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The History of NEC Technical Journal

The History of NEC Technical Journal

The story of the NEC Technical Journal dates back to May 1902 when, shortly after NEC was founded, we published the first edition of its forebear, a monthly PR magazine entitled Nippon Denki Geppo (Nippon Electric Monthly).

1902 — the beginning

Cover of Nippon Denki Geppo, the inaugural issue
Cover of Nippon Denki Geppo,
the inaugural issue

The NEC Technical Journal can trace its origins back to the general PR monthly Nippon Denki Geppo, which was launched more than a hundred years ago in 1902.

Published by NEC three years after the founding of Nippon Electric Company in 1899, the first edition of Nippon Denki Geppo featured descriptions of technological trends and introduced products handled by NEC.

In addition to covering the company's products and technologies, this monthly journal also published essays and poems from general contributors and examined various industrial topics both in Japan and overseas, making it a corporate magazine that could also be enjoyed as something to read.

The company's hopes for the magazine were described in the inaugural edition.

Objectives of our publication (excerpted from the inaugural issue of Nippon Denki Geppo)

To provide a plainly written description of the usefulness of innovative electricity, to introduce the applications of unique machines to the public, to achieve mutual convenience by providing a forum for communication between those who demand and those who accept those demands, and, finally, to report on recent electrical products for the edification of people in the industry — these are the objectives of the publication of this magazine.

The background reason for the placement of articles such as essays and other items submitted by general contributors can be inferred from this explanation of the journal's purpose. Since then, "plainly written description" has continued to serve as the motto of the journal right up to today's NEC Technical Journal.

The transition to a technical journal

Cover of first issue of Nichiden Geppo
Cover of first issue of Nichiden Geppo

In 1923, Nippon Denki Geppo, which had started out as a PR magazine that introduced new products and new technologies to customers, was in the process of reinventing itself as a journal focusing on the details of new (mostly in-house) technologies, when Japan was devastated by the Great Kanto Earthquake. Chaos and confusion followed, and the first issue of the new journal — called Nichiden Geppo (NEC Monthly) — was finally published in May 1924.

When the first issue of Nichiden Geppo was published, Matsunosuke Matsushiro, who was NEC's General Sales Director at the time, had this to say.

About the publication (excerpted from the first issue of Nichiden Geppo)

We believe that it is our obligation to notify the general public about the rapid advances in electrical appliance technology as soon as possible. For this reason, NEC has decided to publish a quarterly magazine in order to provide the latest information about new electrical technologies. Although we have plenty of material to publish, actually publishing it has been difficult as we are short of editing staff.

Nonetheless, we have been inundated by requests from customers and stakeholders welcoming any news we can provide, pointing out that more progress can be made by taking many small steps than by taking a single great leap. Therefore, we have decided to go ahead and publish this booklet as a reference.

The staff who worked on this booklet put everything they had into it and we hope that you will honor us by perusing it from cover to cover.

Matsunosuke Matsushiro
General Sales Director

Matsushiro's comments make clear that NEC's confidence in the importance of technology was increasing. The company was not only eager to promptly introduce its latest technology to its customers, it demonstrated its commitment to advancing technological progress in general by publishing technical papers.