In this article, we dive deep into the corporate names of seven of the world’s most well-known electronics companies:
Inside, we investigate two main areas for each company: what the characters that compose their names actually mean, and how the companies actually got their names.
One of the explanations will have a drastic effect on my pronunciation habits:
“Fujitsu” is actually short for “Fuji Tsuushinki Seizou Kabushikigaisha,” or “Fuji Communication Equipment Manufacturing Corporation.” By simply taking the first three syllables of “Fuji Tsuushinki Seizou Kabushikigaisha,” Fujitsu managed to save everyone from having to write so much. The company changed its name to “Fujitsu” in 1967. “Fuji Tsuushinki Seizou Kabushikigaisha” today exists as “Fujitsu Holdings Corporation.”
And here I always pronounced it as if it were “Fu-jitsu,” like a cousin of jiu-jitsu. All together now: FU-ji-TSUU! 富士通! FU-ji-TSUU!
Thanks to Songdog for the link, and be sure to join his Oscar contest if you enjoy such things.
Addendum. Semantic Composition has an interesting entry about his time working for Sony, in the course of which he explicates the company name thus:
Sony started out as Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Kaisha, and was dedicated to the production of radio receivers (shades of the Walkman!) and electrical measurement equipment. Readers familiar with Sony only through their consumer electronics may not realize how huge Sony is today in the latter department. In any event, as radios and consumer electronics came to be the company’s main claim to fame, they went for a name which both reflected that fact and was easier to sell to English speakers. Sony is claimed to be derived from both “sonus”, Latin for sound, and “sonny”, because they liked the suggestion of youth that it provided. SC’s pet theory is that someone misspelled “Sonny” when silkscreening it onto a batch of parts, and the “sonus” justification was invented post hoc, to save money on having to make more.