The Life of Nozomu Matsumoto: Founder of Pioneer Corporation

On March 2 in the year 1906, one of the pioneers in the audio-electronic industry was born in Kobe, Japan. His name was Nozomu Matsumoto, the founder of Pioneer Corporation, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of audio and video equipment.

Nozomu Matsumoto
Nozomu Matsumoto (Photo Credit:

Nozumo was the son of Christian missionary. In 1932, he saw an imported electric phonograph with a speaker and was mesmerized by its superiority to any available speaker at the time. He vowed to make one himself. In 1936, he founded the Fukuin Shokai Denki Seisakusho Company which is translated as Gospel Electric Company because he intended its product to help in his missionary work. The following year, the company came out with its first product, A-8 speaker which he branded as ‘Pioneer’.

In 1938, Nozumo moved to Tokyo from his base in Osaka. There he built a small factory to produce speakers. Later, he also manufactured radios. After the war, production really expanded and export was soon promoted. By this time, his wife and sons were all involved in the business.

The company was renamed Pioneer Electronic Corporation in 1961. The following year, it produced its own complete line of stereo sets. After acquiring additional capital from its initial public offering, it embarked on a marketing blitz at home and abroad, establishing distribution centers in strategic areas. Pioneer USA was formed to better manage its most important export market. In the succeeding decades, breakthrough innovations like consumer laser disc and the car CD player were introduced.

Nozomu Matsumoto died in 1988 at the age of 83. In 2016, Pioneer Corporation had revenues of over $3 billion, 80% of which came from the sale of car electronic products.


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