March 2013 Archives

Obituary: Hideo Matsushita

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Hideo Matsushita, Audio Technica Founder, passed away on March 5 at the age of 93.

Born in Fukui Pref. in 1919, he joined Bridgestone Museum after graduation from economics department of Kagawa University. Aspiration for music led him to launch Audio Technica in 1962, and the company successfully launched AT-1, AT-3 and other MM stereo phono cartridges original VM phono cartridges, headphones and microphones.

He stepped down to CEO/chairman in 1993, and CEO/consultant in 2005. Headed by Kazuo Matsushita, his son, Audio-Technica celebrated 50th anniversary in 2012.

Funeral services were held only by family members, but the company plans a farewell ceremony at an unknown date of April.

Yamaha Management Change

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Yamaha Corporation announced management change effective on March 1.
Hitoshi Fukutome is named new president of Yamaha Corporation of America, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems and Yamaha Music Interactive. He headed Yamaha Music Korea previously.
Takuya Nakata, Senior Executive Officer, former president of Yamaha Corporation of America, Yamaha Commercial Audio Sytems and Yamaha Music Interactive, returns to Japan to take new responsibility. 

Mr. Roland Steps Down

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Roland Corporation announced on March 7 that Ikutaro Kakehashi, founder and Special Consultant had stepped down from all positions of the company and subsidiaries on March 1. Until the end of February, he served as chairman of Roland RSG Company, presidents of Roland Taiwan Electronic Music Corporation and Roland Taiwan Enterprise Co., Ltd.

Born in 1930 in Osaka, Kakehashi launched Kakehashi Musen (electric appliances retail store) in 1954 and Ace Electronics in 1960. In 1972, he established Roland Corporation, which grew to one of the most innovative and creative makers of digital musical instruments and devices today.
Starting with Honorary Doctorate from Berklee College of Music in 1991, he won Lifetime Achievement Award from m.i.p.a. in 2000, and very recently Technical GRAMMY Award from The Recording Academy in February, 2013. Kakehashi and Dave Smith, former president of Sequential Circuits were co-recipients of Technical GRAMMY Award for their contribution in regulating MIDI Standard that connects digital musical instruments and makes them communicate, and growth of music industry.

He is author of "I Believe in Music" which was translated into English, German, and Chinese, and sold in U.S., Germany, Taiwan and China. "Simple and Straight" has been his motto.

After March 1, he continues to serve as chairman of Roland Foundation, which he established in 1994 to promote music making and support performing artists.

Korg Enters Entertainment Business

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Korg Inc. launched SHIBUYA G-ROCKS STUDIO dance studio in Shibuya, Tokyo, and celebrated opening with guests on February 1. Teamed with world-class dancer TAKAHIRO (Takahiro Ueno), the studio opens as TOPFIELD DANCE CENTER in March.

Known as 9 times winner of U.S. Show Time At The Appollo, he also toured with Madonna, and listed in the News Week 100 Japanese Respected By The World.

Street dance market embraces 4 million people in Japan, and 70 million people throughout the world. Very recently, Course of Study in Japan regulated dance as a compulsory program for elementary school children and junior high school students. It helps increase popularity for dance performance. (photo left: TAKAHIRO)

TAKAHIRO and his long-time friend Seiki Kato, president of Korg, share an idea of supporting young dance performers. Korg provides sound system and studio venue, while Top Court artist production, and Infinity headed by TAKAHIRO, are responsible for management and artist relations.

TAKAHIRO said, "I'm really excited to realize my dream I had in U.S. at this studio. Mr. Kato was generous offering this marvelous stage. I'm grateful for his help, and hope to raise young promising dance performers."

The courses include hip-hop, ballet, jazz, yoga and pilates for both kids and adults. The studio has about 100 sq. meter space outfitted with 2.7 meter tall mirrors at back and front, professional level lighting, heated ash dance floor, cutting edge sound system, a lounge, and shower rooms.

Joining entertainment business will expand future opportunities of Korg.


Arai & Co's latest model, SB-Black'n Gold I Cliff Burton Signature model bass guitar, is attracting collectors' eyes. The bass guitar completed in memory of him with full support from Cliff's family and Metallica members. It first showcased during the 2013 NAMM Show in January. Arai plans to build 250 units to be distributed in the world markets. (photos right: SB-Black'n Gold I. The headstock comes with a Cliff's autograph at the rear.)

Cliff-headstock.jpgToshiyuki Matsumura, vice president of Arai, who was heavily involved in the development project said, "Even after his tragic death in 1986, SB bass, Cliff's favorite gear, has been much sought after. When we talked with the original band members during Metallica 30th anniversary tour in 2011, they proposed a plan to give a special tribute to Cliff. After some talks with Ray Burton, Cliff's father, we decided to develop a re-issue model of the original SB-Black'n Gold which Cliff frequently played in 1980s. It has been a tough work spending 12 months to complete the specification collecting data of the original model in every detail." (photo below: Toshiyuki Matsumura, left and Masahiro Nagasaki)  

SB-Black'n Gold I is made of wood materials, parts and hardware made in Japan. It's known that Metallica seldom authorizes signature models. As talks with Ray progressed, Arai engineers and Burton family came to share same passion for building his signature instrument. Matsumura recalls, "Ray was really excited with the signature model because Cliff had long hoped to have self-autographed bass. We are very pleased with this project successfully completed."

SB-Black'n Gold I will be shown at Frankfurt Musikmesse in April, and distribution in the world markets starts soon. Only 12 units are sold in Japan. Cliff's innovative and aggressive performance can only been seen on DVDs and YouTube today, however, the signature model will become a coveted instrument among his fans. (photo right: Ray Burton with the signature model at the 2013 NAMM Show)

Masahiro Nagasaki, assistant manager of Arai Domestic Sales, says, "We expect SB-Black'n Gold I enhances images and values of Aria Pro II.

Pearl Represents Gon Bops in Japan

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Pearl recently announced that the company would represent Gon Bops as an exclusive distributor of its percussion lines in the Japanese market in April.