[opendtv] Re: Japanese Television History

  • From: "Allen Le Roy Limberg" <allimberg@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 23:33:24 -0500

The idea that the Japanese television industry originated with NHK doesn't 
square with what I little I know about the history of TV development in Japan. 
Before WW2 RCA had a Japanese subsidiary Japan Victor. A German-Jewish 
businessman Hans Strauss left Germany in the 30's and took up residence in 
Japan. He was a personal friend of David Sarnoff's. I am not sure whether or 
not he was associated with Japan Victor. After the war Japan Victor made 
overtures to rejoin itself with RCA, but the decision was to make it a separate 
company which became JVC. RCA decided it preferred licensing foreign companies 
rather than attempting to manage foreign subsidiaries. This decision was 
probably arrived at because of the huge investments RCA was making at the time 
in the television and computer businesses. Hans Strauss set up the basic 
network of patent agents RCA used abroad and initiated the licensing programs 
in Japan and in Europe. Radios were the matter of concern just after the war. 
Sony became an early licensee, and a Japanese national Toshiro Sawya worked for 
Sony and later for RCA. He had a good technical background for the day, was 
extremely affable and spoke excellent English. RCA Industry Service Lab had a 
laboratory in Tokyo that offered assistance in monochrome TV and later on in 
color. In the 60's Ed Johnson was the head of the Tokyo lab, and he may still 
live in the Princeton, NJ area. Hans Strauss is probably dead, but the other 
two men would be in their 80's and might still be living. 

Al Limberg

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