NHK Technical Research Laboratories Established: Television Research
The site chosen for Nippon Hoso Kyokais (NHK) Technical Research
Laboratories (STRL) was Kinuta village in Setagaya, Tokyo. In June
1930, just five years after the start of radio broadcasting in Japan,
STRL with a staff of 16, including Director-General Yoshihiko Takada
(who served concurrently as the NHK Executive Director-General of
Engineering) began research on television broadcasting.
In 1937, it was decided to hold the Olympic Games in Tokyo, with
NHK to do a TV relay broadcast of them. After a thorough examination
of the systems that NHK had previously experimented with, including
the Waseda University system and the Hamamatsu Industrial High School
system, STRL decided to adopt the Hamamatsu Industrial High Schools
electric TV system for the Olympic relay broadcast.
Yamashita, Ishino, and others, had already joined STRL in September
1936, as the first group from Hamamatsu Industrial High School to work
with members of STRLs TV research engineering staff, people like
Kingo Nakanishi, on the design and establishment of research facilities.
In August 1937, Hamamatsu Industrial High School finished assembly of
four TV automobiles (four vehicles were needed for imaging,
video transmission, sound transmission, and image reception). More than
ten new engineers came with the vehicle, bringing the total number of
STRL employees to 89 by the end of 1937. (STRLs reorganization
in May 1937 established the three division, one section system, and
Takayanagi was appointed Director of the Third Division, dealing with
100-m Steel Antenna Tower
The TV research facilities in 1937 comprised TV building No. 1,
a transformer room, a garage for the TV automobiles, and an air-conditioned
studio facility. A full-scale research system for television was
completed the following year (1938) with the establishment of TV
building No. 2 and a 100-m-high self-supporting triangular steel
tower with a transmitting antenna. Thus, Kinuta had become a base
for TV research, with an experimental studio, the latest facilities,
and an antenna tower capable of broadcasting all over Tokyo.
In such an environment, STRL developed a technology based on Hamamatsu
Industrial High Schools imaging tube research, and initiated
the development of a prototype iconoscope in January 1938, with
a standard prototype completed by June.
Studies on a receiving set began in 1937. Development proceeded
on white phosphor, which was used in the sets fluorescent
screen, and on the expansion of the screen. This led to the first
23-cm white fluorescent receiving tube in Japan.
Achieving the World Standard
The new Broadcasting Hall located in Uchisaiwai-cho, Tokyo was completed
on May 13, 1939. To commemorate the completion, an experimental
TV signal was transmitted from STRL to the Hall (13 km away). This
marked the first public television experiment using radio waves
in Japan. By this time, Japanese television technology had caught
up with the rest of the world. STRL staff reached 266 through successive
expansion of the research project.
by the first Director-General
2. Iconoscope by Zworykin (Image pickup
STRL Staff (1930)
STRL at the time of its opening (1930)
TV experiment (1931), Left: original image; Right: received image
TV experiment at STRL
For shooting, the iconoscope was installed on a large caster.