Former president and chairman of Sony, Norio Ohga, who is also the man behind the compact disc’s development, has died at the ripe old age of 81. Ohga actually led the company for more than a decade (1982 to 1995), and he passed away due to multiple organ failure in the Japanese capital, Tokyo. According to Sony’s chairman, Sir Howard Stringer, his predecessor’s foresight and vision had managed to transform the company into a global entertainment leader that it is today. Ohga still held the position of being a senior adviser to the company when he passed on.

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First joining Sony in 1953, Ohga was recruited by Sony’s co-founders while he was still burning the midnight oil over at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, where he originally intended to pursue a career as an opera singer. According to Sony’s co-founders, they figured out that his knowledge of sound and electrical engineering would benefit the firm instead. 

It can be safely attributed to Ohga that he managed to help redefine Sony as a company encompassing both hardware and software, taking up the position of the president of CBS Sony Records (now Sony Music Entertainment) in the 1970s. Personally, his involvement in the CD format cannot be understated, pushing for a 12cm diameter disc that held up to 75 minutes of audio simply because it can store the entirety of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The rest, as they say, is history. Thank you Ohga-san, and may you rest in peace.

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