The History of Panasonic

an advertisement of Panasonic.

A Look Into the Panasonic Corporation

If you scour the electrical appliances in your home, there is a likelihood you will find one or two branded as Panasonic. And if not Panasonic, you may find some with brand names owned by the Panasonic Corporation, for example, JVC, Sanyo, or National.

Behind these globally recognized brand names lies a fascinating story of a company that started over a century ago as a lamp socket and plugs manufacturer.

The company began by making appliance parts but later expanded to manufacturing whole appliances. Here is the story of the Panasonic Corporation.

The History of Panasonic

The Panasonic Corporation was founded by Konosuke Matsushita on March 7, 1918, as Matsushita Electric.

At the time, Matsushita was 23 years old and living with his 22-year-old wife, Mumeno Matsushita, and his 15-year-old brother, Toshio Lue.

He had recently moved to a larger two-story house that acted as their home and the operation base for Matsushita Electric.

Matsushita, alongside his wife and brother, the company’s first employees, converted the ground floor of their house into a workshop where Matsushita conducted his design experiments.

He eventually invented the company’s first products, a two-way socket and an attachment plug, which he priced cheaper than other products despite being of higher quality.

Matsushita Electric was now in business, and by the close of 1918, the company had 20 employees.

Matsushita Electric’s first year in business wasn’t an immediate success.

The company nearly went bankrupt until one customer issued a sizable order for electric fan parts. This order enabled Matsushita to expand production while keeping prices affordable. Sales grew steadily.

And in 1922, the company had 50 staff members and opened its first manufacturing facility and head office.

In 1923, Matsushita Electric added a new product, bicycle lamps, to its repertoire. Konosuke Matsushita invented this product after noticing that most bicycles in Japan didn’t have an efficient light.

The product was such a success that it became the standard in the bicycle industry in Japan. Customers even used bicycle lamps in their homes instead of traditional kerosene lamps.

Matsushita Electric then introduced the brand “National” as the name tag for the bicycle lamps.

In the 1930s, Matsushita Electric added more products to its catalog, starting with radios in 1931 and electric fans and motors in 1934. The company’s first radio was a three-vacuum tube model, and it won an award in the Tokyo Broadcasting Station radio contest.

Unruffled by this success, Konosuke Matsushita still wanted to improve the design of his company’s radios. He purchased patents for radio manufacturing and revealed the information to aspiring radio manufacturers in Japan.

Matsushita wasn’t one to keep proprietary information for his own benefit. He wanted Japan to gain recognition for its electrical prowess.

By 1933, Matsushita Electric had more than 1,200 employees and manufactured over 200 products. The company’s manufacturing facility was not big enough to sustain current and future operations, so Matsushita relocated it to a large head office and factory in Kadoma near Osaka.

Two years later, he took Matsushita Electric public and changed the company’s name to Matsushita Electric Works Co. By this time, the company employed approximately 3,500 staff and manufactured 600 products.

Company  Setbacks

Matsushita Electrics Works Co. suffered a significant setback in the first half of the 1940s when the Pacific War broke out between China and Japan.

The war caused a scarcity and regulation of industrial resources, which eventually affected the quality of products. However, Konosuke Matsushita warned his employees not to compromise on quality.

Most industries in Japan also diverted their attention to manufacturing military equipment.

Matsushita felt compelled by economic and social pressures to team up with the authorities and play a part in producing military equipment despite having no experience in this field.

In 1943, he established the Matsushita Shipbuilding Company and Matsushita Airplane Company. The two companies manufactured 56 wooden ships and three wooden planes.

Although the diversion into military production was under a national authority order, it cost the company immensely after the government failed to pay its suppliers.

To top it all off, the effects of the war also devastated many industries in Japan. Matsushita’s company lost 32 offices and factories, and the number of staff dropped from 26,000 to 15,000. The company’s overseas production was also greatly affected.

Company Successes

Matsushita Electric Works Co. eventually regained footing during the postwar boom period in the years following 1945.

The company ventured into producing monochrome televisions, rice cookers, refrigerators, washing machines, and home air conditioners. It also started expanding globally in the 1950s.

In 1951, Matsushita traveled to the United States for the first time to see how he could take his company to the western side of the world.

He was surprised by how advanced technology was in the US. He eventually began producing television sets for the American market.

Matsushita Electric Works Co. launched the “Panasonic” brand name in 1955 after realizing that another entity already claimed rights to the “National” brand name in the United States.

The company, therefore, couldn’t use the “National” trademark for the US market. This slight setback was, however, a blessing in disguise since Panasonic is now the company’s global brand and its official name.

The name “Panasonic” is a combination of Pan (meaning all) and sonic (meaning sound). Its first use was on audio equipment, but the company eventually branded more American products as Panasonic.

Matsushita also expanded the Panasonic brand to other parts of the world, starting with Canada, Mexico, and later Europe.

The name became a global brand, and in 2008, Matsushita Electric Works Co. changed its official company name to the Panasonic Corporation.

Competitive Advantage

Since its founding, the Panasonic Corporation has strived to make its products as high quality as possible while keeping prices low.

The company’s goal was to mass produce high-quality appliances and sell them at prices lower than competitors. Matsushita famously stated during the Great Depression that a manufacturer’s mission should be to make goods as plentiful and inexpensive as tap water.

This strategy worked well for the company’s first commodities and the hundreds of products launched over the company’s history.

Marketing Strategies

The Panasonic Corporation was one of the first companies to advertise in newspapers in the 1920s. Newspaper advertising wasn’t usual in Japan in those days.

After expanding its product line and market share, the Panasonic Corporation eventually introduced more brands for its different products and geographical markets.

The company used the National brand for the Japanese market and Panasonic for outside Japan. The “Technics” brand was launched in 1965 for Hi-Fi audio systems such as control amplifiers and CD players.

The Victor brand, later replaced with JVC in 2011, came in 1953 after the Panasonic Corporation acquired majority shares in the Japan Victor Company.

At the onset of the 21st century, the Panasonic Corporation replaced the National and Technics brands with Panasonic and later made it the company’s primary global brand.

The company also introduced the slogan “Panasonic. Ideas for Life” in conjunction with the company’s tagline, “A Better Life, A Better World.”

Company Management Style

The Panasonic Corporation’s growth and success in product development are not the only admirable things about this company.

The corporation’s management style is also worthy of commendation. Konosuke Matsushita always cared for and valued his employees.

In 1920, he introduced an organization called Hoichi Kai, meaning one-step society, in which the company’s entire staff, including him, became members.

At the time, the Japanese economy was booming, with factories rising everywhere. Workers were not enough, which made Matsushita realize the value of his staff.

Through the Hoichi Kai organization, he organized recreational activities and cultural and sporting events to unite employees.

Later in the decade, demand for Panasonic’s products fell, and inventory started to pile up.

The demand shortage occurred partly due to the Great Depression in the United States, whose effects reverberated in other global markets, including Japan.

Managers at Matsushita Electric advised Konosuke Matsushita to lay off half of his staff to cut production.

Instead, Matsushita announced that they would cut output not by letting employees go but by getting them to work half days at the same wages.

The Panasonic Corporation was also one of the first to introduce employee health insurance programs. It also established an employee training facility in 1934 and the Matsushita Hospital in 1940.

Lessons From Panasonic

What lessons can we pick up from the history of the Panasonic Corporation?

  • Be Innovative

If Konosuke Matsushita had been unwilling to invent new products with better technologies, his company would not have lived to see the 1950s.

No company can be in business for more than 100 years without innovating. Innovation is especially important for technology companies such as the Panasonic Corporation.

  • Care For Your Employees

Take care of your employees and show them they are valuable to you and your business.

Caring motivates employees to work harder and to stay with the company, even through the tough times.

If Matsushita hadn’t shown appreciation for his 28 employees in 1920, they probably would have left to find work elsewhere, as job opportunities were considerable at the time.

  • Start Small

Konosuke Matsushita started the Panasonic Corporation with two employees, both of whom were his family. The company’s first operation base was the ground floor of his two-story house.

Matsushita didn’t wait until he had enough capital to lease a factory. He started with what he had, and so should you. Don’t be afraid to start small. Where you start is not where you’ll end up in the long run.

Timeline.Panasonic History Timeline


Konosuke establishes the Panasonic Corporation as Matsushita


Matsushita establishes the Hoichi Kai organization for his employees.


Matsushita Electric relocates to its first headquarters and factory.


Matsushita Electric adds bullet-shaped bicycle lamps to its catalog.


Matsushita Electric launches the “National” brand.


The company ventures into radio production, with the first radio being a three vacuum tube model.


The company relocates to a new and larger facility in Kadoma, Osaka.


Matsushita Electric adds electric fans and motors to its catalog and opens an employee training institute.


Matsushita Electric gets incorporated, and the company’s name changes to Matsushita Electric Works Co.


The company opens the Matsushita Hospital.


The Pacific war flares between Japan and China, which hurts the Panasonic Corporation.


Matsushita Electric Works Co. ventures into manufacturing military equipment following a military authority directive.


Konosuke Matsushita visits the United States for the first time in hopes of expanding operations to this side of the world.


Matsushita Electric Works Co. acquires majority shares in the Japan Victor Company. The corporation takes ownership of the Victor brand, which
later gets replaced by JVC.


The corporation introduces the Panasonic brand to markets outside Japan, starting with the United States.


Matsushita Electric Works Co. launches the Technics brand for Hi-Fi audio systems and equipment.


Konosuke Matsushita retires from his company’s active service.


Matsushita Electric Works Co. announces Panasonic as its global brand


Matsushita Electric Works Co. changes its name to Panasonic Corporation.

Executive Team

One way to learn more about an organization is to look at its executive team.

A strong executive team will handle the issues they control and take the company to the next level. In contrast, a poor executive team can easily destroy the company.

You can learn more about Panasonic’s current executive team from the link below if you’re curious or planning to invest in it. 

Have a look at the latest search results for the executive team of Panasonic.

Working at Panasonic

In my opinion, a company must treat its employees well and respectfully.

Therefore, the philosophy I follow is to pay employees over the average wage because when you pay your employees well, you attract more and reduce employee turnover.

Thus, your employees are more dedicated, and your company is stronger overall.

A company cannot function without its frontline workers, so your workforce is an important asset.

Below is a link to information about Panasonic’s working conditions if you’re interested in learning more. 

See the latest search results for working at Panasonic.

Complaints and Lawsuits

You can better understand a company’s management by looking at lawsuits and complaints.

As a result, they can rectify the situation. The management team is responsible for many complaints and lawsuits.

Investors interested in investing in a company should examine this area before deciding. Meanwhile, if you’re just curious, it’s interesting to read the information relating to this topic. 

See the latest search results for Complaints and Lawsuits related to Panasonic.

Company Financials

You can browse through the latest search results to learn more about Panasonic’s financial strength since it is a public company. 

Naturally, it takes some skill to understand financial reports, but you can gain an overview from the information found in the search results of the link below.

See the latest search results for Panasonic financials.

Company Assessment

A company assessment will give you an overview of the company’s current status and its predictions for the future when you search for it.

An overview of how the company is doing gives you a professional perspective. Of course, these are predictions, and no one can predict the future, but they are a good way to see where the company is headed.

See the latest Google search results related to Panasonic’s performance, trends, and assessment.


Google News makes it easy to stay on top of any topic. While researching a topic, I always search for my keyword in Google News for tips and insights I may not have considered.

In my opinion, if the media covers something, then it must be worthwhile.

See Google’s news search results related to Panasonic.

YouTube Videos

Many informational videos on YouTube are available on a wide range of topics.

For example, you can learn about Panasonic’s products and company information on YouTube.

I chose a video that offers an overview of where the company started and where it is now. You can also view more videos about Panasonic by clicking on the link below. 

See the most recent videos related to Panasonic.