The company, called the Victor Company of Japan (later shortened to JVC), was founded in 1927 and was originally the Japanese division of the American Victor Talking Machine Company. JVC’s first products were radio components and electron beam tubes. The company was managed by the American manager Ben Gardner, the products were exported to the USA, which was beneficial both to the Americans, who thus reduced costs, and to the Japanese side, which was able to offer its employees fairly high wages, which led to the creation of a team of the most qualified specialists.


Despite the economic reasons for cooperation, the fusion of the typically American (using innovative solutions to take a leading position in the market with its emphasis on healthy competition and individualism) and Japanese (nepotism, hard work for a common goal) approaches has yielded excellent results – for the first time Four years into its existence, JVC becomes a leader in the production of turntables. JVC quickly occupied its niche – the production of consumer audio equipment and work in related areas. In 1930, production facilities were built in Yokohama, and the company began producing high-quality turntables and records under the “His Master’s Voice” label on the labels. By the way, this label with a dog meticulously studying the sound of a gramophone is still perceived by music lovers as a symbol of the highest quality products.

Kenjiro Takayanagi

Oddly enough, on the Japanese market there were also many people willing to purchase the company’s products, so after a short time the profits from sales of the produced audio “peripherals” turned out to be simply fabulous. And no wonder, because since the beginning of the 30s, JVC was the only company providing the entire Japanese market with records. From that moment, the rapid development of JVC began – already in 1932 a line for the production of radio receivers was launched, and in 1937 a new model of a superheterodyne receiver was developed. During these years, American influence over JVC weakened so much that the company became almost completely independent.  Despite the success of the radios, the company’s engineers dreamed of implementing larger projects, so for many years JVC followed with admiration the work of the talented inventor and engineer Kenjiro Takayanagi, a professor at Hamamatsu Technical College and the “father” of Japanese television.

JVC STL-1S (1958) 

Kenjiro Takayanagi grew up as a typical C student, not having a very clear idea of ​​his future. After school, without much hesitation, I entered the Tokyo Higher Technical School, where, however, I found myself in good hands. And although his attitude towards learning has not changed much since his school days, teacher Nakamura hammered into him: “Even the dumbest student can benefit his nation and become a decent engineer if he persistently pursues his goal for three, ten or even twenty years.” . And Kenjiro Takayanagi decided to persistently pursue his goal. And since he was by no means the dumbest student, the results were not slow to appear. A year after graduating from university, Takayanagi began to be interested in the problem of transmitting not only voice, but also images at a distance. He called this to himself “wireless electric vision.” One fine day, Takayanagi accidentally learned that European and American specialists were already working on the same problem. And wireless electric vision already exists and is called television. Takayanagi was surprised by this, but not discouraged: he realized that he was in the flow and decided to continue his research.

JVC DAS 900 (1978)

The first tangible results appeared in 1926 – Takayanagi managed to transmit at a distance the image of the Japanese character “I”, consisting of forty lines. The image was created on a Brown tube (a gas-filled device with a cold cathode, created in 1897 by the German physicist K.F. Braun) – the prototype of the modern picture tube. Takayanagi’s activities began to attract interest from several large Japanese companies. In 1935, Takyanagi developed an all-electronic model of a television system, and was immediately hired by the national broadcasting company NHK. In collaboration with this company and personally with Takayanagi, JVC engineers created the first television in 1939. There were real prospects for further success in the field of television. But the music did not play for long, including that played on JVC equipment. The Second World War began, and the activities of all Japanese companies were ordered to be reoriented, as we would now say, to the defense industry. Moreover, it was under the control of the military, because these were serious times. Therefore, we had to switch to the production of components for radars, walkie-talkies and equipment for military radio communications. Competitors did the same thing.

JVC RC M90 (1981)

But the worst thing for the company was the American bombing, which destroyed the production complex in Yokohama. Only the gate and the “His Master’s Voice” dog symbol, from which JVC’s success began, survived. And here the Japanese component prevailed – unity and hard work, which allowed the company to continue to exist despite the losses; Almost all employees returned to their old jobs and began to rebuild the company from ruins. One of the most difficult periods for the company was the post-war period. The demand for radio equipment, which skyrocketed with the outbreak of hostilities against China, disappeared completely by the end of the war. Japan was going through a very difficult crisis – defeat in the war made the country economically and politically dependent on the United States, and the population was starving. The company’s warehouses were overcrowded, sales stopped, and there was nothing to pay employees. Many Japanese companies managed to get out of this dangerous situation, but JVC managed to be one of the first. It took the company a little over a year to revive production and not only return His Master’s Voice records to the market, but also introduce a new development: a five-tube all-wave receiver.

JVC HR 3300U (1977)

In 1946, he and his team moved to JVC, where he was appointed general manager of television equipment. And this decision turned out to be correct – the once careless student, who “rose” to the rank of professor, established the main directions of JVC’s work for several years to come. Takayanagi’s experiments in the development of television broadcasting technologies did not pass without a trace: it was under his leadership that Japan’s first color television was created in 1958. JVC paid attention not only to the development of television – research in the field of sound recording and playback also made it possible to make a number of important discoveries – in 1953, JVC LP (long-playing) records appeared, and the development of audio technology allowed the company to release the first full-fledged stereo system by 1957.


Around this time, JVC, propelled forward by Takayanagi’s team, began pursuing another of the professor’s dreams. He saw television as independent from television networks and transmitting stations. By this time, the dream had taken real shape: many companies were already working on a system for recording video images on magnetic tape. TVs for the general public turned out to be a passed stage for JVC: now the competitive race was carried out on the subject of VCRs. The American company AmpexAmpex VTR demonstrated its first VCR in 1956 and aroused a fierce desire among Japanese companies to create their own device. So fierce that it helped unite longtime rivals in the Japanese market. Thus began the collaboration between Matsushita, Toshiba and JVC. In fact, the cooperation was mutually beneficial: JVC received talented managers, additional capital and stability, and Matsushita received the latest technology.

JVC AX Z1010 (1990) 

The merger led to some progress in video recording. A group of engineers proposed a fundamentally new recording system – a two-head recording system with inclined tracks (while the Ampex VCR used four-head recording technology with vertical tracks). The world’s first two-head video recorder, which was produced in 1959 as a result of many years of development, became a real worldwide bestseller, since, thanks to its small size and reliability, it could be successfully used in home life. In addition, a large-scale advertising campaign made the JVC brand famous throughout the world, allowing the company’s products to be sold in Europe, China, and America. In the mid-60s, the alliance of Sony, JVC and Matsushita proposed another video recording format – Uformat, which became the main one for the next decade. The format included placing the tape in a special cassette. It was this circumstance that led to the emergence of the new term “Video cassette recorder” (VCR).

Shizuo Takano.jpg
Shizuo Takano

However, the prosperity of the company is associated with the name of another engineer – Shizuo Takano. Takano was born in 1923 in Yokohama. After graduating from Hamamatsu Technical College in 1943 with a degree in precision mechanics, he was drafted into the navy as an engineer. After the end of the war, in 1946 he joined the JVC company, where he first worked on film projectors. In 1955, research into magnetic video recording began in Japan, and 8 years later the first professional video recorder was created. In 1970, Takano was appointed head of the video division, which assembled and distributed reel-to-reel video recorders. Since customers returned every second device due to frequent breakdowns, this department was commercially unprofitable and was threatened with liquidation. The situation could only be saved by the creation of a reliable video recorder accessible to the mass consumer.  To achieve success in this direction, as every Japanese will tell you, it was necessary to carefully study the world experience of producing similar products abroad and develop a strategy for victory, because the creation of a household VCR would allow us to capture a huge market, then estimated at 500 billion yen. The leader in the fight for this market in Japan was Sony, which, using the latest technological advances, sought to become a leader in the world. Her success was widely known, and at that time Sony was the most desirable place to work for engineering graduates.

JVC SR W7U  (1997)

And JVC, which was experiencing a management crisis in 1972, cut jobs. It was decided to close the household video equipment business, suspend the development of new types of products and engage in the sale and modernization of existing equipment for enterprises. As a result, 50 specialists were transferred to Takano’s department, who, seeing them, said with enthusiasm: “I got a treasure that I couldn’t even dream of.” There was good reason for this, since they were all students of Takayanagi. In April 1972, Takano created a small group, and a duel began in which young specialists, considered “superfluous” people in the company, showed willpower and perseverance. Development was carried out in secret, and Takano believed that it would take more than three years.  In December 1974, Sony’s success in developing the Beta home video recorder became known. Its dimensions were much smaller than its reel-to-reel counterparts, with high image quality and recording time of an hour. But this event only spurred on Takano and his group. In August 1975, three months after Beta began selling the equipment, they completed a prototype VHS video recorder that was 5 kg lighter! At the final stage, work on the prototype was carried out day and night.

JVC HM DR10000 (1998)

To achieve recognition of the new format, allies were needed, and Takano took an unprecedented step. He decided to offer a prototype VCR without any conditions to other companies. “It is important to spread the VHS standard in society! JVC alone cannot do this,” was Takano’s motto at that time. On September 3, 1975, members of the working group in their laboratory demonstrated an experimental VHS video recorder to Konosuke Matsushita, president of the Matsushita company. The reaction was clear: “Beta is a product for which you can give a hundred points, and VHS deserves all 150!” Takano then established contact with Japan’s largest manufacturer of household electrical appliances, Hitachi. By that time, she had abandoned her own VCR development and was going to release Beta. Hitachi was surprised by Takano’s words that they were being leased, without any conditions, a prototype product that was still secret. “This was unthinkable for a society in which there was such intense competition around household electrical appliances. Takano believed us and lent us the equipment. This determined our attitude towards the people from JVC. We thought, great, we can work together with them,” wrote Anji Mijamoto, head of Hitachi’s video equipment department, in his diary.

JVC HR DVS1 (1999)

Takano began to bypass other large manufacturing companies. He called for the creation of an intercompany project group to distribute VHS video equipment. All this played a decisive role in the upcoming victory of VHS over VCRs of competing formats. In 1983, Takano became the chief managing director of JVC and was given the title “Mr. VHS”. And in 1986, 10 years after the introduction of VHS video equipment, Shizuo Takano became vice president of JVC. In 1966, JVC released SEA graphic equalizers, and in 1970, four-channel CD-4 recording technology was developed. A year later, 3/4″ U format video recorders appeared on sale, and in 1973, the world’s first record player with a quartz servo motor was introduced.

JVC GR C1 (1984)

The company was doing well for a whole decade, JVC was expanding – both physically and in terms of its interests. In the 80s, the “American theme” sounded again: JVC, having parted ways with American capital and management even before the outbreak of World War II, again turned its sights overseas, but in order to create its own subsidiary in Los Angeles. The company’s sphere of interests also expanded: JVC rushed to the professional audio and video equipment market. By the eighties, JVC had become one of the largest multinational corporations producing audio and video equipment. The company’s branches opened all over the world, and joint developments were carried out with European manufacturers. In the world market, JVC has become known as a manufacturer of high-quality and inexpensive video recorders, audio centers, video cassettes and televisions. The latest technologies and inventions were used for production, which were in many ways ahead of other similar developments. Developed PCM audio processors, Super-A amplification circuits, Dolby-C noise reduction systems and digital audio processing systems have allowed JVC to secure its position on the world stage for a long time.

JVC GR C7 (1986) 

The years 1978-1979 were marked by the appearance of the world’s first cassette deck (compatible with Type IV – Metal tape), the world’s first portable VHS system, the Multiplex television reception system, the PCM audio processor, the DAS-900 digital system (Digital Audio Mastering System) , the world’s first 4-head SP/EP VHS VCR. In 1980, the company developed Super-A amplification circuits. In 1982, he participated in the development of the Dolby-C noise reduction system, and also developed the world’s smallest video recorder (VHS-C standard). VHS-C and HG (High Grade) VHS cassettes are available for sale. JVC developed Dynamic Super A amplification systems and Hi-Fi VHS systems in 1983, and launched compact camcorders. Over the next five years, the company produces two-cassette decks with auto-reverse, CDs and players for them, films in VHS format, personal cassette players with fully logical control and auto-reverse, the HQ (High Quality) VHS system, DAT tape recorders, decks and films in S-VHS format.

In 1987, JVC built a complex of state-of-the-art laboratories in the city of Kurihana. The discoveries made within its walls formed the basis for the further prosperity of the company. In 1990, the leadership of the company was taken over by the talented businessman Takuro Bojo, who determined the modern profile of the company – digital technologies in audio and video equipment. “Bring music and images to people” – this is how the company’s mission was formulated by its new president. JVC becomes a well-known manufacturer of professional audio and video recording equipment. The company’s developments for home use, such as the 1995 GR-DV1 digital video camera, are highly reliable and compact. In the same 1990, the CD+G Karaoke cassette recorder appeared on the market and in the same year the development of the S-VHS digital audio system was underway. In 1992, the Digital Vision karaoke system was released, and a year later – in 1993 – the ILA projector was developed; W-VHS recording format for HDTV. In 1997, JVC entered the US digital broadcast market and announced the release of the HM-DSR100 digital satellite tuner-recorder, introducing revolutionary digital stream recording technology. Before 2000, Dynamic Drum, Super VHS ET, and Digital-S format systems were also developed.

jvc boomblaster.jpg
JVC BoomBlaster (2001)

In 2009, JVC was acquired by the Japanese company Kenwood, which specializes in the production of car audio equipment and radios. In 2011, JVC and Kenwood merged their sales operations and the company became JVC KENWOOD Corporation. These days, JVC specializes in home theater projectors, headphones, car radios and video cameras. Over its more than 80-year history, JVC has become a symbol of the highest quality consumer and professional technology. The brand is famous all over the world, the popularity of JVC equipment, recognition of its quality and reliability – all this is the result of huge investments in scientific research and the innovative policy of the company’s management. Every year the company presents dozens of inventions that have yet to enter our everyday life. Having celebrated its eightieth anniversary in 2007, JVC remains one of the most modern companies in the 21st century. Highlights in the history of JVC 1930 – production of records and turntables 1932 – production of radios began 1939 – Japan’s first television was released 1953 – Japan’s first stereo long-playing records (LP) were released 1954 – Japan’s first ultra-long-playing records were released ( EP) 1956 – development of a stereo recording system for 45/45 records was completed 1957 – Japan’s first electric organ was released 1958 – Japan’s first stereo record player 45/45 was released – STL-1S 1960 – Japan’s first color TV 21CT- went on sale 11B 1963 – The world’s first 2-head slant-reading VCR, the KV-200, went on sale 1966 – The SEA graphic equalizer was invented 1970 – The development of four-channel CD-4 recording technology was completed 1971 – The 3/4″ U format VCR was released 1973 – the world’s first record player with a quartz servo motor went on sale 1974 – the world’s first portable color video recorder rolled off the assembly line 1976 – the development of the VHS video recording standard was completed, the first household video recorder supporting this technology was released – HR-3300; the VHS standard was invented – ½ inch or 12.65 mm; VHS cassette development completed 1978 – several “landmark” products released: the world’s first cassette deck compatible with Type IV tape – metal; the world’s first portable VHS system; Multiplex television reception system 1979 – development of PCM audio processors completed; audio tapes type IV – Metal were released; The DAS-900 (Digital Audio Mastering System) digital system came off the assembly line; The world’s first 4-head SP/EP VHS video recorder was released 1980 – the development of the Super-A amplification circuit was completed


1982 – JVC specialists take part in the development of the Dolby-C noise reduction system. The development of the world’s smallest video recorder (VHS-C standard) was completed, and VHS-C and HG (High Grade) VHS cassettes were released. 1983 – Dynamic Super A amplification system was developed; the development of the Hi-Fi VHS system was successfully completed; compact video cameras were released 1984 – the world’s first monoblock digital camera GR-C1 was released, two-cassette decks with auto-reverse, as well as CDs and players for them, went on sale. The first films in VHS format were released. 1985 – Personal cassette players with fully logical control and auto-reverse went on sale. The HQ (High Quality) VHS system was released 1986 – the world’s smallest and lightest VHS-C video camera GR-C7 was introduced 1987 – the first tape recorder in the S-VHS standard (horizontal resolution over 400 lines) HR-S7000 was released. DAT (digital audio cassette) tape recorders appeared, the Super VHS format was successfully introduced. 1988 – DAP (Digital Acoustic Processor) was developed. The development of digital amplification (Pure-A class) was successfully completed. 1989 – the K2 interface was patented, CD+G format discs (CD plus graphics) were released. The development of the S-VHS-C cassette with increased recording time was completed. 1990 – the CD+G Karaoke HR-SC1000 cassette recorder was released. The development of the S-VHS digital audio system was completed. 1991 – The development of the diaphragm for high-frequency loudspeakers was successfully completed. Multi Wide Vision TV AV-36W1 was released 1992 – the Digital Vision karaoke system went on sale 1993 – the development of the ILA projector was completed. The W-VHS recording format for HDTV was patented, the world’s first household video recorder with support for high-resolution video recording, HR-W1, was released. 1994 – 20-bit K2 signal processing technology was developed. Development of the world’s smallest and lightest high-definition camera was completed. 1995 – Development of D-VHS and Digital-S formats was completed. Dynamic Drum system and the world’s first handheld digital video camera, the GR-DV1, are released 1997 – JVC enters the US digital broadcast market and announces the HM-DSR100 digital satellite tuner/recorder – introducing revolutionary digital stream recording technology 1998 – DLA is introduced – G10 – multimedia D-ILA projector with full support for S-XGA resolution 1999 – JVC received an EISA award for its miniDV video recorder combined with S-VHS – HR-DVS1. The Super VHS ET system is being developed – recording in S-VHS format on a regular tape. 2000 – sales of a D-VHS digital video recorder compatible with S-VHS and VHS begin – HM-DR10000

2001 – With the launch of the GR-DVP1 and JVC DLA-HD1GR-DVP-3 series, JVC again wins the World’s Smallest and Lightest Digital Video Camera category. Start of production of the Trojan series (GR-DV2000 and GR-DV1800) with 1.92 Megapixel UXGA – the highest digital image quality in the world. 2002 – 75 years since the founding of the company. This year, new technological developments were also presented – 6.1-channel sound in home theaters, hard disk on audio and DVD/VHS players, plasma TVs PD-42/35DT3 and a TV equipped with the DIST (Digital Image Scaling Technology) system – AV-36/32Z1500 2003 – several innovative products were introduced: the high-definition digital video camera GR-HD1 and the compact component DVD system EX-A1​​2004 – D-ILA projection TVs were launched onto the market, the DLA-HD2K home theater projection system was introduced , the Everio GZ-MC200/MC100 camcorder with a removable hard drive was released in 2005 – JVC became an official partner of UEFA Eurotop and together with Victor Entertainment, Inc. developed K2 technology. This year the following were presented: the professional HD camera GY-HD100, three LSD models equipped with Genessa technology and digital audio players XA-AL55 and XA-MP101/MP51. 2006 – the company was awarded the prestigious IEEE award for the development of the VHS video format. The world’s first Hi-Fi audio systems with speakers made of birch were released; hard drive-based video cameras were launched: two third-generation HDD cameras Everio GZ-MG77 and GZ-MG67, as well as a ShareStation with DVD recording function CU-VD10 especially for Everio series cameras 2007 – the DLA-HD1 projector, Full HD system was introduced home cinema with the highest natural contrast ratio of 15000:1 and the world’s first Full HD HDD camera for consumers – GZ-HD7