Sony celebrates 40 years of Walkman in Tokyo

The Sony Walkman TPS-L2 was released 40 years ago this summer and forever changed the way the world listened to music. It became perhaps the most iconic brand in Sony's history, with hundreds of devices bearing the name and still being released.


To celebrate the Walkman legacy, Sony has held an exhibition in Tokyo called "Walkman in the Park" until this week. The location is Ginza Sony Park, a new public space on the site of the iconic old Sony building that was recently demolished; next year another Sony building will be built here.

I am no stranger to seeing a lot of great old Sony products, but Walkman in the Park was a bit different. The emphasis was on experience with the actual use of the products and how you felt. You could listen to music on cassettes through cheap plastic headphones while you read quotes from people who used Walkman at the time, and the feeling that you were in the 80s.

And of course it started with a gigantic image of a yellow Sports Walkman FM.

The layout of the exhibition is inspired by a skate park. You can sit on a slope and listen to early hip-hop on an original TPS-L2.

Perhaps because we live in a world of disappearing headphone connections, the dual output of the TPS-L2 was often emphasized.

The "Walkman Wall" contained almost every conceivable player.


This installation connects a TPS-L2 with a newer digital Walkman and the excellent WH-1000XM3 noise-canceling headphones from Sony. For what purpose I am not entirely sure.