Konosuke Matsushita spent his childhood in poverty. He founded his own company when he was 23 years old, but his business took a long time to finally get going.
This day in 1989 marked the death of one of the most famous Japanese industrialists, Konosuke Matsushita, founder of Panasonic. He spent his childhood in poverty, because his father lost his former wealth due to bad investments. He was educated only up to the age of nine. Soon after he was sent as an apprentice in Osaka, but the store in which he worked failed and Matsushita had to look for a new job. He was hired at a local power company that provided Osaka with electricity and electric lighting (at that time those were new and modern concepts). Young Matsushita worked there as a wiring assistant, but he proved to be a good learner and he soon became an electrician.
Matsushita moved forward in his job and even became an electrical inspector. In his spare time he developed his idea for a more advanced electric light socket, but was disappointed when his boss did not embrace this idea. Matsushita then left the company and founded his own at the age of only 23 years. His business took a long time to finally get going. Matsushita realized that it is not enough to have a product that is superior to others, but he must have adequate sales channels, so he concentrated on developing such a system.
The company eventually began to grow enormously and became one of the largest technology companies in Japan. In the year 1955 Matsushita introduced the brand named Panasonic, so as to become more attractive to U.S. buyers. Earlier, in Japan, Matsushita used the brand name “National”, but that name was already taken in the United States.
Interestingly, Konosuke Matsushita rented one of his factories to his brother in law (sister’s husband) Toshiou Iue. The brother in law devised his own brand “Sanyo”, which later even became Panasonic’s competitor. Near the end of his life Konosuke Matsushita devoted himself to writing about his business and social philosophy. He died on this day, aged 94.