Kenwood
Kenwood
Kenwood

Kenwood

Kenwood was born in December 1946 in post-war Japan, the company’s founders are considered to be Kasuga Nakaichi, his brother Jiro, brother-in-law Hideo Nakano and uncle Hisao. Considering that all the founders are united by ties of kinship, they subsequently chose a name for their business – TRIO. During those years, the national economy was suffering from the terrible consequences of the Second World War and was in the process of industrial and economic recovery. Among the most popular electronics products of the time were AM tuners, as well as other national interest dissemination components and radio broadcasting and sound reproduction components.

Kenwood_logo_logotype_wordmark.jpg

Post-war Japan had little time for music. But everyone wanted to listen to the news, so the relatives decided to start building their business on radios. On December 21, 1946, in the city of Komagan, which is located near Nagano, they registered their first company – Kasuga Radio Co. Ltd – Kasuga Wireless Electronics Corporation. Initially, the company was engaged in technical research in the field of radio broadcasting and radio electronics.

Kenwood TRIO KW-70 1962.jpg
Stereo receiver Kenwood KW-70 (1962) 

The company’s founder, William “Bill” Kasuga, was the first of a generation of Japanese Americans. Being well versed in Japanese and English, Kasuga volunteered for the United States Army as a translator during World War II. After the war, Kasuga taught Japanese, but quickly realized that teaching was not his strong point. One of his friends offered him a job at a company called A&A Trading Co., which imported Japanese-made electronics for RadioShack and was looking for a manager who spoke both English and Japanese well. During his work, Kasuga established good connections with one of the suppliers of RadioShack, a Japanese manufacturer of high-quality audio.

Kenwood Supreme 1 1966.jpg
Amplifier Kenwood Supreme-1 (1966)  

At this time, Trio Corporation management is looking for a way to sell its products directly to American consumers. The entrepreneurial-minded Kasuga was convinced that he could do a substantially better job of selling Trio Corporation’s products than their established competitors in the United States. While seeking investment, a mutual friend connected Kasuga with George Aratani, a wealthy entrepreneur who founded Mikasa & Company, who agreed to provide financing for Kasuga’s venture. Along with Yoshi Nakase, they decided to start a new company that would be the exclusive importer of Trio Corporation products to all other countries.

Kenwood KA-4002 1970.jpg
Amplifier Kenwood KA-4002 (1970) 

At that time, Japanese industrial goods had a reputation for very low quality, much like we now have very low prices for Chinese-made goods. But Kasuga has strong faith in the products of Trio Corporation and decides to create a new American Name that will truly resonate. He described the origins of Kenwood as being a combination of the American name “Ken”, which has been tested and proven acceptable to American consumers from the well-known name “Kenmore Appliances” and “Wood”, referring to a well-known place also associated with to Hollywood. The company’s office was located in the area where the famous Hollywood vineyards grew.

kenwood ka 8004 1971.jpg
Amplifier Kenwood KA-8004 (1971)

Eventually, Kenwood’s brand recognition surpassed that of Trio’s, and in 1981, Trio switched over to using the Kenwood name as its worldwide go-to name. And in 1986, after fully acquiring Kenwood, which was still an independent importing company, George Aratani became the first chairman of the Kenwood corporation in the US after Kasuga.

kenwood-kt-5000-1970.jpg
Tuner Kenwood KT-5000 (1970) 

In 1947, the company began its activities by manufacturing conventional coils for direct amplification receivers, and later coils for superheterodyne receivers. At that time, the development of superheterodyne reception was just in its infancy, and Kasuga caught the wind of impending changes in time. Late forties – the company is a great success, their reels are very popular in all stores, especially in Tokyo Prefecture. At this time, in addition to the owners, the company employs only 2 people from outside.

Kenwood-KR-9940 1972.jpg
Stereo receiver Kenwood KR-9940 (1972) 

The commercial success of the company begins to bring good money and, accordingly, the expansion of the enterprise. In a rented room on the edge of the town of Komagane (Nagano Prefecture), a dozen hired girls assembled simple tube receivers. The middle of the brothers, Jiro, is in charge of sales. The devices, carefully packed in wooden boxes, were sent to clients by horse-drawn chaise. This is how the company’s service began to develop.

kenwood kw 5066 1972.jpg
Kenwood KW-5066 (1972)  

In January 1949, for the first time in Japan, the company received a certificate of compliance with NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) requirements for a semiconductor high-frequency converter.  In 1950, the company was renamed Kasuga Radio Industry Corp. And after another 5 years, the company grows to open an office in the Ota-Ku area, near Tokyo, where mass production of audio equipment, communication and measuring equipment begins. The impetus for the development of the company was the relaxation of laws in the field of radio broadcasting and the expansion of the spectrum of frequencies used for ordinary radio amateurs and commercial broadcasters.

kenwood kr 4200 1973.jpg
Tuner Kenwood KR-4200 (1973)  

In 1953, the company released its first amateur radio receiver, which was a huge commercial success and very popular among local radio amateurs. This success allows the company to increasingly collect initial capital for further development. In 1954, the company opened its research center for the design of audio equipment, amateur radio stations and measuring equipment. The result of the work of this center was the production of the latest AM tuners with Hi-Fi parameters and a signal generator. The company is trying to quickly respond to the fashion trends of the times and soon releases the first receiver – an AM tuner and amplifier combined in one housing.

kenwood kt 8005 1973.jpg
Tuner Kenwood KT-8005 (1973)  

The following year, the first amateur radio transceiver was introduced, which had a good tuner, pre-amplifier and could be connected to the IF input of broadcast receivers produced a little earlier. Signal transmission technologies developed rapidly and in 1957 Kasuga introduced the first VHF FM tuner on the Japanese market, which immediately gained nationwide popularity and also had commercial success throughout Japan. By that time, the company’s staff had grown to 99 people. The commissioning of the Tokyo Radio Tower accelerated the development of the consumer radio equipment business, and the central office of Kasuga Radio Industry Corporation moved to the Japanese capital.

kenwood ka 8006 1974.jpg
Amplifier Kenwood KA-8006 (1974)  

Since 1958, radio broadcasts in Japan have been broadcast on all bands, bringing radio into every home. The Trio Tri-Amp AF-10 tuner, which went on sale the same year, becomes the first publicly available FM tuner in the country. The company is expanding its production scope by launching the production of amateur HF radio stations.

In 1960, the company was renamed Trio Corporation and began its march around the world. In 1962, technical research into the latest achievements of that time – the development and widespread introduction of transistors in technology – allowed the company to make grandiose breakthroughs in the field of audio technology. The company begins production of the first industrial amplifier using transistors. In the same year, the company first tried its hand at the American market. For commercial radio broadcasters in the United States, the company is developing a stereo transmitter that allows broadcasting of stereo broadcasts.

kenwood trio 700m 1974.jpg
Amplifier Kenwood Trio -700M (1974)  

The first mass-produced transistor amplifier appeared in Japan in 1962, when radio tubes dominated the world of radio electronics. It was not yet called Kenwood, but Trio TW-30. In the same year, the Swiss company Spitzer Electronics became a distributor of Trio (Kenwood) for European consumers. The range of goods presented was not very extensive, but represented some products that deserved wide recognition. Developing semiconductor technology ahead of many other companies in the sector, Trio (Kenwood) first introduced to the European market its famous product TW-30, a 10W + 10W transistor stereo amplifier, sold in the Japanese market for 36,500 Yen.

kenwood-kr-10000 1975.jpg
Tuner Kenwood KR-10000 (1975)  

Sound policies, combined with the latest technological advances and success in trading, allowed the first foreign office to be established in 1963 in Los Angeles, California. From this moment on, the company entered the market of the United States, where, from the very beginning of its formation, it took a leading position in the market of communications equipment, as well as household and audio equipment. Thanks to the constant introduction of innovative technologies, thoughtful marketing and modern product design, the company maintains a leading position in the market today. Next came a period of great expansion for Kenwood in world markets.

kenwood kr 7600 1976.jpg
Kenwood KA-7600 (1976)  

In 1964, an agreement was signed with the French label Labonte; production of recordings made using the then innovative method of RT Bozark Manufacturing was launched for Japan. The production base was chosen by Kenwood, as partners for the distribution of high-quality speakers in the domestic market of the American East Coast.  In 1966, Kenwood already had 150 agencies selling its equipment on the European market. They are divided into seven countries between Holland, Italy, Germany and other European countries. The flagship of the company’s entire product line was the Supreme 1 multi-channel amplifier, unanimously considered the best model of that era throughout the world. This year, the company decides to give additional impetus to the development of HI-Fi equipment in the world and begins to develop HI-FI products and further expand the activities of its subsidiaries.

kenwood ka 7300 1977.jpg
Amplifier Kenwood KA-7300 (1977)  

By 1967, the product range already consisted of 3 tuners, 4 amplifiers, 10 modular systems, 2 vinyl players, 4 sound-reproducing speakers and 6 speakers, 8 measuring instruments, as well as 6 amateur radio devices.  In 1968 he founded the Trio Kenwood NVSA branch in Belgium. The Kenwood logo is also being updated to combine the sun and leaves into one logo, symbolizing the spirit of the latest advancements and innovation in new product introductions. The field of semiconductor technology and microelectronics is rapidly developing.  In 1969, the company was included in the first section of the list of participants of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Kenwood KX-830 1977.jpg
Kenwood KX-830 cassette deck (1977)   

In 1973, to better track the evolution of the market, the European branch was transferred to Frankfurt and Germany, and a new division of Kenwood Electronics Deutschland GmbH was created. Since about this year, one can trace the widespread distribution of not only audio and household appliances, but also amateur radio equipment. The company is developing not only HF transceivers, but also equipment for mobile and portable radio communications. The company will continue to develop this area of ​​activity, and so successfully that at the end of the century one of its radio transmitters of this class will be installed on the Mir orbital station in space.  In June 1979, Kenwood opened a radio equipment manufacturing facility in Singapore for the first time in its history. The company’s production activities abroad begin this year.

kenwood ka 5700 1978.jpg
Amplifier Kenwood KA-5700 (1978) 

In December 1980, the company’s management began to seriously think about developing and promoting its corporate identity. The name Kenwood was chosen as the corporate brand. Since this year, one can trace a fundamental change in the design of radio equipment and its design. It acquires its own individuality and corporate style, which is easily recognizable today.  And in 1983, Kenwood was chosen as the main supplier of communications equipment for the UK government services. Special series of radios have the necessary military certificates.  In 1986, everything associated with the name TRIO completely disappeared into oblivion and the company was completely renamed Kenwood Corporation. Since this year, the corporate logo, which we know to this day, has also changed. In the same year, the company becomes the main sponsor of the Kenwood Cup competition, one of the four largest sailing regattas in the world.

Kenwood KR-1000 1983.jpg
Receiver Kenwood KR-1000 (1983)   

In February 1989, mobile satellite communication systems became the company’s next line of business.  In 1991, production and sales of license-free transceivers began and an official agreement and contract was signed with McLaren for the supply of wireless radio equipment for the Formula 1 world racing championships. Many people probably often notice Kenwood advertising banners when watching auto racing championships.   In June 1995, an epochal event took place! Kenwood wins the tender to install amateur radio equipment on the Mir space radio station. Since that time, many radio amateurs have the opportunity to conduct amateur radio communications on the VHF band with members of the radio crew. Special series of QSL cards are being published and special diplomas are being established for communication “through space”. Since that time, the name Kenwood has become a “household name” and represents quality, reliability and ease of operation on the air.

KENWOOD-GE-1100 1988.jpg
Equalizer Kenwood GE-1100 (1988)   

In 1996, one of the company’s largest plants in Malaysia was put into operation and the 50th anniversary of the company’s creation was celebrated.  In 1997, the company began developing wireless radio communication systems that were important for the development of the regional economy.  In 1998, sales of an exclusive model of the “K’s Esule” radio called “Silver Signature” began through an ordering system.  1999: Kenwood co-develops the world’s first mobile digital radio.  In 2001, a mid-term plan for reorganizing the company’s activities – “Mid-term Reconstruction Plan” – was announced. Announced issuance of new shares totaling 7.1 billion yen with distribution through a third party.

kenwood m 94 1994.jpg
Stereo components Kenwood M-94 (1994)  

In 2002, a Network Interface Module (NIM) was developed to receive digital broadcasting signals via communications satellites (CS). Part of the shares of Kenwood TMI Corporation are being sold (due to the closure of the control and measuring equipment business line). In the same year, the head office is moved to the Hachioji area, Tokyo. A plan to revitalize the activities of the “Revitalization Action Plan” is announced, developed based on the results of the fiscal year for March 2002, which showed a negative difference between the company’s assets and liabilities.  In 2003, collaboration began with the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International to introduce speech synthesis technology into automotive electronic equipment. Launch of the production modernization program “Production Innovation”. Based on the results of the past fiscal year (as of March 2003), the company achieved a record net profit.

KENWOOD Series 21 (1997).jpg
Home theater Kenwood Series-21 (1997)  

In 2005, the production of in-house developed car navigation systems began on the consumer market. With Icom Inc. the formation of a technical and financial alliance has begun with the aim of conducting joint research in the field of standardization of the technical characteristics of wireless digital radio equipment. Kenwood Nagano Corp. receives the ISO/TS 16949 certificate, indicating compliance with the international quality control standard applicable in the automotive industry. In the summer, Kenwood Design Corp begins research and production cooperation with Tama Art University to conduct joint research.

Kenwood NV-701 1997.jpg
Music center Kenwood NW-701 (1997)  

In 2006, 60 years passed since the company was founded. For this occasion, a new logo and motto “Listening to the Future” were invented.  In 2007, Kenwood announced the release of dual-band FM node modules of the TM-V71 – TM-V71144/430 (440) MHz series, compatible with the EchoLink® radio system with a VoIP gateway for voice over Internet protocol. This opens up the possibility of communication with all amateur radio stations in the world. In the same year, Kenwood wins the first lawsuit against manufacturers of counterfeit equipment that violate China’s trademark and product design laws. As you know, the Kenwood trade logo began to be used by everyone who was too lazy to try to promote their product. There are just a ton of miniature license-free radios in the 433 MHz range today with the Kenwood logo.

Kenwood VH7PC 1998.jpg
Music center Kenwood VH-7PC (1998)   

By the end of 2007, the company had invested more than 20 billion yen in Victor Company of Japan, Limited, thereby forming a strategic business alliance between Kenwood and JVC.  In 2008, JVC and Kenwood merged and a new holding company was created (transfer of shares). By the end of the year, the two companies KENWOOD and JVC officially announced that a new joint venture company, JVC KENWOOD HOLDINGS, Inc., had been created.  In July 2009, JVC assumed responsibility for the JVC and Kenwood home audio product businesses in Japan and other countries, including planning, technology, marketing, quality control and production functions, excluding sales. J&K Technologies was renamed J&K Car Electronics Corporation (J&K Car Electronics), making J&K Car Electronics essentially an independent automotive electronics company.

Kenwood dv 5900 2001.jpg
DVD player for 400 discs Kenwood DV-5900 (2001)  

JVC and Kenwood have developed their own in-vehicle navigation systems using the same platform for the first time (Japanese model under the Kenwood brand: MDV-313; Model for other countries under the JVC brand: KW-NT3. 2010 – Corrections were made to JVC’s revenue figures for the period between the fiscal year ended March 31, 2005 and the second quarter of the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010 (including the consolidated financial statements as a consolidated subsidiary of JVCKENWOOD), and JVCKENWOOD’s performance for the period from its inception on October 1, 2008 through the second quarter of the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010.

kenwood k1 2010.jpg
Music center Kenwood K-1 (2010)   

In 2011, JVC KENWOOD Holdings, Inc. changed its name to JVC KENWOOD Corporation. JVC KENWOOD Corporation has completed the acquisition of three subsidiaries of Victor Company of Japan, Limited, Kenwood Corporation and J&K Car Electronics Corporation. In 2017, the company celebrated its 70th anniversary.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Krell
Previous
Krell