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July 12, 2021 03:17 PM

Japan Musical Instruments Association (JMIA) Special Online Seminar: Takuya Nakata, Chairman and Jyun’ichi Miki, Director Talk on Future of the Industry

JMIA held the 2021 annual meeting online on June 7. It was followed by an online special seminar, “Future of the Music Products Industry” inviting Takuya Nakata, chairman and president of Yamaha Corporation, and Jyun’ichi Miki, director and president of Roland Corporation.  They talked on wide spectrum of topics from the pandemic to future activities of the association. Here are excerpts of the seminar. MC:  Masato Oshiki, manager of general affairs and president of Yamaha Music Japan Co., Ltd. (photos:  Takuya Nakata, top left, Jyun’ichi Miki, top right, and Masato Oshiki, bottom)

How can the industry turn new music makers evolved during the pandemic to loyal customers?
Oshiki: We are still struggling and faltering in the pandemic. How do you think we can overcome the present difficulties?
Nakata: Unfortunately, music products are not necessity for everyone in everyday life, but to our surprise we have witnessed a growing number of people started taking lesson of musical instruments or resumed music playing as music soothes and gives us relaxed feeling and pleasure during the lockdown. While sales of wind instruments stuttered due to greater fear of suffering from the desease while in play, businesses of other musical instruments rather exceeded the level of pre-pandemic. A trade wind for the industry. We can take advantage of this surge. People throughout the world found pleasure of music again.

Miki: We have used to talk people admire music making until very recently but not to be sure. Suddenly, the pandemic surfaced the demands. COVID-19 helped accelerate the desire of people to enjoy music playing. I think more leisure time at home will become a new trend. Nevertheless, they will be happy to go out once we overcome corona virus, but change of work style, increase of work from home may stay as a mainstream. How do they spend the extra time at home? Surely, they will turn to creative works such as music playing, painting picture, or advanced computer games. We have greater opportunities ahead.

Oshiki: We had a lot of music retailers participated in the annual meeting. We know middle or small businesses share a large percentage in the industry. The pandemic devastated shops on street, and as a result, EC prevailed. How can retailers keep their business go on in this hard time?
Miki: Lockdown seriously affects music retailers. It is natural that consumer unable to visit shops on street choose online shopping, and EC flourished. On the other hand, not a few people were convinced value of real time experience. They found going to live concerts and seeing friends in person are essential.
After we beat COVID-19, what can we offer customer face to face? Online trades must go on, but we can integrate value of visiting shops on street.

Nakata: I agree. We likely to view online and traditional trades as different means for business, but it does not tell any difference. Small store owners may say, “We are not ready to start EC”, but they can think another way. EC increases customer base. Then, how to lead new online customer to real shop? Music playing is fun in solo, but it is more exciting playing together with friends. Given that, there are many ways we work in individual local market. The pandemic has shed light on local issues and speciality business more than ever before. Capitalizing on one’s strength in given area, music retailers can better communicate with local music makers and turn them into loyal customer.

Change of value can expand the market
Oshiki: The pandemic almost devastated school music programs and extra curricula band activities. Many music retailers report decline of music teaching class enrollment. How do you see music education after the pandemic?

Nakata: I understand music education was only affected tentatively. After COVID-19 problem solved, it will revive. But it is hard to say if it fully returns to the previous level. The pandemic has changed our conception of value in many ways. If we can offer customer products and services matched to their needs, I think demands for music making will never decease, but rather, grow. “
“We faced problem in terms of school music programs even before the pandemic. Yamaha has promoted small size band and ensemble activities to cope with shrinking school programs. They will make effects after we return to normal. Take an instance, golf industry heavily promoted the sport to attract young players with versatile programs before the pandemic, but they failed. COVID-19 altered mind of youth, and now golf is popular among young generations. Musical instruments have great opportunities to appeal to new music makers if the industry employs proficient approaches.

Oshiki: The world still sails without clear views amid the pandemic. Do you have any tips proven effective through businesses crossing border?
Miki: As far as musical instruments are concerned, music retailers can impress visitors with their business polices, characteristic product lines, rich inventory etc. online. At the same time, I think it is essential that they upgrade communication capabilities with customer on the net. The new music makers picked up their instrument for the first-time during lockdown are not regular visitors to shops on street. They neither get access to retailer website for information. How can we stimulate their demands for music playing? The internet is the key.
Roland has started providing Roland community member with information in their need directly by linking hardware and software on Roland Cloud. Music retailers have many options, mail magazine, blog, or live commerce to communicate with local customer. Even if they do not have staff or device to start EC, they can take other effective marketing approaches at much lower expense today. I believe they can find prospective customer in their local area.

Nakata: We stay at home and cannot see friends and relatives in person. In this circumstance, Internet and SNS play a key role in communication. In China, live commerce we heavily promoted for some time generated a good result. Now, we are implementing the system in the Japanese market, too. It is sure that we would not introduce this type of market approach before the pandemic. A kind of marketing innovation. The new approach will help us provide customer of this day with services matched to their new shopping behavior.

Oshiki: One widely spoken topic in Japan is problem in digitalization of society and things. As we know Japanese music products market has declined year after year partly because of lower birth rate. Some JMIA members are concerned that leading manufacturers are likely to be more concentrated on overseas markets than domestic business. Do you have any comment on this issue?
Nakata: The domestic market has diminished these years, but we understand it is crucial for Yamaha today as it was in the past. We are based in Japan, and majority of people working for Yamaha are Japanese. Future of Yamaha solely depends on the point that our brand is well recognized in this market. Incidentally, we see the home market all important, never leave behind.

Miki: Having headquarters in Japan, this is the best test market in every way. Low birth rate and aging population are ongoing issues in Japan. Senior citizens have enough time and money to spend, and growing number of them have subsequent musical experience. Japan can be a test case how we promote music making to those seniors and develop the untapped market.
Nakata: Aside from low birth rate, Japan keeps sizable level of population which suggests there is more capacity to increase adult music makers offsetting decline of young musicians.

Build business that contributes to the society: Seek value than price
Oshiki: We organized Musical Instruments Fair Japan last year, the largest industry event online. Do you have any comments continuing it?
Nakata: We decided to organize it online last year for safety of the industry members and visitors. I think we can rebuild the event from the ground level. There is a market supported by ample demands here. Japanese consumer will appreciate the consumer show held every year here. It is a place for us to transmit information and communicate with end user.
Miki: I think we can organize the event in hybrid style of virtual and live experience every year at a smaller venue. It will allow visitors to try new gears on site, and people in remote area to take part online.
Oshiki: Any other ideas to increase music makers?
Miki: Well, JMIA can support music retailers helping them set up local community uploading musical performance of in-store studio students. Music retailers can build local communities connecting customers and providing network.
Nakata: Yes, network is the key. Manufacturers, retailers, and distributors can work together to build network which connects providers and end user. This will only be materialized by consolidated work and commitment of all industry members.

Oshiki: Closing this session, do you have any clues for the JMIA members?
Miki: All involved in the industry understand that Japanese market has prospective demands, but less than 10% of the population play music. When ask about musical experience in the past, about 20% or 30% of the population will nod. We know between 80% and 90% of people have ever played recorder. We will be able to inspire and support them to start music making again. We at Roland plan some programs including online events, and consumer-friendly promotions carried out at small budget.
Japan’s economy has been affected by decades of deflation. Price cutting pressure never brings growth to the industry. We can expect higher unit price by offering customer truly valuable products at proper price. Also, excellent services will contribute to increase our revenue.

Nakata: Mr. Miki and I share the same prospect for future business of the industry. We are engaged in this nice business. We get paid from musicians as we offer them tools to help inspire their musical expression. They enthrall audience with their fantastic music and make them feel pleasure of music. A great cycle which makes all involved happy.
Much is talked about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) these days. As much as we serve music makers, we successfully contribute to the society. Everyone involved in this business has extraordinary passion for music and musical instrument. With help of them, I believe we can consolidate our efforts to further develop Japan’s music products market.

July 12, 2021 11:09 AM

Yamano Gakki Sets Off Free Instore Music Experience Section

One of the leading music retail chains, Yamano Gakki has launched free music experience section at its outlets. First opened last December at Aeon Shopping mall in Ageo, Saitama-ken, the chain now operates it at 3 mall locations. Individual music experience section shares about 15 square meter space outfitted with a guitar, ukulele, violin, and saxophone offered for free experience as well as a sofa and a low table. Visitors are encouraged to try any instruments provided there which are rental gears for the instore music studio students.

Sales staff are trained at the attached music studios on basics of instruments offered in the section including holding position and how to produce sound.

Shunichi Niikura, consultant for Yamano Music says, “The largest customer group of shopping mall is parents accompanying children. We offer musical instruments popular among young children at the section. They are ready to touch and play in a relaxed setting. A lot of fathers and mothers have experience of music playing, and they talk with children about musical instruments they used to play when young. The sales staff are required to learn about basics of the instruments that are often not much familiar with in addition to standard customer services, but I expect the section serves to provide the visitors with a fun experience and motivate them to start music playing. In the end, I hope it leads to increase music makers.”

June 19, 2021 11:04 AM

Masayuki Iishi, Pearl CEO Talks On 75th Anniversary

Pearl Musical Instruments Co., Ltd., percussion and flute specialist manufacturer celebrates 75th anniversary this year. Japan Music Trades interviewed Masayuki Iishi, who assumed the CEO position of the company in this last January.

Born in Kyoto in 1971, Iishi joined Pearl in 1995. After served several key positions including president of Pearl Distribution Company in Holland, and director and managing director of Pearl headquarters in Japan, he was appointed to director in 2012, then to managing director in 2019 before assuming the CEO position.

MT: Well, looking back 75 years of drum and flute manufacturing, will you tell us early history of Pearl and your future prospects for the company as CEO?
Iishi: The 75th anniversary gave me an opportunity to look back the Pearl history and the goals we originally set. Katsumi Yanagisawa launched Pearl in 1946 manufacturing music stands. Soon he expanded business adding acoustic drums to meet growing demands of the time. It was a hard time right after the WWII producing quality drums without substantial supply of principal materials including woods. The engineers had great difficulties to develop drum shells using materials other than wood in perfect circle with excellent tonal resonance. In 1965 we successfully launched President series drums made of phenolic shell. They turned out to be the first professional drums under Pearl brand and made a breakpoint for the company.

The President drums became a sensation in the drum scene not only in Japan but also in the world markets. Sometime later, we developed wood shell drums in original design and production method. They were refined and integrated in ensuing years. We also developed acrylic shells, and special shells coated with carbon fiber on inner surface. History of shell development illustrates history of Pearl itself. We also expanded our lines to include drum hardware, racks, pedals, marching and concert drums, timpani as well as Latin percussions.

MT: Much is talked about reissue models of President Series developed in commemoration of 75th anniversary? (photo right: President Series Phenolic)
Iishi: Yes, we offer two types of shell using phenolic or lauan materials matched with state-of-the-art hardware for much improved tonal quality and durability. They will be appreciated by modern drummers. In fact, more than expected orders have poured in from drummers throughout the world.

MT: What do you think the core of Pearl is?
Iishi: It is to develop products that derives maximum inspiration and expression from individual musicians. We believe it is only possible with products built with highest precision technology. Pearl instruments meet the request of players with qualified technology and support them with proven sturdiness.
In addition, Pearl instruments allow players to select desired models matched to their needs. Purchaser can choose favorite materials from broad selections of the shell and parts, shapes of bearing edge for Masterworks line, the flagship model of Pearl drums.

MT: Peal flutes have also good reputation in the world markets?
Iishi: We started manufacturing flutes in 1968. The production expanded to Taiwan in 1973, but we still build hand-made models in Japan. Since we targeted worldwide distribution from the outset, we accelerated export of Pearl flutes in 1960s and launched two distributors, Pearl Corporation in U.S. and Pearl U.K. late 1970s. Pearl Music Europe (Holland) followed in 2002.

MT: COVID19 has totally changed our life, society and economy. What do you prospect for the years to come for Pearl?
Iishi: We have experienced and overcome multiple catastrophic incidents to this day, but this pandemic most affected our business in our history.
I took over full responsibility of the company at commemorative 75th anniversary and at the same time, in difficult time as our society, life and economic system dramatically change. Severe headwinds, but I thought we could adapt to the changes and develop strategic production and marketing for the future under ongoing new normal conditions. We set a new slogan, “Celebrating Our Past. Innovating Our Future” as Pearl group. It is we continue corporate efforts for our customers and partners. Realigning Pearl identity and brand value, we hope to keep contributing to players of all levels and countries with our instruments so that they can get inspired and explore their musicality.

While seeking essential possibilities of Pearl instruments, we think we can further enhance capabilities of percussion instruments of all genre. Customer needs change as our society is quickly changing. Pearl eMerge digital drum and Mallet Station are new generation of products developed under a new concept that can meet requirements of musicians today.
Our global distribution gives us increasing opportunities to expand our lines and services matched to indigenous music culture.

MT: We understand Pearl is respected for fine relationship with artists.
Iishi: On 75th anniversary a host of artists sent us warm messages. We appreciate them all and feel hamble that we have been supported by them to this day. Amid the pandemic, music performance and every type of gatherings were almost all cancelled, but that convinced us music is essential in our life and society. We hope artists coming back to their stage and please us with fantastic performance as early as possible.

MT: What do you think the challenges the industry has from a standpoint of manufacturer?
Iishi: EC market is growing globally. I think manufacturers and retailers can work together to get maximum advantage of it. We can support retailers providing effective measures to help customers visiting music stores enjoy exciting shopping experience and make appropriate purchase decisions. We need to provide end user with upgraded and well-coordinated information.
At the same time we, manufacturers have a mission to offer the market and music makers attractive and innovative products, value and services.

June 18, 2021 09:51 PM

Aoyama Harp Moved Tokyo Sales Office & Showroom

Aoyama Harp Company moved Tokyo sales office and showroom from Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, to Nibancho, Chiyodaku, and resumed operation on May 6.

Japan’s exclusive harp specialist manufacturer based in Fukui-ken, Aoyama Harp has launched the 1st Tokyo sales office and showroom in Shibuya-ku to serve customers in Northern Japan area distributing harps, strings, harp-related accessories and printed music as well as an education center offering harp lesson studios and consumer events.

Shin Aoyama, president, says, “We had instrument exhibit area and harp lesson studios separately before, but the new location has allowed us to accommodate every business and service under one roof. Now customers stay here longer than before browsing printed music section and visiting lesson studios.”

Entering the showroom, visitors can see a gorgeous display of Aoyama grand, irish and saul harps partitioned with acrylic panels. In addition to regular models it shows special models in custom design and color finishes. Aoyama plans to add a stage for musical events and seminar space.

The printed music section has more than 6,000 related books and sheet music. The shelves are all hand-made by Aoyama himself and workers with lumber left unused in harp production processes.

Four lesson studios are sound-controlled. The enrolled students are from kindergarten children to high school and university students, and adults including senior aged, many of them amateur musicians.

Aoyama concluded saying, “Before the pandemic, we had visitors not only from all over Japan but also countries throughout the world. It is a pity that almost all gone today. One positive side for us is there is a sizable domestic market and people have much interest in playing harp. I believe there are many ways to contribute harp culture, promote music making and tap the hidden market.”

June 17, 2021 06:14 PM

Suzuki Melodion Celebrates 60th Birthday

Suzuki Musical Instrument Manufacturing Co., Ltd. just announced Suzuki Melodion(melodica)turns 60.
Following the photo contest held last year as part of the 60th anniversary projects, the company opened a special online site recently and launched a new commemorative model on June 6.
Manji Suzuki, founder and late president of Suzuki first developed Melodion in 1961 seeking new business opportunities in the educational market. Six years later Japanese government regulated melodica as one of standard musical instruments to be used in school music programs. Suzuki Melodion stands for melody and accordion, and more than 80 models have been put into the market since then. To this day Suzuki has sold 27.3 million units distributed at 88 countries throughout the world.

Melodica has explored outside the educational market today and widely used by professional musicians and band members. For further promotion of the instrument among wider walks of people in the society, Suzuki named February 1 as Melodion (and melodica) Day last year which was approved as an official day by Japan Anniversary Association.

The new special site offers visitors development history of Melodion, all models introduced to date, artist interviews and their performances. The 60th anniversary model designed after PRO-37 V3 professional instrument is available in special Shining Green, Shining Yellow and Shining Red chassis which define growth, innovation and passion.

Kazunaga Tada, manager of Sales Dept. says, “More than expected responses we have received from customers than we announced 50th anniversary model 10 years ago. That means the market for melodica crossed the border from school to outer world. We have never imagined this scale of growth. It is our great pleasure that the collaboration with the Melodion artists in development works of PRO-37 V3 enhanced our relationship.”

The company plans to increase online seminars, promotion of lesson programs and raise more adult players of Melodion while preparing to organize real live concerts after the pandemic is over.

May 17, 2021 10:55 PM

Japan’s Music Products Market: Tips and the Prospects from An Expert

Japan Musical Instruments Association(JMIA) held the first webinar on April 12 inviting Tomoaki Tanaka, associate professor of Tokyo Keizai University (photo). It was part of the association’s new projects to be held regularly to upgrade services for the members. He completed 2019 Japanese Music Products Manufacturers Survey commissioned by JMIA last December.

In the opening remarks, Masato Oshiki, director of General Affairs of JMIA remarked, “We found last fall through questionnaire addressed to the members that they liked seminars helpful for their business, and innovative ideas to promote music making and market development. This webinar was held as the first program of the project serving their request.” A total of 100 industry leaders attended. The webinar will be archived and offered free view for JMIA members and for a fee for non-members.

The following is excerpts of Tomoaki Tanaka’s 80-minute webinar.

1. Japan’s Economic Index and Music Products Industry
Japanese GDP has grown consecutively since 2009 with the highest growth rate in 2000s specifically in the recent 8 years after 2013. Japan enjoyed excellent economy in the latter half of 2010s.

However, given that average annual growth rate remained below 2% level in the last 5 years, it is in a moderate downturn trend.

Economic prospect for coming years is unforeseeable partly because of COVID19, economists predict 3% growth in 2021. It is supposed to take several years to return to the level of 2019.

On the other hand, domestic demands and household expenditure has not been much influenced by economic fluctuation. During the peak period from 2013 to 2019, domestic demands and household expenditure kept same level of growth.

2. Size of Japan’s Music Products Market
According to public and private survey data, music products market is shrinking in a long run in Japan with minimum increase or flat sales during the last couple of years.

Backed by ‘Stay Home’ demands for items of limited categories, music products sales in 2021 are expected to be not much affected, just a minimum decline.

2017 Leisure Report shows population of music makers (Western style music) was 14.4 million in 2009. In 2016 it went down to 7 million.

It is estimated that the size of Japan’s music products market was 240 billion Yen in 2016. (source: Commerce Survey by The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry). It presumably went down to 200 billion Yen in 2020.

After 1972, music products sales including CDs and software increased during 1990s with total sales of nearly 800 billion Yen annually from 1997 to 1999, the highest level in the history.

3. Comparison with other industries
Music products market is smaller in size than sports, automobile, consumer electronics, casual clothing, drug store and travel industries, but the 3rd largest in growth rate in 2019.

Sports market with 1.5 trillion Yen annual sales is well comparable with the music products industry. It employs the same type of sales marketing featuring popular athletes in advertisement and has huge school market as well. Their marketing strategies may also work for the music products industry.

Some manufacturers in the music products industry are increasingly shifting from selling goods to providing consumer with fun experience these days. Sharing the same marketing philosophy, the industry competes directly with travel industry which gains 7.2 trillon Yen sales annually. Some people would argue that the two industries are ultimately different, nonsense to compare. Just think, households must always make decisions how much and for what they spend their money. It is wrong to assume that music products and the services the industry offer are immune to products and services provided by outside industries.

4. Tips for the industry
Despite declining birth rate, after school evening group classes are flourishing. People like to spend more money on practical and useful goods and services. Declining birth rate does not necessarily mean diminishing demands for musical instrument and music making.

Though people do not spend much money for music lesson than they used to be, tuition for music lesson is regarded worthful second only to sports-related lesson. It suggests music retailers can raise tuition for music lesson to get extra money, but they must make sure that they are offering students value-added services.

A survey shows that senior population from 65 years old to 75 years old who chose mobile payment increased 50% in 2020 than a year before. Over 90% of male population of this age group have Internet access and they favor brand-new gadgets. Also, women population of this age group prefer outings. They tend to behave and think like young people in their 20s, not much appreciate music making and received wisdom such as it helps keep healthy brain and physical functions. In terms of market development, music products industry has two prospective target groups, those young and young at heart.

Music products industry has a sizable 400 billion Yen market excluding related software, more than two times of the current level. Newly hired employees at your office may turn your concept of marketing and boost the industry business with unprecedented ideas and strategies unrestricted by the industry’s stereotype practice.

May 14, 2021 02:36 PM

Yamaha Redesigns Flagship Store in Ginza, Tokyo

Yamaha and Yamaha Music Japan completed redesigning of Yamaha Ginza flagship store and opened as a brand shop with a new concept offering visitors fun shopping and musical experiences on April 17. In conjunction, Yamaha Music Nagoya Store, the key location in Central Japan also finished redesigning project.

Music products are no exception these days sold like commodities as e-commerce increasingly prevails. New Yamaha Ginza Store is designed to be the latest information center of Yamaha brand. It is open to everyone even if when he or she doesn’t intend to buy any musical instruments and accessories or the need of repair services, but just seeks exciting musical experience.

Yamaha reopened the 1st and 2nd floors after renovation last October, and every redesigning of the first and second basement and 3rd, 4th and 5th floors completed this past April.

The 200-seat studio at the second basement floor has cutting edge sound system combining Yamaha’s exclusive AFC (Active Field Control) system and image control technology. Wonder Filming allows visitors to experience dynamic spacious sound coupled with visual image in a setting of virtual movie shooting.

The first basement floor accommodates LM products including guitars, drums and synthesizers in a comfortable setting as well as a drum selection studio set in Avitecs sound control room, an open space for events and a music production studio equipped with full music production system and software.

The 3rd floor is allocated for over 65,000 titles of printed music, music books and CDs. The 4th floor displays wind, string and percussion instruments including good number of them showed ready to try for the visitors. More than 50 models of Yamaha pianos, digital pianos and Electones, the largest class selection of Yamaha home keyboards in Japan are displayed on the 5th floor.

Mamoru Fukuzawa, manager of Ginza store says, “We are very pleased that the Yamaha Ginza Store was reborn as a friendly and comfortable communication spot more than ever for music makers and music enthusiasts. Customer can enjoy experiencing the latest Yamaha music products by visiting us or browsing virtually through our website. The in-store musical event programs are greatly enhanced with virtual live concerts, remote performances by Disklavier and live streaming.”

May 14, 2021 02:19 PM

Obituary Masakatsu Yanagisawa (1963-2021)

Masakatsu Yanagisawa, chairman, CEO of Pearl Musical Instruments Co., Ltd. passed away on March 29 at the age of 58.
As the 4th generation of Yanagisawa family, he headed the company founded by Katsumi Yanagisawa in 1952 until recently. He dedicated providing musicians with top quality Pearl percussion instruments and flutes. During his tenure, he much contributed to expand the domestic and international markets.
Pearl also distributes imported products including Sabian cymbals and gongs, Remo drum heads, Adams percussion instruments, Vic Firth sticks and mallets.

April 12, 2021 03:31 PM

Pearl Celebrates 75 Years Anniversary Online

Pearl carried a special event on April 2 on Pearl YouTube channel in celebration of its 75th anniversary. The company announced new anniversary models and presented artists talk sessions, concerts featuring renowned drummers including Hiro Tsunoda, Maya from LUNA SEA, Natsume from Shazna and Raise A Suilen, and marching drills by Oarai Highschool Blue Hawks marching band. The visitors also enjoyed virtual flute factory tour of Pearl as well as flute concerts.

April 12, 2021 01:46 PM

2020 Japanese Musical Instruments Export and Import

Japan exported a total of 60.3 billion yen worth of musical instruments, parts and accessories in 2020, a 15% decrease over the previous year. But almost all categories went down compared to the year before. While upright & grand piano exports which share the largest value of the total export declined 10%, brass instruments and other wind instruments significantly declined by roughly 30% and 20%, respectively.

5 top categories of upright & grand pianos, reed instruments & other wind instruments, piano parts & accessories, and brass instruments shared 78% of the total exports in 2020, and they all underperformed. Upright piano exports were 20,365 million yen, a 12.4% decline from the previous year, and grand piano exports were 12,002 million yen, a 12.7% decline. Digital piano exports jumped up 234% in unit and 142% in value, largely attributed to soared demands during lockdown worldwide. Reed instruments and other wind instruments also declined about 25.6%.

Electric guitar exports maintained upward trend with 46,000 units, a 16% increase and 3.1 billion yen, a 6% increase over the last year. Since this category includes used guitars, the sizable increase of this category may reflect increased shipment of them through cross-border e-commerce.

Export of the top 5 categories (2020 and 2019)
1.Upright pianos 20.37 (22.87)
2.Grand pianos 12.00 (13.52)
3.Reed instruments and other wind instruments 7.70 (9.67)
4.Piano parts and accessories 3.57 (4.77)
5.Brass instruments 3.36 (5.04)
( in billion yen)

Import trades also went down in many categories from 57.02 billion yen the year before to 47.9 billion yen, or 16% decline, but guitars and other string instruments imports rose 7% to 4.5 billion yen, and 18% to 1.1 billion yen, respectively. Though slightly decreased in value, import of electronic musical instruments with keyboard increased 17% to 770,000 units.
The top 10 import categories share 82% of the total imports.
Import of the top 10 categories (2020 and 2019)
1. Electronic musical instruments with keyboard 10.28 (11.25)
2. Electric guitars 5.97 (6.74)
3. Acoustic guitars 4.49 (4.19)
4. Parts and accessories of other musical instruments 4.42 (5.92)
5. Other wind instruments 3.65 (5.11)
6. Parts and accessories of electric and electronic musical instruments 2.88 (2.89)
7. Piano parts and accessories 2.70 (2.99)
8. Musical instrument strings 1.79 (2.16)
9. Other electronic musical instruments 1.70 (1.31)
10. Brass instruments 1.53 (2.21)
 (in billion yen)
As U.K. left EU at the end of January, 2020, the January import and export data of the country are included in EU data.
(Source: Customs Bureau, The Ministry of Finance)

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