Japanese Computer Pioneers

Kobayashi TaiyuKobayashi Taiyu

Kobayashi Taiyu was born on June 13, 1912 in Kami-cho, Taka-gun, Hyogo Prefecture, and died in Kan-nami, Shizuoka Prefecture, in August 1994 after struggling with disease for 7 years. He joined Fujitsu Limited when the company was established, served as president, chairman, and Senior Executive Advisor, and turned Fujitsu into a global company. His achievements were detailed in the book he wrote, "Just try to do it -- hands-on management theory (Toyo Keizai Shimposha)."

After he graduated from the Electronics Department, Faculty of Engineering of the Kyoto Empire University in 1935, he joined Fuji Electric Co. Ltd. Then, when the Fujitsu Limited was established in June of the same year, he moved to that company. He came to be interested in computers because of his experiences related to the Imperial Capital Defense System during the World War II. After the war, he, as a manager of development section in the Engineering Department, took the computers and micro wave multiple communication system as the theme that Fujitsu should work next, and started research and development independently because of the sharp decrease of the manufacturing plan of the telephone. As he had been in charge of the telephone switchboard, he wondered whether relays could be used for computers, and started the research independently. In Fujitsu at that time, he met with Ikeda Toshio (who joined the company in 1946) and Shiokawa Shinsuke (who moved from Fuji Electric Co. Ltd to the company in 1951). They all worked together, along with Omi Hanzo, who, as manager of technical division, was also very positive towards advancement in the computer field.

In 1952, Fujitsu manufactured the stock settlement-of-accounts system for the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Even though this system was not adopted, Fujitsu completed the FACOM 100 system through repeated improvements to this computer. "Just try to do it." became a collection of Kobayashi's personal phrases and became part of Fujitsu's tradition. The relay computers FACOM 128A and B afterwards were manufactured. FACOM 128B is preserved in the state of the movement in the Ikeda Memorial Room at the Numazu Complex.

Mr. Kobayashi became the director of the Electronics division in 1959. Okada Kanjirou assumed the company presidency in the same year, and Fujitsu entered the computer business in full scale. FACOM 231 was exhibited at the world fair in New York in 1964. However, it didn't sell well because that the software was not incompatible with IBM's. It was then that Kobayashi became determined to manufacture IBM compatible machines.
Things began looking up in 1965 when Fujitsu received an order for a FACOM 230-60 from the large-scale computer center of Kyoto University. This was a large-scale machine which adopted IC and a multilayer printed-circuit board, and which aimed at multiprocessors with general-purpose OS and TSS.

He relocated to Kan-nami for reasons of his health, and commuted by Shinkansen (Bullet train). He became the president of Fujitsu in 1976, succeeding Seimiya Hiroshi. He relinquished this position to Yamamoto Takuma in 1981. During his tenure as president, Fujitsu marked the largest sales of computers in Japan in 1979, due to the company's success in manufacturing IBM compatible machines. Also during this time, he established the Fujitsu Management Institute, and started 45-years-old training, which was his personal innovation.

Because he determined it was necessary to create a system capable of handling Chinese and Japanese characters simultaneously, after he became the president, he instigated the development of the Japanese Information system "JEF". Later, the "OASYS" word processor was made to appear due to his efforts.

1981 Chairman
1986 the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure, the IPSJ Contribution Award
1987 Senior Executive Advisor

He died on August 21, in 1994.

(Wada Eiiti, Fujitsu)