Sony Corp marked Monday the start of a two-month long event in Tokyo celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Walkman, with interactive exhibits showcasing various models of the iconic portable music player.
The highlight of the event, dubbed “#009 Walkman in the Park,” is an exhibit called “My Story, My Walkman,” which chronicles each year of the hit music player’s history with nostalgic stories by 40 creators, artists and other public figures of that generation. Visitors can listen to songs chosen by the celebrity on each of the Walkmans on display.
The event starts from ground level, where a 2.5 meter tall Walkman modeled after the yellow waterproof sports model introduced in 1983 stands, and continues across all four basement floors of Ginza Sony Park in Tokyo’s shopping district. Other exhibits include a “Walkman Wall,” which displays all 237 models of the Walkman over the years and a “Custom Walkman” corner featuring Walkman skins designed by artists.
The Walkman ushered in the biggest change in the way we listen to music. Shortly before the first Walkman was released, I had a Sony Pressman, which was much larger than the first Walkman, because it had stereo microphones – it was designed for reporters to use recording in the field – but also a big battery pack; I think it held four AA batteries. It was about as heavy as a brick, but I used to walk around with that and the ability to have my own personal soundtrack – something we now take for granted – was revolutionary.
I must say, it was hard to find a photo of the device I had. Even Sony doesn’t have a photo of this on their website, where they have an archive of their products, but I found a Time Magazine article with a photo.