1925 - 1928

“This Is It!”—An Instinct that the Era of Radio Would Come

Tokuji, who had stuck in the back of his mind a newspaper article that said radio broadcasting would begin in Japan the following year in 1925, went on business to the Shinsaibashi neighborhood of Osaka and decided to visit the Ishihara Clock Shop owned by a distant relative located nearby. There, he had a fateful encounter. The shop had just received two of the very first crystal radio sets from the United States. Tokuji, who happened to be there only by chance, exclaimed, “This is it!” and promptly bought one. With his employees, he immediately disassembled it and began studying how it was made. Even though they were thoroughly familiar with metal processing techniques, for this, they were only amateurs with no understanding of the principles of radio, let alone electricity. Disassembling the parts one by one, they examined the form and materials, and were able to re-create the same things, ultimately succeeding in assembling a crystal radio set with their own hands. It was exactly two months before radio broadcasting was to begin in Osaka. When they tuned into test broadcasts and heard the clear radio voice from the first crystal radio set produced with their own hands, all the employees of the company are said to have joyfully hugged each other. They began manufacturing and selling crystal radios so as not to miss the opportunity of the start of radio broadcasting. These radios flew off the shelves. They were also successful because, with a selling price of 3 yen 50 sen, they cost less than half that of foreign products. The crystal radio sets were inscribed with the “Sharp” brand name. While the name was suggestive of the sensitivity of the receiver, what was probably going through Tokuji’s mind was the success of the Sharp Pencil.