After the fall of the vinyl industry during the 80s, and despite technological developments, we have been witnessing a renaissance of a cult for this object coming from the past. Sonny recently relaunched its vinyl pressing business in Japan in 2018, sales of turntables exploded and vinyl sales continued to increase in the last 5 years in Europe and the United States. But as the pros of the vinilistic world would tell you, it’s in Japan that you will find the best vinyls in the world, because the land of the rising sun has always worshiped culture and kept original pressing in exceptional condition. In addition, since 2010, Japanese companies have recalled their former employees and increased their production by 10. Today, Japan is the second largest music market in the world.
When streaming is everywhere, why vinyl seduces so much?
Vinyls have an extraordinary sound quality close to the original sound and exceeds the CD or the streaming and in plus the cover artwork brings as much to the music as the music adds to the illustration. In short, it is one of the few collectibles combining visual and audio as well.
The wonderful vinyls of Japan
If the Japanese vinyl has marked the music history, it’s first of all for the quality of its sound extremely clear, almost clinical obtained thanks to the precision of the Japanese engineers’ Cutting in charge of engraving the audio signal on a matrix in resin or copper, thus transforming the frequencies of a music into microgrooves. Then, Japanese presses are limited to an average production of 10,000 copies per machine, while in the United States, for example, the same mold is used to create about 60,000 copies. Japanese pressed vinyls are also rarely remastered or remixed and thus are more faithful to the original recording.
Japan also propose incredible music catalogs especially about the 1950s Jazz. At that time, the black musicians left United States and their racial segregation, and went to Japan, which sheltered many American bases. In the clubs where the musicians played, the Japanese then captured some of the most beautiful moments of jazz, with at the time a very advanced technology. In addition, American albums recorded in Japan are banned from export which also explains that whole sections of music catalogs exist only on the Japanese market. Finally, it is not only the sound dimension of the Japanese vinyl that distinguishes it from the others, there is also its very special pocket due to the quality of the paper, the cardboard, the printing, and the ornamentation.
Where to find the best record stores in Tokyo?
In Tokyo, the number of record stores is simply crazy, whether big chains or independents. Here are some of the best.
Adress : Face Records – 10-2,Udagawa-cho – Shibuya – Tokyo,Japan
Sélection: Soul, Jazz, Reggae.
Adress: Lighthouse Records –〒150-0043 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Dōgenzaka, 2 Chome−9−2 正実ビル
Sélection electronic music, disco, House music
Adress: 7 Chome-13-5 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0023
Sélection : Jamaïcain music, Ska, Dub, Roots, Dancehall etc.
Adresse : Next Records – 〒150-0042 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Udagawachō, 11, 宇田川町11-11 柳光ビル本館 2階, Japon
Sélection : Funk, Disco, Dance, Rnb.
Adresse : HMV Records – 〒150-0042 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Udagawachō, 36−２ノア渋谷 1F/2F, Japon
Selection: japanese music, imports Soul and Jazz.
Adress: 〒150-0042 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Udagawachō, 33, 宇田川町33-14 久保ビル 2F
Sélection: House, Dance, Techno, electronic music in general
Adress : Discland Jaro – 〒150-0042 Tokyo, Shibuya, 宇田川町26−6, Japon
Sélection: Vintage and new japanese music
Adress : Disc Union – 〒150-0042 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Udagawachō, 30, 渋谷区宇田川町３０−７アンテナ21 2F/3F, Japon
Sélection: New and old vinyls. 1 store/1 style.
Adresse : Manhattan Records – 〒150-0042 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Udagawachō, 10−10-1 木船ビル, Japon
Sélection: Hip Hop, Rap, Break. Music from 1980s
Adresse : Sanko Bldg. 1F, 4-3-2, Koenji-minami, Suginami-ku, Tokyo 166-0003Selection: African music, Caribbean, Haitian, pop, rock, electro, indie Japanese, traditional music of Central Asia etc.
Adress : Hifi Record Store – 6-19-17, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku Perrier Jjingumae Bld. 3F, 6 Chome-19 Jingūmae, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0001
Selection: Brazilian, soul-funk, country, blues, jazz, music from the Indian subcontinent etc.