Claim: The Japanese corporation known as Sony based its name on an acronym formed from ‘Standard Oil of New York.’
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2000]
I heard that SONY got its name by way of Mr. Morita’s (former SONY Chairman) connections with a Rockefeller. I understand
Origins: In 1953, the electronics company we now know as Sony was called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo, an outfit whose primary business was the manufacture and sale of tape recorders and magnetic tape. When Akio Morita (later head of Sony
America) returned from his first trip to the United States that year, he realized that the company needed a name that was recognizable (and pronounceable) outside of Japan. “Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo” was an unwieldy name and had no particular meaning to the rest of the world; its translation, “Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Company,” wasn’t much better, and its three-letter abbreviation (TTK) had already been claimed by the Japanese national telephone company.
The inspiration for the new company name came from a brand of tape TTK had been marketing since 1950:
The name Sony was first used as a trademark on the company’s
Last updated: 1 June 2011
Nathan, John. Sony: The Private Life. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. ISBN 0-39-89327-5 (pp. 73-74).
A Word to Our Loyal Readers
Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.
- David Mikkelson
- Doreen Marchionni
- David Emery
- Bond Huberman
- Jordan Liles
- Alex Kasprak
- Dan Evon
- Dan MacGuill
- Bethania Palma
- Liz Donaldson
- Vinny Green
- Ryan Miller
- Chris Reilly
- Chad Ort
- Elyssa Young
Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.
We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.
Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.