On the very same spot that Sony first launched its iconic Walkman 40 years ago, the company has unveiled an exuberant anniversary exhibition celebrating the music player. In Tokyo’s Ginza district, Ginza Sony Park stands where Sony HQ once did, and is currently home to the show Walkman in the Park, displaying 230 versions of the Walkman throughout history, as well as custom editions by artists and an interactive exploration of how the gadget affected people’s experience of music.
Coined “The Day the Music Walked” by Sony, 1 July 1979 saw the inaugural release of the Walkman TPS-L2, pioneering technology that allowed people, for the first time, to listen to music on the go. At a time when every moment of our day can be accompanied by our own personal soundtrack, the show reminds us of a time when this was a novelty. Sony has asked 40 celebrities and creatives alike to reminisce on how the invention impacted their everyday lives.
My Story, My Walkman shares the memories of musician Ichiro Yamaguchi of the band Sakanaction, actor Tanaka, and ballet dancer Nozomi IIjima, among others, spanning from 1979 until the present. Visitors will be able to hear the songs they used to listen to, on the specific Walkman devices from their respective era.
Sony has created a dedicated website to celebrate the anniversary where you can see films charting the Walkman’s history, and which will soon feature interviews with musicians, producers and others discussing the technology’s importance to the music industry. The company has also produced nine limited-edition T-shirts for the exhibition.
This isn’t the first time Sony has looked into the annals of its corporate history and allowed itself a moment of nostalgia. In 2017, the brand also harked back to its history with the return of Aibo the Robodog.
Walkman in the Park runs until 1 September 2019 at Ginza Sony Park, Tokyo.