Nobutoshi Kihara

Nobutoshi Kihara
Nobutoshi Kihara
Tokyo, Japan
Associated organizations
Fields of study
IEEE David Sarnoff Award


Nobutoshi Kihara was a Senior Managing Director of SONY Corporation, responsible for the development of video and the related image storage technology and equipment.

Mr. Kihara was born on October 14, 1926 in Tokyo. He graduated from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the University College of Science and Engineering of Waseda University in Tokyo in 1947. Japan was then amid the chaotic disorder of post World War II, and he was also involved in a personal financial crisis of his own. He entered SONY Corporation the same year and began his career there as a design engineer under the personal guidance of Mr. Masaru Ibuka, founder of SONY Corporation.

Although he had majored in mechanical engineering at school, he endeavored on his own to study electrical engineering, and after time and experience he grew to be a master of both branches of the technology. From his early days in SONY to date, he successfully yielded many initiative developments in the world's consumer and related electronics such as the early development of the transistor radio, transistorizing broadcast VTR, transistor TV, home VTR, first successful home VCR, magnetic still video camera, etc. He is a very gifted inventor and design engineer. More than 320 domestic patents have been issued for his original inventions, plus 180 pending and 270 overseas patents issued throughout the world including 60 U.S.P.'s. Many of them are basic and important for the 'Helical-scan' VTR systems and are actually at work. Following are only a few examples: (U.S.P. 3,215,772) = VTR recording format system with adjacent track 'H'-alignment. The inter-track guard-band is dispensed with, freed from inter-track cross-talk, tape consumption diminished, and the slow-motion and the still reproductions accomplished; (U.S.P. 3,740,495) = Original mechanism for automatic loading and unloading of videocassette tape. Basic technology for 'U-matic' and 'B-max' VCRS; (U.S.P. 3,188,385) = Basic technology 'l-1/2 Head' VTR. Used in SMPTE Type 'C'-Format VTR; (U.S.P. 3,175,034) =A simple but unique drum-servo system. These were very extensively used in home and educational VTRs.

He was a Senior Member of the Institute, and a Member of the Institute of TV Engineers of Japan.

He has been honored with several national and international awards, e.g., Nikkan Kogyo Shinbun Award in 1965; Award of Engineering Merit by Minister of Science & Technology Japan in 1967; Eduard Rhein Prize (West Germany) in 1978; First Bearer of Eduard Rhein Memorial Ring, Do.; Outstanding Papers Award, IEEE-CE Gp., in 1977.

Mr. Kihara lived in Tokyo with his wife Teiko, two sons Nobuhiro and Nobuyuki, and a daughter Tomomi.

He enjoyed playing golf, and was known as a frequent winner of the SONY 'Ibuka-Cup.' He also played electronic organ with his associates.

Further Reading

Nobutoshi Kihara Oral History