JAPAN: Panasonic celebrated its 100th anniversary last week with the opening of the Panasonic Museum in Kadoma City, Osaka.
An opening ceremony on March 7 – the same day that the company was founded as Matsushita Electric Housewares Manufacturing Works in 1918 – was attended by visiting dignitaries, company associates and executives.
The Panasonic Museum consists of the the new Konosuke Matsushita Museum, the Hall of Manufacturing Ingenuity and the Sakura Hiroba, a garden with rows of cherry trees, that was opened in April 2006. Adjacent to the Sakura Hiroba lies the former home of Panasonic founder Konosuke Matsushita, which the company plans to open to the public on a limited basis in the future.
The newly-constructed Konosuke Matsushita Museum is said to be a faithful reproduction of the company’s third head office building completed in 1933, with the same appearance and at exactly the same location as the old building. Visitors will be guided through a path of exhibits that introduce them to the 94 years of the founder’s life, his thoughts on business and management philosophy.
The former Konosuke Matsushita Museum was renamed the Hall of Manufacturing Ingenuity after renovation. The building now houses around 150 home appliances, selected from among the thousands of Panasonic products offered in the past 100 years. Visitors can also trace the history of advertising by the company. In addition, a treasure house containing about 400 products that marked the company’s history will also be open for viewing.
The company that was to become Panasonic, one of the largest Japanese electronics producers, was started with the establishment of Matsushita Electric Housewares Manufacturing Works. The staff consisted of three people: the 23-year-old Matsushita, 22-year-old Mumeno and her brother Toshio lue, then just 15. Initially, the company manufactured fan insulator plates, attachment plugs and two-way sockets.
Today the company produces a huge range of white goods, as well as audio and visual equipment, computers, automotive electronics, batteries and electrical devices.
It moved into the sale of refrigerators in 1953 in a jointly funded venture under the management of the Nakagawa Electric Company, which was later renamed the Matsushita Refrigeration Company. Air conditioners joined the portfolio two years later, with the introduction of the National brand “Home Air Conditioner”.
Targeted at the domestic market, Panasonic focused its product development on compact, lightweight, small-capacity air conditioners not found among competing brands at the time. The annual output in the first year in Japan was 1,100 units. In 2017, air conditioning sales hit JPY462bn ($4.3bn) and its commercial refrigeration business achieved sales of JPY261bn ($2.4bn).