He graduated in 1933 from Waseda University where he was nicknamed "Captain America." After graduating, he went to work at Photo-Chemical Laboratory, a company which processed movie film. In 1945, he left the company and founded a radio repair shop in Tokyo.
In 1946 Ibuka and Akio Morita co-founded Sony Corporation, originally named Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation (prior to 1958). Ibuka was instrumental in securing the licensing of transistor technology to Sony from Bell Labs in the 1950s, thus making Sony one of the first companies to apply transistor technology to non-military uses. Ibuka served as president of Sony from 1950 to 1971, and then served as chairman of Sony between 1971 and 1976.
Ibuka left Sony in 1976, but maintained close ties as an advisor until his death in 1997 from heart failure at the age of 89.
Ibuka also authored the book Kindergarten is Too Late (1971), in which he claims that the most significant human learning occurs from ages 9 months to 3 years and suggests ways and means to take advantage of this. The book's foreword was written by Glenn Doman, founder of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, an organization that teaches parents about child brain development. Ibuka and Doman agreed that the first years of life were vital for education.
Awards and honors
- 1960 Awarded Medal of Honor with Blue Ribbon from H.M. The Emperor of Japan
- 1964 Received Distinguished Services Award from the Institute of Electrical Communication Engineers of Japan
- 1972 Received Founders Medal from IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)
- 1976 Honorary Doctor of Engineering, Sophia University, Tokyo
- 1978 Decorated by H.M. the Emperor of Japan, with the First Class Order of the Sacred Treasures.
- 1979 Honorary Doctor of Science, Waseda University, Tokyo
- 1981 Received Humanism and Technology Award from the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies
- 1986 Decorated by H.M. the Emperor of Japan, with the First Class Order of the Rising Sun with the GrandCordon.
- 1986 Decorated by H.M. the King of Sweden, with Commander First Class of the Royal Order of the Polar Star.
- 1986 Awarded Eduard Rhein "Ring of Honor"
- 1989 Designated Person of Cultural Merits by Ministry of Education
- 1990 IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award named in his honor
- 1991 Awarded Bronze Wolf of the World Organization of the Scout Movement
- 1992 Decorated by H.M. the Emperor of Japan, with Order of Culture
- 1992 Masaru Ibuka memorial hall was built in Waseda University.
- 1993 Named Honorary Citizen of Tokyo
- 1994 Honorary Doctor of Science, Brown University (USA)
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