Masao Kurahashi became interested in Totsuko when Michiharu Tajima(*) told him, " I know a unique company where many young talented people are working. They are now developing an interesting machine which can record a person's voice and play it back immediately. This is yet a small and unknown company, but I'm sure it has a bright future. "
(*) Michiharu Tajima is a close friend of Tamon Maeda, and first-chairman of Sony
Kurahashi was working for a company called Yagumo Sangyo that managed the property of the Owari Tokugawa household, descendants of the Tokugawa shogunate. He learned of Totsuko, when he consulted Tajima, a Yagumo Sangyo advisor about a property problem.
At that time, in 1950, Totsuko was very anxious to increase its capital from 3.6 million to 10 million yen. Convinced of Totsuko's potential, Tajima suggested that Kurahashi also invest in Totsuko as well. Kurahashi decided to invest 500,000 yen in Totsuko stock by purchasing 10,000 shares at 50 yen per share. " Since you are going to invest in Totsuko, why don't you go and see with your own eyes what Totsuko is like, " Tajima suggested. So, Kurahashi went to Gotanda to see Ibuka and Morita at their shabby factory.
After his investment was discussed, Kurahashi was shown the G-type tape recorder and other Totsuko products.
Kurahashi was totally preoccupied with the G-type tape recorder he had just seen. " How can Yagumo Sangyo sell that tape recorder? " Kurahashi kept thinking, even after he returned to his office.
Kurahashi visited Totsuko a few more times and asked Ibuka and Morita for rights to sell the tape recorder, but Totsuko was reluctant to do so. Although they had been able to raise the corporate capital, Ibuka and Morita still did not feel secure financially. They were apprehensive about Kurahashi's solvency. Reading their minds, Kurahashi boasted, " The Tokugawa family in Owari has an art museum in Nagoya. Its historical collection handed down over generations includes many national treasures. If I mortgage them, I can readily obtain 100 million or 200 million yen. "
Kurahashi had no intention of doing so. He only sought to ease their doubts in order to secure his bargaining position. " Let our company buy fifty units when they are completed. " Finally, as he wished, Kurahashi purchased fifty tape recorders, costing 120,000 yen each. He wrote a check for 6 million yen and immediately carried the fifty G-type tape recorders to the Tokugawa family warehouse in Mejiro. He was overjoyed.
The next day, Kurahashi set about taking the tape recorders to prospective customers with a letter of introduction from Marquis Tokugawa. As might have been expected, all the names given by the Tokugawa family proved to be quite decent ones. Kurahashi priced the tape recorder at 168,000 yen, but nobody would say, " Too expensive. " On the contrary, they would say in admiration, " I have never seen such an interesting machine before. " But still, nobody would buy it. Kurahashi worked endlessly day after day, but could not sell a single unit.