From New World Encyclopedia
Toshiba Corporation
Toshiba logo
Type Corporation TYO: 6502, (LSE: TOS)
Founded 1939 (merger)
Headquarters Tokyo, Japan
Key people Hisashige Tanaka, Founder

Products Digital products, digital telephony, semiconductors, electronic devices & components, lighting products, home appliances, nuclear reactors, transportation equipment
Revenue 7,668.1 billion Yen ($76.68 billion) (Fiscal year ended March 31, 2008)[1]
Net income 127.4 billion Yen ($1.274 billion) (Fiscal year ended March 31, 2008)
Employees 190,708 (2007)

Slogan Leading Innovation[2]
Website Toshiba Worldwide

Toshiba Corporation (株式会社東芝, Kabushiki-gaisha Tōshiba) (TYO: 6502) is a multinational conglomerate manufacturing company, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The company's businesses manufacture consumer electronics, including television and audio products, home appliances, and lighting products. Toshiba also produces plants and equipment for the generation of electric power, transportation equipment, industrial motors, and industrial electronics and communications equipment. Toshiba-made semiconductors are among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders.

Toshiba was formed in 1939, by the merger of Toshiba of Shibaura Seisakusho and Tokyo Denki, and is part of the Mitsui keiretsu (conglomerate). Toshiba's motto, "Leading Innovation," is reflected in its group-wide innovation program, called "i cube:" Innovation in development, innovation in manufacturing, and innovation in sales, intended to give Toshiba employees a sense of urgency and encourage them to explore new business processes. Toshiba has been responsible for a number of Japanese firsts, including radar (1942), the TAC digital computer (1954), transistor television and microwave oven (1959), color video phone (1971), Japanese word processor (1978), MRI system (1982), laptop personal computer (1986), NAND EEPROM (1991), DVD (1995), the Libretto sub-notebook personal computer (1996), and HD DVD (2005; now defunct).

Toshiba has applied the concept of innovation to environmental issues. It is a leader among manufacturers who are striving to establish an environmentally safe and sustainable manufacturing model. In 2008, Toshiba tied for first place in Greenpeace’s seventh edition of its Guide to Greener Electronics.


Toshiba Corporation's headquarters (center) in Hamamatsucho, Tokyo.

Toshiba was founded by the merging of two companies in 1939, "Shibaura Seisakusho" and "Tokyo Denki."

Shibaura Seisakusho had been founded in 1875 as "Tanaka Seizosho" (Tanaka Engineering Works) by Hisashige Tanaka (1799–1881), known from his youth for inventions that included mechanical dolls and a perpetual clock. The original company manufactured high-powered steam engines for ocean-going ships and machine tools. In 1904, its name was changed to "Shibaura Seisakusho" (Shibaura Engineering Works). It was taken over by the Mitsui business combine (zaibatsu), and during the early twentieth century, it became one of Japan's largest manufacturers of heavy electrical apparatus.[3] Tanaka Seizosho was Japan's first manufacturer of telegraph equipment.

Tokyo Denki was established in 1890, as Hakunetsusha & Co., Ltd., and, with Mitsui financing, began manufacturing bamboo-filament electric light bulbs. It was Japan's first producer of incandescent electric lamps. It diversified into the manufacture of other consumer products and, in 1899, was renamed Tokyo Denki (Tokyo Electric Company).

Both of these companies had early affiliations with the American General Electric Company (GE). In 1907, GE obtained an interest in Tokyo Electric, in exchange for assistance with technology to mass-produce Mazda electric lamps; and in 1909, GE established a similar arrangement with Shibaura Seisakusho. GE is still a major shareholder in Toshiba.

In 1939, Shibaura Seisakusho and Tokyo Denki merged to create a new company called "Tokyo Shibaura Denki" (浦電気). It was soon nicknamed Toshiba, but it wasn't until 1978 that the company was officially renamed Toshiba Corporation.

When the zaibatsu were dissolved after World War II, Toshiba separated from the Mitsui Group zaibatsu. Toshiba became re-affiliated with the Mitsui keiretsu (a set of companies with interlocking business relationships and shareholdings), in 1973, and still has preferential arrangements with Mitsui Bank and the other members of the keiretsu.

The group expanded rapidly, both through internal growth and by acquisitions, buying heavy engineering and primary industry firms in the 1940s and 1950s, and, beginning in the 1970s, spinning off subsidiaries. Groups created include Toshiba EMI (1960), Toshiba International Corporation (1970s), Toshiba Electrical Equipment (1974), Toshiba Chemical (1974), Toshiba Lighting and Technology (1989), Toshiba America Information Systems (1989), and Toshiba Carrier Corporation (1999).

Toshiba was responsible for a number of Japanese firsts, including radar (1942), the TAC digital computer (1954), transistor television and microwave oven (1959), color video phone (1971), Japanese word processor (1978), MRI system (1982), laptop personal computer (1986), NAND EEPROM (1991), DVD (1995), the Libretto sub-notebook personal computer (1996), and HD DVD (2005).

Toshiba-Kongsberg scandal

In 1987, Toshiba Machine, a subsidiary of Toshiba, was accused of illegally selling CNC milling machines, used to produce ultra-quiet submarine propellers, to the Soviet Union in violation of the "CoCom" agreement, an international embargo on Western exports to Eastern Bloc countries. The scandal involved a subsidiary of Toshiba and the Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (Kongsberg Vaapenfabrikk). The incident strained relations between the United States and Japan, and resulted in the arrest and prosecution of two senior executives, as well as the imposition of economic sanctions on the company by both countries.[4]

TV and video products

In 2001, Toshiba signed a contract with Orion Electric, one of the world's largest OEM (original equipment manufacturer) makers and suppliers of consumer video electronics, to manufacture and supply finished consumer TV and video products for Toshiba, to meet the increasing demand for the North American market.

In December 2004, Toshiba quietly announced it would discontinue manufacturing traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions. In 2006, Toshiba terminated production of plasma TVs. Toshiba quickly switched to Orion as the supplier and maker of Toshiba-branded CRT-based TVs and plasma TVs. However, to ensure its future competitiveness in the flat-panel digital television and display market, Toshiba has made a considerable investment in a new kind of display technology called Surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED).

In late 2007, Toshiba's logo replaced the former Discover Card logo on one of the screens atop One Times Square in New York City. It displays the iconic New Year's countdown on its screen, as well as messages, greetings, and advertisements for the company.

Acquisition of Westinghouse

In July 2005, BNFL confirmed it planned to sell Westinghouse Electric Company, then estimated to be worth $1.8bn (£1bn).[5] The opportunity attracted interest from several companies including Toshiba, General Electric, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and when the Financial Times reported on January 23, 2006, that Toshiba had won the bid, it valued the company's offer at $5bn (£2.8bn). Many industry experts questioned the wisdom of selling one of the world's largest producers of nuclear reactors shortly before the market for nuclear power is expected to grow substantially (China, the United States, and the United Kingdom are all expected to invest heavily in nuclear power).[6] The acquisition of Westinghouse for $5.4bn was completed on October 17, 2006, with Toshiba obtaining a 77 percent share, partners The Shaw Group a 20 percent share, and Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. a 3 percent share.


During the 1980s, Toshiba Semiconductors was one of the two largest semiconductor companies (along with NEC). From the 1990s until the present, Toshiba Semiconductors has almost always been among the top five producers of semiconductors; in 2007, Toshiba Semiconductors was number three, behind Intel and Samsung.

Nuclear energy

In March 2008, Toshiba announced that it had launched the Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corporation. The primary mission of the company is marketing and promoting advanced boiling water nuclear power plants and providing support for related services.

Toshiba is believed to be involved (together with the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry) in the preparation of the small (30MW) nuclear plant Toshiba 4S for installation at Galena, Alaska,[7], and even smaller (200KW) plants for Japan and Europe.[8]

Toshiba America, Inc.

Toshiba America, Inc. (TAI), holding company for one of the nation's leading groups of high technology companies, employs a combined total of approximately 8,000 in the U.S. The U.S.-based companies under TAI's umbrella conduct research and development, manufacture and market a widely diversified range of modern electronics. The U.S.-based Toshiba operating companies and some of their chief products are: Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (flash memory, LCD panels, microprocessors); Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. (notebook computers, storage devices, imaging systems, telecommunication systems); Toshiba International Corporation (power generation equipment, industrial electronic equipment); Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. (CT, ultrasound, and MRI); Toshiba America Consumer Products, LLC (HDTVs, HD DVD, digital home theater products).[9]

Partnership with UPS

In response to complaints from customers who felt that repairs for broken laptops and computers were taking too long, Toshiba partnered with the United Parcel Service (UPS) to design a more efficient repair process. Customers are told to drop off their machines at a UPS Store, where they are shipped to a Toshiba-run repair facility, which repairs the laptops and sends them back to the customer.[10]


On February 19, 2008, Toshiba announced that it would drop its format in the HD DVD "war" with Sony and Pioneer-backed Blu-ray Disc devices.[11] Following a review of its business, Toshiba determined to stop production of HD DVD players and recorders, since major U.S. film studios backed the Blu-ray format, developed by Sony and its partners. Toshiba will continue to provide technical support to the estimated one million people worldwide who own HD DVD players and recorders.

Toshiba's president has stated that the company has no intention of manufacturing Blu-ray disc players, and that Toshiba will instead "think about its role in online video-downloading more seriously." Toshiba will also maintain relations with the companies that collaborated to build up the HD DVD market, including Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Animation, and major Japanese and European content providers, as well as leaders in the IT industry, including Microsoft, Intel, and Hewlitt-Packard.

Environmental record

In 2008, Toshiba tied for first place in Greenpeace’s seventh edition of its Guide to Greener Electronics.[12] Greenpeace is an environmental protection organization that ranks electronics companies based on their chemical use and recycling programs.[12] Toshiba received 7.7 points out of ten points possible, showing its improvement in recycling and chemical use since the last edition when it was only ranked number six.[12] Toshiba focused on improving its score in Individual Producer Responsibility (IPR), which measures how efficiently a company deals with e-waste, the waste created when its products are discarded by consumers.[13] The improper disposal of e-waste, such as computers, DVD players, and cell phones, negatively affects the environment by releasing toxic materials, such as lead and mercury, into soil and water, which later affects human, animal, and vegetation health.[14]

In October 2007, Toshiba signed a contract with China’s Tsinghua University to form a research facility focusing on energy conservation and the environment. The new Toshiba Energy and Environment Research Center, where 40 students from the university will research electric power equipment and new technologies that will help stop the global warming process, is located in Beijing. Through this partnership, Toshiba hopes to develop products that will better protect the environment and save energy in China by reducing pollution from automobiles and creating power sources that do not negatively affect the environment.[15]

In-house companies

  • Digital Products Group
  • Mobile Communications Company
  • Digital Media Network Company
  • Personal Computer & Network Company
  • Electronic Devices & Components Group
  • Semiconductor Company
  • Display Devices & Components Control Center
  • Infrastructure Systems Group
  • Toshiba Power Systems Company
  • Toshiba Industrial Systems Company
  • Social Infrastructure Systems Company[16]


  1. Toshiba Corporation, Toshiba Corporation Earnings Release FY2007.
  2. Toshiba, Toshiba:Worldwide Top Page. Retrieved June 23, 2008
  3. Toshiba, About Toshiba: History. Retrieved June 23, 2008.
  4. Roderick Seeman, “Toshiba Case—CoCom—Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Revision,” The Japan Lawletter (April 1987).
  5. BBC, BNFL plans to sell Westinghouse. Retrieved August 13, 2008.
  6. BBC News, BNFL to sell U.S. power plant arm. Retrieved August 13, 2008.
  7. Burns and Roe, The Galena Project Technical Publications. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
  8. Next Energy, Toshiba Builds 100x Smaller Micro Nuclear Reactor. Retrieved June 23, 2008
  9. Toshiba America, Toshiba in the United States.
  10. CNN, The Next Delivery? Computer Repairs by UPS. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
  11. Toshiba, Announces Discontinuation of HD DVD Businesses.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Heise Zeitschriften Verlag News, Guide to Greener Electronics. Retrieved June 23, 2008.
  13. PC World, Recycling.
  14. The Journal, E-waste event sees more people discarding TVs. Retrieved June 23, 2008.
  15. Japan’s Corporate Network, Toshiba, China Univ. to Set Up Joint Research Center. Retrieved June 23, 2008.
  16. About Toshiba, About Toshiba: Management Structure. Retrieved June 23, 2008.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Brien, Marc. Toshiba Under Siege: History and Analysis of the Toshiba Machine Scandal. Toronto: Domicity, 1987.
  • Cutts, Robert L. Toshiba: Defining a New Tomorrow. London: Penguin, 2002. ISBN 9780713996364.
  • "Japan: Rebooting Toshiba." Business Week (2004):32-33.
  • Kawanishi, Hirosuke. The Human Face of Industrial Conflict in Post-War Japan. London: Kegan Paul International, 1999.
  • Kleiner, K. "Toshiba goes nuclear." Nature. 440(7080) (2006).

External links

All links retrieved May 1, 2023.


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