March 2014 Archives

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) named Yanagisawa as one of 300 Growing Medium-sized Companies and Venture Businesses. Award presentation ceremony and products exhibition took place on March 3 and 4 at Shin-takanawa Grand Prince Hotel, Tokyo.
The 300 companies were chosen in recognition of their innovative product manufacturing and services, excellent service to local community and economy.

Founded in 1896, Yanagisawa Wind Instrument Inc., has served the music scene and music products industry as a saxophone specialist manufacturer. Nobushige Yanagisawa, president, said, "Abenomics is successfully boosting businesses of big companies, and that is also expected to be felt among medium-sized and small businesses. We feel it's timely and grateful that METI supports us crediting for unique technologies and business concepts. Not a few of the awarded businesses are parts manufacturers. They were interested that we build saxophones with all parts including tiny ones made ourselves. We feel much honored to be recognized among the 300 businesses. We continue supporting music makers with Yanagisawa saxophones built by the meticulous hands of experts who are musicians at heart." (photo: Nobushige Yanagisawa and Michiko Yanagisawa.)


Exhibit space application for 2014 Musical Instruments Fair Japan to be staged from November 21 through 23 is now open. Organizer invites all industry members to its site for exhibit details announced at the last regulatory meeting held on February 12.

General information on exhibition as well as exhibit space application form can be downloaded from the site. Exhibit space request will be closed on April 30.

Further information is available from:
Musical Instruments Fair Association Japan


HOSCO Celebrates 30th Year

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HOSCO in Nagoya held a reception party in celebration of its 30th anniversary on Feb. 5 at Nagoya Kokusai Hotel inviting 100 musicians and business partners.
Tsutomu Hosokawa, now company consultant, launched Saga Japan, a Japanese arm of U.S. Saga Musical Instruments, in 1984 with 25 years experience in import and export business.

Started as a specialist distributor of bluegrass instruments, HOSCO has a vast line of wind, string, band and educational-use musical instruments today as well as versatile instrument making tools and parts. It incorporated in 1995 and changed the corporate name to HOSCO in 2007.

Tsutomu Hosokawa, founder and consultant, commented in his opening remarks, "We have supplied bluegrass instruments in the market for long under strong partnership with U.S. Saga Musical Instruments. It's our pleasure that we have established win-win relationship with our partners. We are very grateful for 3 decades of support and friendship of our partners and industry members, and to celebrate the milestone together. We will never be happier than marking 40th, 50th and 60th anniversaries." (photos from l to r, Tsutomu Hosokawa, Shinji Hosokawa and Richard Keldsen)

The guests included Masaki Gotoh, president of Gotoh Gut, Richard Keldsen, president of Saga Musical instruments and Shigeo Kajiyama, president of Tsubosan, Hiroshima-based fine file maker, and a host of professional musicians.

Shinji Hosokawa, president and son of Tsutomu, commented, "Our business line has expanded from bluegrass instruments to electric guitars, wind instrument, percussions and imported instruments today. We are ready to work with our partners toward another milestone."     

Kawai Acquires Zen-On Music

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Kawai announced on March 20 that it would acquire 100% of Zen-On stocks to make it a subsidiary company. The business transaction will complete by the end of this month. The purchase value is estimated to be around 1 billion yen.

Tokyo-based Zen-On, one of the oldest publishers of classical music with 83 years history, and manufacturer of school musical instruments including keyboard harmonicas, xylophones and recorders, achieved 4.4 billion yen sales in 2013.

Kawai plans to expand its publishing and school businesses by obtaining seasoned music publishing experience, copyright assets, and school market distribution network of Zen-On. However, Zen-on products will be distributed separately from Kawai lines for the time being.

Noriyuki Honma now serving as president of Zen-on will be replaced by Tsuneaki Kasai, Vice Branch Manager, Tokyo Branch of Kawai after April 1.



Obitury- Kazuo Yairi (1932-2014)

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K. Yairi Guitar Co., Ltd., a high-quality acoustic guitar manufacturer, and a legendary luthier in Japan, passed away of multiple organ failure on March 5. He was 81 years old.

Yairi never thought of expanding production as incoming orders increased after 1965 saying, "Given the materials we use for our guitars and manufacturing processes, we can't logically raise our production volume. I don't sell musical instruments, but sell satisfaction to our customers." Monthly production of K. Yairi guitars remained mostly unchanged until today between 700 and 750 units though sales value significantly gained year after year. 

He built guitars for great artists like Paul McCartney and Keisuke Kuwata to name just a few.

He was loved by guitarists and industry members for his passion for guitar and music, and friendly character.

Yamaha Instruments Win German iF Design Award

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Yamaha Silent Brass SB3X, SB5X, SB6X and SB7X, and CL Series digital mixing console were awarded prestigious iF Product Design Award of 2014 German iF Design Award.

The award is given to excellent industrial products and materials selected from all over the world for their originality, innovative idea, easiness of use, high level of quality, and eco-friendly features. The organizer accepted a total of 4,615 applications from 55 countries.

The Silent Brass instruments won 2013 Japanese Good Design Gold Award, and CL Series mixing console was awarded 2012 Good Design Gold and Asian Design Awards.

They represent Yamaha's 4 product manufacturing principles, 1. Good for long time use, 2. Value adds after launch, 3. Simple design, 4. Selected materials matched to excellent design.


25th Martin Club Concert in Tokyo

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T. Kurosawa, exclusive distributor for C. F. Martin guitars in Japan. hosted C. F. Martin Guitar Show & Concert on February 16 at Ebisu Garden Hall, Tokyo.

It took place 2 days before Eric Clapton Japan Tour concert, which Kurosawa co-sponsors. The capacity audience enjoyed special showcase of OM-ECHF Navy Blues, a signature model just arrived in Japan, built in collaboration with Clapton, Hiroshi Fujiwara and Martin Guitar to be retailed at 870,000yen. Featuring OM body design, it's finished in impressive polished navy.

Coveted Authentic and popular Performing Artist series models were also offered for experience to play.

In the second part of the concert, Makoto Saito and his band, Kana Uemura, and Konosuke Sakazaki from "The Alfee" entertained the audience with fine Martin sound.

Known as a prominent guitar collector, Sakazaki demonstrated the sound and episodes of his vintage Martin models built between 1920s and 1960s.

In celebration of silver anniversary of Martin Club Japan, Kurosawa plans special concerts in Akita on March 21, and in Osaka on April 13. 

New Location for 2014 Musical Instruments Fair Japan

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Musical Instruments Fair Association Japan staged the first regulatory meeting on February 12 for 2014 Musical Instruments Fair Japan, which takes place from November 21 through 23 at a new location, Tokyo Big Site, inviting 250 representatives from 144 companies.

The Fair had been held every other year until 2011 outside Tokyo. As the association decided to review its balance between cost and effectiveness, the industry leaders talked searching how it can serve the needs of today's consumer and to generate passion for music playing. It comes back to Tokyo after 2 years blank with some new impressive plans. (photo: Masahiko Yamano, top, and Reception Hall of West Hall, Tokyo Big Site ) 

In his opening remarks, Masahiko Yamano , chairman of Musical Instruments Fair Association Japan, expressly commented, "I grew up in a retail music family. Like all our senior industry members, I selected this retail music business simply because I love it. Music is a gift for all people and musical instruments are indispensable for playing any style of music. We are involved in the business that helps support musicicians. The Fair could be staged solely to expand music market and music playing population in Japan.

The association produced a 15-minute DVD containing full information on Tokyo Big Site along with an exhibitor regulation for the industry members. The details are also available from the association website. (      

The West 1 and 2 exhibition halls reserved for the Fair offer 17,760 sq. meter exhibit space, which are categorized into 5 zones of 1. Wind, stringed and keyboard Instruments, 2. Digital gears, 3. Drums, 4. Combo Products, and 5. Retail shops organized by retail exhibitors. Individual zones will have a stage for seminars and clinics. In addition to the exhibit space, the organizer plans to provide the visitors with dozens of concerts, an exhibit of music publications and ticket counters at Atrium. 12 meeting/seminar rooms are available for the exhibitors.

The largest feature of the coming Fair is that direct sales to consumer is allowed for the retail exhibitors. The exhibiting manufacturers, distributors and retailers can cooperate in sales sharing inventory data. For the first time in its history, the music products industry will release a Fair image song tying with recording industry. 

The Fair official website will be enhanced with messages from name musicians, FaceBook, twitter and other social network services. Discounted exhibit space fees will be applied to the retail exhibitors.

Roland Launches Holding Company in UK

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As part of restructuring plans in Europe, Roland announced launch of a holding company in U.K. after board of directors meeting on Feb. 7.

Roland has 10 distribution companies in Europe including Russia. However, the present market conditions call for integrated marketing strategies to cope with cross-border business.

The new holding company is expected to improve and enhance business performance and management ability, and allow top executives faster decision-making.

Roland establishes Roland Europe Group Limited, a 100% owned holding company in U.K. in February, and 10 distributors in Europe become its subsidiaries.

Annual sales of the 10 distributors in Europe are 12.059 billion yen, representing nearly 30% of Roland's 39.889 billion yen consolidated sales in 2013.

Korg Teams with David Friend

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Korg announced on February 18 development works of new ARP Odyssey were successfully going with help of David Friend, co-founder of ARP Instruments, a legendary analog synthesizer manufacturer.

Launched in 1972, ARP Odyssey instantly became a favorite synth of big keyboardists. It was distributed until 1981 through several times of refining.    

Friend was instrumental in ARP product development along with Alan Robert Perlman, co-founder, and later served as CEO of the company. More recently, he won Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2010 from Ernst & Young.

He is now chairman/CEO of Carbonite, provider of online backup services, and teaches at Sloan Management School of MIT. He is also professor emeritus of New England School of Music and Berklee College of Music.

Recently, Korg has been designing and developing analog synthesizers including volca and sister models, and MS-20 mini for heavy users throughout the world.

As Friend joins the Korg engineering team, the company is ready to develop new ARP Odyssey, and serve artists and digital music products market.

New ARP Odyssey will be put into the market in September.