34 Years Ago in TIME

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Announcing its first foreign head last week was a big step for Sony, the Japanese electronics giant that was founded and run for years by AKIO MORITA.

A young businessman named Akio Morita made his first trip outside Japan in 1953 to investigate export prospects for his struggling little electronics company. He was dismayed to find that in the sophisticated markets of the U.S. and Europe, the words made in Japan were a mocking phrase for shoddiness. But in the Netherlands, he recalls, "I saw an agricultural country with many windmills and many bicycles, and yet it was producing goods of excellent quality and had worldwide sales power. I thought that maybe we Japanese could do it too." Indeed they could. A month ago, Morita took off on his 94th or 95th transpacific trip. (He has lost exact count.) This time he came as the self-assured export chief and primary owner of Sony Corp., the firm that as much as any other has made Japanese goods synonymous with high quality as well as low price. --TIME, May 10, 1971

Read the entire article at time.com/years