Shigenori (Shig) Matsushita (松下重悳): Upon graduating from the Department of Electrical Engineering (with Major in Communications) of UTokyo in March 1959, he joined Toshiba Corporation in April 1959 where he designed basic transistor circuits for computers. He was a chief design engineer for a patch-board programmed computer and a magnetic drum internal-program computer. In 1962 he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and studied at the University of Illinois, where he worked as an assistant to develop a pattern recognition computer, ILLIAC III, in the Digital Computer Laboratory, and received his MS degree in August 1963.
In 1961, a joint research project with the then Assistant Professor Hiroshi Hagiwara of Kyoto University began and the first full-scale microprogrammed computer, KT-P, was completed. This work was presented at the IFIP Congress in 1962 and attracted attention for its variable microprograms, which were implemented by patch-boards and punched hole cards covering photo-transistors. Based on this technology, the development of a high-speed microprogrammed computer, TOSBAC-3400, for commercialization was initiated, for which he served as the chief design engineer. This computer was widely used by computer centers of domestic universities, primarily for FORTRAN calculations and by camera manufacturers for their lens designs.
Toshiba became affiliated with the Computer Division of General Electric, which was then annexed into Honeywell Information Systems (HIS). As a result, HIS became affiliated with both Toshiba and NEC. Mr. Matsushita led a joint HIS-Toshiba project to develop a high-speed computer and its technology , by dispatching several dozens of Toshiba engineers to HIS.
While holding these technical and managerial responsibilities for the company, he studied by himself, in his private hours, to construct a crosstalk theory for digital signals, and received his Doctor of Engineering degree from UTokyo in October 1974.
In 1978, Toshiba transferred its large-scale general-purpose computer business to a joint company with NEC, named “NEC-Toshiba Information Systems,” where he was responsible for business planning, negotiation and contracts. At the same time, Toshiba recognized a new business opportunity in “Office Automation” or “OA”, which could be realized by integrating small-scale computers, communications and business machines. Dr. Matsushita planned, promoted and evangelized the OA business. Later, he was named Associate General Manager of Technology for these businesses, being responsible for administration of these technologies. When the computer group and the control systems group were merged, he became responsible for the technology operations. In 1985 he decided the company’s strategy for an IBM-compatible laptop personal computer, T-1100.
When a new breed of companies emerged overseas, he promoted alliances with overseas companies, including Toshiba’s OEM contract with Sun Microsystems, a joint company with Computer-Vision, a joint company with Olivetti, and a sales contract with Netscape. The contracts with Sun Microsystems and Netscape were the first such contracts done by any Japanese company.
From 1993-96 Dr. Matsushita was the Executive Vice President of Toshiba Information Systems and led a switchover from the custom-made COBOL software development business to the online, packaged or personal computer software business. From 1996-2001, he was President of the Japanese subsidiary of an American start-up company, Wink Communications, whose business was to promote and market an interactive television system.
From 2002-5 he was fully engaged in the establishment and operation of a venture capital firm in Tokyo. Since 2002 to the present , he has been also serving as a director of the Board of a start-up company, DDS Inc., which specializes in fingerprint recognition. Dr. Matsushita helped DDS accomplish its IPO in Tokyo. From 2005 through 2011, he was also on the Board of Directors of an Internet start-up company, Luke 19 Inc., which was acquired by another Internet company.
From 2002 to 2014, he was a visiting professor of the University of Chubu, Nagoya, giving lectures on globalization of economy and on IT applications to a summer business school class for businessmen.
Dr. Matsushita is a member of the Japanese Computer Pioneers elected by the IPSJ (Information Processing Society of Japan) Computer Museum. http://museum.ipsj.or.jp/en/pioneer/index.html