but it is even more rare to meet such a "partner" in career.

In 1946, Akio Morita joined the company of Jing Shenda. I believe that they would never dream of the greatness of Sony in the future. This year, Kazuo Inamori was 25 years old, and Inamori was 38 years old. The combination of these two is so similar to the combination of Honda Soichiro and Fujisawa Takeo. Honda Soichiro and Inobubu are obsessed with technology and are able to create " impossible" new technologies time and time again ; Kazuo Inamori and Takeo Fujisawa are good at business and have a keen sense of the market. The two can trust each other and cooperate sincerely, which is really enviable.

And Matsushita, Inamori husband and Honda were a Lang different, Akio Morita gifted since childhood Ottawa . Akio Morita lives in a high-end residential area in Nagoya, with his own tennis court in the yard, and the Honda house (the founding family of Honda Motor) is located opposite.

Akio Morita was about ten years old, and his father took him to his home company to learn about the operation of the company and attend high-level meetings. His father once said to him, "Remember, because you are the eldest son of the family, you are born the boss."

Akio Morita not only has excellent Ottawa family environment, also has enlightened parents. After Akio Morita entered high school, his father strongly advised him to use his free time to travel. He believed that "if a person does not actively study diligently, then it is futile to spend more money on training. But there is only one kind that only costs money. The effective way of education is travel."

Akio Morita's mother loved music, his father did not understand music, but believe both ran like music, it must listen to good sound quality. Therefore, when the first batch of record players were imported to Japan, he was the first to buy one for 600 yen, and a car was worth only 1,500 yen at that time.

When Masaru Ibuka Akio Morita's father to visit, Akira Morita request to let her husband join when his company, Akio Morita's father agreed. You know, in that era, it was extremely important for the eldest son to give up inheriting the family's industry and go to other companies.

Reading the biography of Akio Morita and reading the biographies of the other three "four sages of management" feel completely different. Morita Akio’s experience shows another model of success, that is, he was cultivated for success since he was a child, making readers feel more enviable and as expected; and from the biographies of the other three people, the most impressive is They are in the middle and lower classes of society and have the determination and enthusiasm to make a big and earth-shattering cause.

In his autobiography, Akio Morita talked about some of his suspicious past, which now seems to be a bit of a loophole, which is also worthy of fun. For example, when he showed a Sony video recorder to a reporter from the New York Times, Sony’s showroom happened to be on fire. Akio Morita immediately used this opportunity to make a video and achieved a very good demonstration effect.

Perhaps because it was dictated into a book, the article involved many daily details and mentioned his views on the education of his children. An interesting story is that the principal of Atlantic College came to Japan to raise funds. One day, he visited Kazuo Inamori ’s office. Inamori ’s second son, Masao, was not in class that day, so he met the principal in the office. The principal was right. He conducted an on-the-spot interview and was admitted immediately.

Generally speaking , the four sages of management have many differences, but they also have similarities in some core principles. Success cannot be imitated, but principles and guidelines can be learned.

" A new type of bomb hit Hiroshima." When the jaw-dropping news came, I was having lunch with colleagues in the Navy. At that time, we had very limited information, and we didn't even know the specific type of bomb. As Gang A technical officer who graduated from college with a major in physics told me instinctively that it might be an atomic bomb. If my conjecture is true, the consequences must be very serious, but as to how serious it is, it is beyond my cognition. After all, Japan has not suffered a big defeat before. "

Japan is an awe-inspiring country. After experiencing a huge setback like World War II. It can recover quickly in just 20 to 30 years. This cannot but be said to be an amazing achievement. Although its recovery process also benefited from US assistance. But its own development potential is the key. For such an awesome neighbor, if we lack a sufficiently objective and calm understanding of him. The losses suffered in the past may be eaten again in the future.

"The time when the US bomber dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was 8:15 am on August 6. We didn't learn about it until noon the next day. My first reaction to the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima was entirely based on scientific work. The instinct of a reader. At that time, I was sitting at the table and eating white rice. In wartime Japan, this was the most luxurious delicacy, but the moment I heard the news, I lost my appetite. Then, I was at the same table. Officers and colleagues said: "Our research work should be terminated immediately. If the United States has the ability to make atomic bombs, it means that Japan has fallen behind by a large margin in all fields, and it is impossible to catch up. "The boss was very annoyed by what I said. I knew a little bit about the feasibility of making atomic weapons. But at that time, in my opinion, it would take at least 20 years to successfully develop an atomic bomb. Therefore, when I learned that the United States had successfully developed an atomic bomb, I was shocked. Japan was completely unable to invent weapons and equipment that could match it. According to the technological strength at the time, all the new weapons and defensive tactics that Japan could think of were in the United States. In front of the atomic bomb, there are mantis arms as vehicles. "

From a beginning of the end of war, human history entered a new stage. The beginning of a country's strength is based more on science and technology than in any era . Without strong scientific and technological support , it is almost impossible for a country to take the top spot in the world .

" As early as when I was in middle school, I saw a movie about Ford Motor Company. The film showed Ford's large Red River factory in Dearborn, Michigan, USA. The large-scale assembly line operation in the factory shocked me greatly. Ships transported iron ore from a remote mine to Ford’s Honghe Steel Plant, where the iron ore was smelted into various types of steel; then the steel was transported to the next plant, where it was cast into various auto parts; Finally, the parts were assembled into cars. At that time, Japan did not have such a highly organized and comprehensive production technology. Many years later, Japan emerged from the defeat, built its own unique industrial system, and built a high-productivity production system in coastal areas. The factory began to manufacture the automated integrated production equipment used by Ford in the movie. At that time, I had the opportunity to visit the legendary large-scale Honghe factory. Ironically, the scene in front of me was the same as I saw in the movie 20 years ago. I was surprised, confused, and disappointed. For more than 20 years, Ford seems to have been using the same production equipment. The American industry, known as the "world's number one", is going to go in the future. I can't help but wonder. I am worried about this. "

But facts have proved that the United States is still the country with the strongest innovation capabilities in the world. If Morita Akio could live to this day. His confusion should disappear. One of the important reasons why the United States has such a strong vitality is that it can attract talents from all over the world. So, in the final analysis, people are still the most important factor.

" Following the bombing of Hiroshima, the second atomic bomb fell on Nagasaki. This made me feel more deeply that Japan needs as many talents as possible in the future. Maybe a bit self-righteous, but I did have a sense of mission at the time—— As a young man, he may contribute to his country in the future. Of course, he can travel around the world like today, accumulating millions of kilometers, and contribute to the business activities between Japan and European and American countries. It’s impossible to imagine me at that time. "

If our country can have more and more so to is the country make some contribution to their goals in life. Not just the pursuit of excellent Ottawa living conditions of life as the first prerequisite of youth . Maybe we can develop faster and better.

" I, as the eldest son when Tian Sheng was born, the family business has been restored to its former prosperity, so my childhood can be described as wealthy enough to live comfortably. At that time we lived in Babbitt town , one of Nagoya's exclusive residential area, the house is very Large (by Japanese standards). Shirahibei -cho is famous for its wealthy people. We have our own tennis court in our yard, but it’s not uncommon in that area. At that time, the Toyota family lived across from that town. In the future, it will become the founder family of Toyota Motor, a world-class automobile manufacturer, and the neighbors around it are either rich or expensive. "

In Japan 2 0 century of four holy in business management , Morita Akira husband can say is the highest starting point, the best family environment. Compared with him, the other three can be said to have started from scratch. I found that most people have established brilliant careers. Their origins are mainly of two types . One type is poor family. This type of people has developed a strong sense of changing their desires since they were young. And they are hard-working and can endure long hours of hard work. The other is that it is a small family gifted Ottawa , livelihoods worry about. People in this category start their careers mainly out of interest. In order to marry his nature to play vividly .

A person in between, on the one hand to maintain a moderate level of living standards . Therefore, they do not need that they will neither develop a shrew, nor can they easily develop an extreme personality that is ruined. The family environment does not allow them to choose their own destiny too freely. So a child born in a typical middle-class family. It is understandable that relatively few have built great achievements .

" As I grew older, when I was nearly 10 years old, I stopped being naughty and started to concentrate on learning what I was interested in. So I listened to my mother's teachings and advice more frequently. I have a separate room equipped with a desk. When I worked with electronic components, I needed a workbench, so my mother bought me a desk as a workbench and a bed for me. So I didn’t look like it. The rest of the family slept on tatami mats covered with futons like that. I don’t know if my mother deliberately arranged it. Anyway, I have been influenced by the Western lifestyle since I was a child. ”
Profile Image for John Young.
41 reviews
July 14, 2022
akio morita, the steve jobs before steve jobs:

"Our plan is to lead the public with new products rather than ask them what kind of products they want. The public does not know what is possible, but we do. So instead of doing a lot of market research, we refine our our thinking on a product and its use and try to create a market for it by educating and communicating with the public."
4 reviews
November 29, 2015
Before I read this book, I had set some great expectations for it, as it was highly recommended by a friend. And it was one of a handful of books that met their expectations: It was truly amazing and enjoyable!

The great thing about this book is that I cannot comfortably categorize it under one genre: It can be seen as many things.

Firstly, it can be seen as an autobiography of a very creative and successful man. Reading the book, I couldn't help noticing the similarity between Akio Morita's creativity and that of Steve Jobs. Like Jobs, Akio was able to see very early in the development of a technology that it could revolutionize some aspect of our life. I was amazed at the various technologies that Sony helped innovate: very early home video recorders, the 3.5 inch floppy disk, the walkman. Unlike Jobs, however, Akio seemed like a less obsessed, more "normal" person! Akio played a role in pushing for the development of some of these technologies even when their success was doubtful.

The book is also a historical record showing the stages Japan had to go through after the war. One can see along the story how Japan as a whole rises very quickly from the ruins of war: how Japan fairs under American occupation and after. It also highlights key periods and figures in the history of post war Japan.

One can use "Made in Japan" also as a business handbook. Akio Morita is very generous throughout the book with insights and advice about doing business. The advice is very nicely embedded within the flow of the story, and reinforced by Akio's confident tone when he talks about his views of how business should be done. Akio believes, for example, that a manager should have a decent knowledge of the science behind their product. He tells the story of a company that pursued an ambitious technology but failed at the end. The same technology was rejected by Sony's executives before as they saw it would be very difficult in practice.

Finally, I found the book offered a sneak peak at the complicated relationship between business and politics. Especially in the final chapters, the book delves into the world of politics: in Japan and abroad. It shows how Sony moved into the international market: how they set up offices and factories in other countries and how they had to study the laws and cultures of these countries.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the "Japanese way" of doing business or in the history of post-war Japan.
1 review1 follower
July 28, 2009

The book,written by one of the founders of Sony Corporation, is a must-read for people who are curious to know about the rise in Japan,as witnessed by Akio Morita, from a country selling cheap trinkets and umbrellas to a country on the leading edge of technology.
The book talks about a lot of things from the early days of Sony when Toshiba was a much bigger player in Electronics industry to the formation of Sony Corporation of America to the unreconciable differences between Japan and America.
Admittedly, the book is filled with anecdotes which have undercurrents of self-congratulation and pride in what Sony and Japan does.
Even then the book is a pleasure to read and serves its purpose of educating its readers about Japan culture.
May 20, 2012
I read this book after reading Lee Iacocca and felt that in the last few chapters it was all like a reply given by Mr Morita on behalf of Japanese companies to american businessman like Mr iacocca who condemn Japan for not opening up its market for foreign industries and at the same time dump their good (of excellent quality) to America.

Anyway what Japanese industries have achieved after the disastrous atomic attacks is highly commendable and Sony being the pioneer in the race (others include automobiles) makes the book a must read.

I also felt the Japanese way of doing business is quite similar to India traditional business. Will test this as my experience with Indian business grows more.
Profile Image for JFK.
49 reviews2 followers
January 19, 2020
ได้อ่านหนังสือ​ Made in Japan​ ฉบับ​แปลไทย โดยคุณ​ สถาพร​ ศรี​เมฆ​

ซึ่งถ่ายทอดช่วง​สงคราม​โลกครั้งที่​ 2 และการฟื้นฟูประเทศญี่ปุ่นภายหลังสงคราม​ ในทัศนะของคุณ​ Akio Morita​ ผู้ก่อตั้ง​ Sony​ โดยเนื้อหาส่วนใหญ่จะเน้นในเรื่องของธุรกิจ​ วิสัยทัศน์​ เป้าหมาย​ ความหมาย​ การพัฒนา​ การค้าอย่างเสรี​ การรักษามาตรฐาน​ การเข้าถึงใจผู้บริโภค และจิตวิญญาณ​ในการทำธุรกิจอย่างแยบคาย​ คุณสถาพร​ แปลโดยใช้ภาษาที่อ่านเข้าใจได้ง่าย​ อ่านจนจบได้ไม่ปวดหัว​ 🇯🇵🇯🇵

“ก้าวเล็กๆ ของมนุษย์ แต่เป็นก้าวกระโดดที่ยิ่งใหญ่ของมนุษยชาติ”
คุ้นๆกันไหมว่าเป็นคำพูดของใคร ใช่แล้วค่ะ Neil Armstrong บุรุษผู้เหยียบดวงจันทร์คนแรก
และจริงๆ มันเป็นก้าวกระโดดที่ยิ่งใหญ่ของSonyด้วย ยังไงนั้น ไปลองอ่านกันได้เลยในเล่มค่ะ :)
Profile Image for Caolan McMahon.
120 reviews2 followers
February 19, 2019
There's some great stuff here on the early days of Sony and the development of Japanese industry after the second world war. I enjoyed little insights into the Japanese approach to work: treating employees like a family, and planning for the long term.

Unfortunately the later parts of the book wander off into tedious analysis of exchange rate mechanisms, international trade organisations, legal frameworks (mostly in the US), all mixed in with some 80's management guff.

Early parts of the book on the history of Sony: 4-5 stars, later parts: 1-2 stars.
Profile Image for Awdhesh Singh.
Author 21 books274 followers
August 26, 2014
This is one of the best book, I have ever read. People who are interested in History, Management or to understand the cultural difference between East and West, will all enjoy the book. Engineers would find it quite inspiring. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Ian Chapman.
205 reviews12 followers
June 23, 2019
Interesting as biography, and as part of the history of Japan's industrial success.
4 reviews1 follower
April 24, 2021
Well written and it gives glimpse of Sony growth along with post war Japan success and it cultural history in the world of business.
December 2, 2021
What this book is about?
This book is an autobiography of the founder, Akio Morita of SONY. Yet it is not just another autobiography. It is such an old book, over 30 years old. In an age where we idolize internet founders like Jeff Bezos, Akio Morita may seem really out of fashion but this book is about lessons in leading an organization to greatness, we can all draw from. Among the many lessons I learned from the book are as follows:

Rebranding of Japan: After the devastating 2nd world war, made in Japan implied low quality items. People like Morita decided to change this perception. It worked.
Making money from tapes: we have moved a long way since recording voice on tapes, to discs, to vcd, to dvd, to pen drive, to cloud. But back then someone had to start. In this way vision is needed first to achieve something extra ordinary
The battle between VHS and Betamax video format: in retrospect it seems obvious but reading this book we realize even a simple thing as which format will catch on, is a great story by itself. We may too be in such a battle of formats now.
Accepting culture clash: as Morito went to the USA he faced culture shock at how disloyal American people were and how it didn’t bother them. For example one American employee whom he trained personally left for a competitor and Morita thought it was the end of it but the ex-employee later met him at a party and interacted with him as if nothing had transgressed. Morita learned the American way vis-a-vis the Japanese way of life time loyalty.
The walk-man : this was one of the best lessons. In an age where the world thought the bigger the better, the walk-man was a hard sell. But Morita had a vision again. He used a very innovative marketing strategy of hiring young kids and giving them walk-man’s and walk in the streets of tokyo. It worked.
Trade barriers: Morita explains how France made it as hard as possible to make it hard for Sony to ship its goods there. He said that if they could they would put the custom office on-top of mount-blanc (tallest mountain in france)
Conglomerate: As sony grew as it was the corporate practice then, it expanded , diversified, horizontally, vertically.

How is it useful to you in your :
This book helps us understand the importance of having a vision to succeed. You must see something. Of course what you see depends on your qualities. Morita saw tapes, videos. But he couldn’t see software or cars. Similarly many owners of successful resorts and hotels saw tourists flocking in places that at their time of visualization were waste lands, inaccessible, unwanted. Bill Gates loved computers so it was logical he would see the vision of DOS (disk operating system).

Kings of past were warriors so their visions were related to unification of states into empires.

The stark difference of Japanese style and American style of management is more than national characteristics but categories by themselves. Today in the same town at the same time, some companies are running japanese style and others American style.

This book also teaches us to be highly innovative like in the case of the walk-man marketing strategy.

It also tells us that being pro-active is very important. Then it tells us that success can be achieved through harmony in relationships between partners.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 229 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.