Musical Instruments Fair Association Japan closed space request for 2014 Musical Instruments Fair on April 30, and announced a total of 147 companies and 5 groups have reserved exhibit space for the Fair staged from November 21 through 23 at Tokyo Big Site West Halls.

The Fair Association announced cancellation of 2013 session in favor of the industry requests for an event matched to the changing market, needs of the participating companies and the industry.
After extensive hearings from the industry leaders and experts, the association decided to stage a Fair at a new location this fall increasingly focused on business.

The coming Fair offers the exhibitors and visitors a host of new attractive schemes including an on-site retail mall and an exhibition covering every product line from traditional instruments to electronic gears. The fair regulation for sound control at the fair site restricted exhibit of acoustic drums in the last fairs, but they return this time at a separate venue which invite professionals and expecting drummers for experiencing 20 different acoustic drumsets readily available to play. A comprehensive exhibit of leading grand pianos is also staged for piano players.

On-site Retail Mall is the first experiment of the Fair to support music dealers and their businesses. The organizer is planning to stage an information kiosk where the visitors can get information where they can buy products exhibited at booths during the morning of the first day.

Further information on 2014 Musical Instruments Fair Japan is available from;      

K. Yairi Guitar, one of Japan's leading guitar manufacturers, staged a memorial reception at Ala Cultural Centre, Gifu Pref. for Kazuo Yairi who passed away on March 5 at the age of 83. Funeral service was held earlier by family members and company workers.

Kazuo Yairi was a renowned craftsman having raised Yairi guitars to a world-class brand. His instruments are much acclaimed among top guitarists throughout the world for superior tonal quality. He was also known as a warm-hearted man and loved by musicians and industry members for his passionate, admirable characters. K. Yairi guitars are distributed under Alvarez Yairi in U.S. and other foreign markets. K. Yairi was the first guitar maker to sell all instruments with a life-long warranty.

Yairi-guitars.jpgIn addition to 260 family members, industry people and K. Yairi Guitar workers, over 600 friends and customers visited the ceremony hall to give him farewell. His two grand daughters, Kenji Koike, master craftsman at K. Yairi, and members of Okinawa-based unit 'Begin' delivered heart-felt speeches. Yairi co-developed "Ichigo Ichiye", a unique 4-string instrument with Begin. (photo below, the K. Yairi guitars he built were displayed.)

Yoshimitsu Yairi, general manager, expressed that the company would continuously build K. Yairi guitars keeping Kazuo's guitar making policy in mind.

Renner Japan, Piano Disc Japan Launched

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RJPD-reception.jpgLouis Renner, Germany-based leading manufacturer of hammerheads and key actions, launched a Japanese arm last year at Warabi-shi, Saitama-ken, to meet the growing needs of replacement parts in Japan. In the past, importers and individual piano tuners imported and distributed Renner products for customers, however, due to broad diversity of the product lines, they had problem delivering right parts timely to individual customers. (photo left: opening party held at the courtyard.

Renner has been building world distribution network establishing exclusive distributors in the major markets. Renner Japan provides piano technicians with a complete selection of more than 6,000 parts widely distributed in the Japanese market, brochures and information upon request. (photos:right, Gen Yadori flanked with Rick Baldassin, Renner U.S.A. and Cristina Cazzaniga, Renner Germany right, Gen Yadori and Tom Lagomasino, Vice President, PianoDisc.)

U.S.-based PianoDisc opened recently at the same location as Renner Japan. The company offers automatic piano playing systems including iQ Intelligent Player units and Magic Star, a built-in player piano system, distributed under QuietTime brand. (photo left.  photo below,

In Japan, hybrid piano system is widely distributed by several manufacturers, but only Yamaha supplies Disklavier automatic piano playing system built into new pianos. PianoDisc is expected to satisfy the needs of automatic playing system to be installed after piano is purchased. Gen Yadori, president of Renner Japan and PianoDisc Japan commented, "While producing on-line Renner catalog in Japanese, we plan to provide our customers with product information, and organize technical seminars for piano technicians to better serve Japanese market. As to PianoDisc products, we are contemplating to open showrooms in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka to promote iQ Flash Piano Automatic Player System in the market." (photo: reception counter with an extensive selection of Renner parts at the back wall.)

The new companies are located at: Renner Japan-  1-13-20-A1 Nishiki-cho, Warabi-shi, Saitama 335-0005. Tel: 048-434-6750, PianoDisc Japan- 1-13-20-A3 Nishiki-cho, Warabi-shi, Saitama 335-0005. Tel: 048-434-6767.

Roland to Go Private

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Jyunichi Miki, president of Roland Corporation, announced at press conference held in Hamamatsu on 14 that the company would go privately held company by management buy out. Tokowaka Corporation in Tokyo headed by Jyunichi Miki conducts TOB to purchase Roland common stock at yen1,875 from May 15 through June 25. Taiyo Fund, the second largest stock holder of Roland has reportedly agreed to support Miki and accept TOB offer. Roland stocks closed at yen1,582 on May 14 jumped up to yen1,868 on 15 after the announcement. It's reported that total amount to complete MBO is 4.16 million yen at the maximum. Miki reportedly serves as CEO of the company after MBO completes.  

The financial crisis in 2008 seriously damaged Roland's sales of digital musical instruments. The transaction is expected to contribute to smooth decision making under new management team, and accelerating structural reform by concentration in core competence. When it goes successful, Roland can move much more flexibly to cope with the changing market and consumer needs.

Miki said, "As a private company, we would rebuild our business structure for sustained growth in the future free from short-term business assessment by stock market." He attributed stagnant sales of Roland digital musical instruments to changing consumer tastes for inexpensive products. Demands for high quality but expensive Roland instruments quickly declined after the financial crisis. The company's consolidated sales for 2013 closed at March 31 turned black after 5 consecutive terms in loss, however, Miki said that it was mainly accomplished by weakened Yen against major currencies, but sales actually deteriorated.

According to 2013 Roland annual report announced on 14, total sales for the year was 8,567 million yen, an 18.4 % increase over the same term of last year. Net profit for the term was 470 million yen against 4,066 million yen loss in 2013.

Roland also announced a plan that Roland D.G., a subsidiary of Roland, manufacturer and distributor of industry inkjet printers, 3D laser scanners, cutting plotters, digital engravers, etc. would buy back 3,560,000 stocks of Roland D.G owned by Roland, which represent 40% of the total stocks. If voting stocks of Roland declines under 40%, Roland D.G. will become an affiliated company accounted for by the equity-method.


JMT's retail music monthly survey found excellent sales in March as consumer rushed into music stores for last-minute shopping before consumption tax hike on April 1st.
Sales significantly increased on 9 tracked product categories of acoustic pianos, digital pianos, electric and acoustic guitars, stringed instruments, percussion instruments, digital music products, wind instruments and accessories. The music dealers reported extremely high customer traffic and average sales price. The last 10 days saw more than expected sales in particular with high demands for expensive items.

Eventually, the anticipated tax hike helped the music dealers prompting consumer to buy any music products they plan to buy in the near future.
Industry experts are cautiously watching coming April report. But, many dealers are optimistic saying sales dip after April will be moderate and not much affect business as a whole.
All dealers reported better sales over February. Demands were the strongest for electric guitars and wind instruments, which were followed by acoustic guitars and percussion instruments. Consumer also purchased online more than other months.


2nd Steinway Concours Finals in Japan

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Steinway Japan hosted 2nd Steinway Concours Finals in Japan at Oji Hall, Ginza, on March 30.

Inaugurated in 1936 in Hamburg, Germany, the concours offer young piano players under 16 years old, an authentic stage experience. Today, it's staged in Belgium, France, Denmark, Holland, Spain, Sweden, and more recently in China and South East Asia as well.

The largest objective of the concours is offering young talented pianists an experience to play for audience and enjoy playing Steinway piano from early age of life.

A total of 300 participants performed at semi-finals taken place at 8 cities throughout Japan this year, and 31 pianists from 4 categories were invited to the finals.

Kazuhiro Goto, president of Steinway Japan, (photo right) commented, "The contestants displayed marvelous technique and understanding of music. I was much impressed by the extremely transparent sound they delivered. Apparently, they practiced more than once on Steinway piano at local dealers and acquired a refined sense for sound. They looked very relaxed on stage enjoying playing piano. We all felt that our policy was well understood by both the contestants and audience."

Fourteen players were awarded, and Sayaka Hada from Category D (ages between 14 and 16), (photo below left) won a Grand Prix and Audience Awards. She is invited to perform at International Steinway Festival to be held from September 5 through 8 in Hamburg. 





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.



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