Before Spotify, MP3 sound files, and CDs, people listened to music through cassette tapes. These little blocks of plastic with rolls of film in them played tunes when played through a cassette player, and no cassette player was more famous than the Sony Walkman.
First introduced 40 years ago in July of 1979, Sony’s portable music player went through numerous iterations before it became the media player it is today (yes, they’re still around). While the present-day Walkman looks as generic as apple pie, the original Walkman TPS-L2 has an iconic design which stands the test of time.
To commemorate almost half a decade of the Walkman’s existence, Sony held a public exhibit in (where else) Ginza Sony Park in Tokyo recently.
“Walkman in The Park” showcased every Sony Walkman design throughout its colorful 40 years—but it also takes a more personal look at people’s musical experiences when using the devices.
Once users got past the giant yellow Walkman at the entrance, they were treated to several interviews with 40 different people—all heavy users of the Walkman over the years. These aren’t famous pop-stars or well-known celebrities; just folks whose lives have been impacted by the iconic music player.
Of course, no Walkman exhibit would be complete without a wall of music players, and Walkman in The Park delivers. Every iteration and color of the Walkman is strewn across a large wall for viewers to see.
At the start of the tour, visitors were given a map and a stamp sheet to fill out. If they were in a collecting mood, they could get a sheet stamped at certain areas of the exhibit. Once completed, Sony will awarded cassette-looking flip-books that showed the evolution of the Walkman throughout the years.
The Walkman in The Park exhibit ran from July 1- September 1, 2019.