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Ten Japanese Inventions that Changed the World

Updated on March 5, 2013

Japanese are known for inventions

The Japanese are known for their wacky creations. However, they have come up with some inventions that have been pivotal to the evolution of the information technology industry. Listed are the top ten (10) inventions created in Japan that made an impact in technology and the world.

1: Floppy Disks

The floppy disk used to be the choice of media before the introduction of the compact disc and USB pen drives. This once very useful invention was developed by Japanese Dr. Yoshiro Nakamatsu in 1952 and was large – 8 inches or 200mm in diameter. It was commercialized in 1971 and was adopted by IBM which is probably why is was so popular.

The various floppy disks
The various floppy disks | Source

2: The Compact Disc

Until the iPod came along, the compact disc (CD) was the choice of storage for media. I still have a large collection of music on CDs. Sony first demonstrated the use of audio on compact disc in 1976.

The CD was the storage media for audio files
The CD was the storage media for audio files | Source

3: Blue LED

In 1993 Shuji Nakamura invented the blue light emitting diode (LED) lighting which became the catalyst for the development of Blu-ray player.

4: DVD /Blu-ray

The DVD was first developed in 1996 by Philips, Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic. About a decade later Sony spearheaded the transition 1080p or Blu-ray format.

5: Sony Walkman

Before the iPod, portable music was carried in cassettes and listened to on the Walkman, invented by Nobutoshi Kihara in 1978. The invention was the standard for portable music for almost 20 years.

Before the iPod, there was the Walkman
Before the iPod, there was the Walkman

6: Digital Camera

Fuji released the first digital camera in 1988. It was the Fujix DS-P1 and came with a 400 kilopixel CCD sensor. It seems pretty ancient by today’s standards.

7: Karaoke

This popular sing-along invention has become an iconic stereotypical device associated with the Japanese. Drumer Daisuke Inoue invented the device in 1971. Unfortunately, he neglected to patent the device and failed to profit from it.

8: Electronic Calculator

The MD-5 was the first all transistorized calculator unveiled by Sony in 1964 and was capable of 8 digit computations. It

9: Robots

Robotics might sound like 21st century engineering but the Japanese came up with a creation in the 17th century called the Karakuri ningyo. This invention was the first recorded robot and it was a mechanized tea serving device powered by a wound spring.

A karakuri automaton, circa 1800.
A karakuri automaton, circa 1800. | Source

10: Digital Pets

The digital pet craze which took the world by storm in the mid to late 90s was spear-headed by Tamagotchi. Today there are many variations on the same theme sold at any toy store around the world.

Arigato! Thank you Japanese inventors

These ten are just some inventions that the Japanese came up with. Some are wacky and have become stereotypical innuendos attached to the people from the ‘land of the rising sun’ like the karaoke and some have been widely forgotten like the tea service device. However, they all became stepping stones for newer, more refined versions.

Technology owes a lot to the Japanese for their inventions.


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  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Great invention to save the world)

    I was 25 years old when either world preoccupied my mind ( air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels - diseases caused by air pollution - unemployment - poverty, food - water shortage - a shortage of electricity - lack of energy - the loss of soil - wash ozone layer - glaciers disappear - Fqrv of unwanted wars , etc. ) in those days thought that only one thing can not solve all the problems and what Jzmvtvry that does not require fuel and energy .

    Mr. Einstein he always input power with output power of 100 watts of electricity can be the same in the lamp 100 watt lights . Means we can not have any excess energy .

    But I am now 64 years old and I am 38 years in the search engine requiring fuel is not to say that the force Gryzaz center can such motor found. You if a weight weighing 3 kg with a length of 25 Santymtrra with 1000 rpm Spin the amount of force a horse makes power , according to Einstein , a horse can only weights run , but I spin the weights only 100 watts of electricity consumption was 645 watts remainder of the 6 lamp 100 watt light hold and a Mvtvrbdvnhas not anybody ever do so .

    the invention of the motor simply be implemented on all vehicles . centrifugal force alone can save the world from all these troubles .

    A partner with the following conditions 'm willing to cooperation and partnership .

    1 - if you volunteer to be the first to email me your full profile .

    2 - to have a talk about the partnership .

    3- Number of accounts will be credited the amount of five hundred thousand dollars .

    4 - after he 'd paid money and full address details .

    5 - after one has mastered the Persian language of Iran to come to my wife and I Rabbrd .

    6 - He will be responsible for all travel expenses .

    7 - Total cost of my life there will be a collective responsibility .

    8 - The Beginning of the invention will be registered in my name .

    9 - After our sharing ratio will be recorded in half and half

    I do not need to invent anything new, and the invention of the first examples of generator fuel would be fuel for a week and for the second example of the invention of the automobile is a two-week is not enough. Help me with that would be that and those one mechanical engineer and an electrical engineer and one of the welder.

    Best regards

    Invetor: M R Z F


  • profile image

    7 years ago

    "This once very useful invention was developed by Japanese Dr. Yoshiro Nakamatsu in 1952"

    Most likely untrue. See


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