Kids of the ’80s and ’90s are sure to remember the Walkman. The portable media player was first originally released on July 1, 1979 and revolutionized the way people listened to music—it allowed us to listen to tunes on the go. It was created by SONY co-founder Masaru Ibuka, who felt the brand’s existing portable player was too heavy, bulky, and expensive. The first Walkman prototype was built by modifying an old Sony Pressman, a compact tape recorder designed for journalists. Since then, the Walkman became popular worldwide, and as the years went on, its design, specifications, and media formats evolved.
In celebration of Walkman’s 40th anniversary, SONY has opened a retrospective exhibition in Tokyo’s Ginza district. Titled The Day the Music Walked, it’s part of #009 WALKMAN IN THE PARK—a program that focuses on real people who had Walkmans, and the stories of how the device became part of their everyday lives. My Story, My Walkman shares Walkman memories from 40 celebrities, including Japanese musician Ichiro Yamaguchi and ballet dancer Nozomi IIjima. Visitors will even have the chance to listen to songs the celebrities listened to on Walkman models from the respective era.
The exhibition will also feature a Walkman Wall, presenting around 230 versions of the iconic gadget throughout history—from chunky cassette players, to portable CD players, to sleek MP3 players. Which model did you have?
The Day the Music Walked is now open to the public through September 1, 2019. Find out more on the Ginza Sony Park website.