Special Exhibition, Konosuke Matsushita Museum: Konosuke Matsushita—Three Works That Convey Passion

Konosuke Matsushita Museum Konosuke Matsushita—Three Works That Convey Passion: Part 2: Konosuke's Devotion to A Better Life

Dates: Monday, August 26 to Saturday, October 5, 2019

In the early 1950s, riding a wave of postwar recovery, Japan entered a golden age of home appliances. Matsushita Electric at the time was also releasing, one after the next, new, large products, including washing machines, black and white televisions, and refrigerators. These were a dream for every household, and were known as the Three Luxury Appliances. In 1956, when an economic white paper of the time had declared an end to the postwar period, Konosuke Matsushita turned his hand to writing the Matsushita Electric Five-Year Plan. As business was rapidly expanding, he worked to strengthen and expand the company's home appliance sales network, while investing enormous effort in consumer outreach. In this second part, after the arrival of the Three Luxury Appliances, we look back at Konosuke's exerted efforts to communicate with consumers and expand the use of appliances in the home.

Promotions from the company's founding through to the postwar recovery period

Immediately after founding the company, Konosuke sought out activities to aggressively plan more communication with consumers and affiliated retail stores. In November 1927, the company launched Matsushita Electric Monthly to provide information to affiliated retail stores. Then, in 1935, the company opened its first showroom, the National Electric House, in Osaka's Shinsaibashi district. The first floor was dedicated to displays and sales, the second was a luxury coffee shop, and the third was offices and an employee dormitory. Although communication activities were unavoidably interrupted by war, after making it through the postwar confusions, all gradually restarted.

Matsushita Electric achieves goals of Five-Year Business Plan!

In the latter half of 1955, buoyed by the economic boom of that period, the actual economic growth rate reached 8.8%. In 1956, Konosuke announced the Matsushita Electric Five-Year Business Plan to motivate all employees to achieve sales increase. "This plan will most certainly be realized, even if there are troubles or some economic downturns along the way. This is achievable because it is something desired by consumers. We have an invisible contract with the public." In 1955, the Yaesuguchi National Showroom opened at the front entrance of Tokyo Station. It was newly constructed to increase admiration for and awareness of home appliances, and to entice people to a brighter, more enjoyable home life. The plan was nearly complete in just four years.

A specially designed television car for nationwide traveling exhibitions!

In 1953, the National Television Car began its series of traveling exhibitions. A specially organized team toured the country with the television car in the lead, and large caravans with all products on board in tow. With help from local distributors and affiliated retail stores, venues were created in public halls and schools throughout Japan, hosting exhibits of appliances. As far as the people in those local markets were concerned, it was a rare and novel event that deepened their awareness of home appliances, and was met with favorable reviews.

Timeless thoughts

The dissemination of home appliances began in the early 1950s. Of the numerous anecdotes from affiliated retailers, who were key to the spread, one regarding Konosuke's 30 Strategic Business Principles stands out. Despite being first announced by Konosuke in 1936, all are still relevant today. Affiliated retailers continue to honor the timeless business principles. Reflecting Konosuke's unwavering customer-first policy, the principles have been passed down through to today.