Sony Corp. marked Monday the start of a two-month long event in Tokyo celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Walkman, with interactive exhibits showcasing various models of the iconic portable music player.
The highlight of the event, dubbed "#009 Walkman in the Park", is an exhibit called "My Story, My Walkman," which chronicles each year of the hit music player's history with nostalgic stories by 40 creators, artists and other public figures of that generation. Visitors can listen to songs chosen by the celebrity on each of the Walkmans on display.
The event starts from ground level, where a 2.5 meter tall Walkman modeled after the yellow waterproof sports model introduced in 1983 stands, and continues across all four basement floors of Ginza Sony Park in Tokyo's shopping district. Other exhibits include a "Walkman Wall", which displays all 237 models of the Walkman over the years, and a "Custom Walkman" corner featuring Walkman skins designed by artists.
The first Walkman model, which went on sale on July 1, 1979, revolutionized the way people listen to music. As the story goes, the idea for a portable cassette tape player came when Masaru Ibuka, the late Sony co-founder, asked for a convenient way to listen to music while abroad on business trips.
(The first Walkman model)
After its release, the Walkman became firmly entrenched as the device for music listening while on the move, with over 400 million units sold worldwide.
"I want people to enjoy the Walkman as they immerse themselves in nostalgia," Sony Enterprise Co.'s President Daisuke Nagano said in his speech at a pre-opening press event.
The Sony Corp. subsidiary manages Ginza Sony Park, a renovation project for the Sony Building torn down in March 2017. Monday's program marks the ninth large-scale event held in the facility, which will remain open until the fall of 2020 when it will be renovated into a new Sony Building in 2022. Since opening on Aug. 9 last year, the facility has had over 3.45 million visitors as of the end of June, the company said.