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Take a stroll through home sweet home. You’ll almost certainly see an entertainment system, refrigerator, microwave oven, rice cooker, toaster, mixer/blender, vacuum cleaner, heater/air conditioner, hair dryer, electric blanket and so on. From personal hygiene to food preparation to recreation and entertainment, electric appliances are a ubiquitous part of our daily lives.

For the previous half century, the Japanese consumer-electronics industry enjoyed a extraordinarily successful run as both innovator and competitor, capturing dominant market shares of everything from calculators and boom-boxes to microwave ovens and video cassette recorders.

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