Tektronix management first thought about some type of venture in Japan in the late 1950s. They distributed products through Midoriya but the growth was slow. Japanese companies were copying Tektronix products and Tektronix wanted a direct presence in Japan. By 1963 they began conversations with Hitachi and Toshiba. While in Japan, Howard Vollum visited their customer Sony and was impressed with their chief engineer Dr. Masaru Ibuka. Later he met the founder Akio Morita and the two struck up a friendship. In 1964 Earl Wantland visited Sony to further discussions and in March of 1965 Tektronix and Sony struck a 50/50 partnership Sony/Tek.
Sony/Tek began operations with headquarters, engineering, and manufacturing in a Sony building in Osaki. They began by building products using Tektronix components and assemblies and then developed their own products usually focusing on miniaturization and specialization for the Japanese market.
This January 6, 1966 issue of Tek Week features an article on the first products developed by Sony/Tektronix.
Sony/Tek built their own facility in Shinagawa in 1969 which was a four story building that housed the entire operation. In 1976 they expanded with a new facility in Gotemba and moved manufacturing. These February 6, 1976 TekTalk articles describe the new facilities.
This July 29, 1977 issue of TekWeek is about a Sony/Tek milestone on the 323 battery operated oscilloscope. We have one on display in the museum.
In 1980 Sony/Tek built a second eight story building next to the original building which had corridors connecting the two on the first three floors. Sony/Tek headquarters, the Tokyo field office, engineering, marketing, and the Information Display Group moved to the second building.
In 1983 Sony/Tek expanded the facility in Gotemba. In the time period from 1965 to 1990 sales expanded more than 10X. This photo shows the Gotemba facility with the original building on the right and the expansion on the left. The Gotemba building can be seen today on Google Maps by searching for "35.284408, 138.907316".
1985 marked the 20th anniversary of Sony/Tektronix. There were two issues of TekWeek on May 10th and June 21st highlighting the anniversary. Click on the images to view the PDF.
This excerpt from a summary of Sony/Tektronix was also produced in 1985 for the board meeting. Click on the image to view the PDF.
Here is an organizational chart for Sony/Tektronix from 1988
Sony/Tek continued as a 50/50 joint venture until 2002 when Tektronix fully acquired the company as Tektronix Japan. Tektronix leveraged the sales and distribution arm of Sony/Tek but began to integrate other functions into the rest of the Beaverton organization. Manufacturing at Gotemba was shut down in 2005 and the building sold.
Sony/Tek, and later Tektronix Japan, had engineering competencies in spectrum analyzers and waveform synthesis technologies. Eventually these skills and some resources were relocated to the Beaverton campus and engineering in Shinagawa was shut down in 2008.