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Die Entwicklung der Schallplatte aus japanischer Sicht

überarbeitet im April 2019 - Im Anschluß an eine Zusamenstellung der Entwicklung der Magnetbandtechnik - aus japanischer Sicht - habe ich eine weitere Zusammenstellung über die der Geschichte der Entwicklung der Schallplatte in Japan und weltweit gefunden.

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5.5.6 Special Records

. Card Records

From the days of SP records, attempts were made to produce paper records by pressing grooves onto postcards or cards with photos or paintings.

Initially, grooves were pressed onto the surface of printed card paper directly, but commercial quality was unable to be achieved due to the noise generated.

Next, grooves were pressed onto card paper laminated with cellulose acetate film, and such records were used to promote tourism (sometimes they contained folk songs), as well as for other advertising purposes.

However, this type of record had to be pressed one by one in order to prevent misalignment of artwork and grooves, meaning that there were disadvantages, such as the difficulty of mass production and inconsistency in terms of sound quality due to the undulating nature of the surface material.

Playback could also sometimes be affected by the problem of warping, which was caused by differences in constriction rate between the film and base paper. Cellulose acetate film subsequently gave way to vinyl chloride film and double-sided records with pictures appeared, as mentioned in the following section. Records with Pictures

Although various methods of production were developed to produce records with pictures, the main method was to dust paper with a printed picture on it with vinyl powder and then to cut grooves on it.

The other method was to use photogravure to print a picture on the back of vinyl acetate film that had already been punched out in a certain record size and to have the back of the picture painted in white to make the picture stand out, in which case two sheets were placed together back to back and then pressed in the normal way. Phonosheets

In the fall of 1958, the French record manufacturer SAIP developed a technology that made continuous production of records from thin, flexible vinyl sheet (0.13–0.2mm thick) possible using a stamper.

These flexi discs, which were also called phonosheets or soundsheets, were sometimes included in magazines. In Japan, the monthly "Asahi Sonorama" magazine included them and they were referred to as “Sonosheets.” Phonosheet production peaked at 6 million per month between 1963 and 1965, after which it declined. Mystery Records

In March 1932, during the era of SP records, JVC released a record that had multiple grooves and made different sounds according to the place where the needle was dropped. This was called a Mystery Record and became a topic of conversation at the time. Sonopic and Panapic

These were non-rotating phonosheet playback systems that employed a small moving pickup cartridge with a stylus to play a stationary record engraved on a plastic patch. Uses ranged from children’s storybooks to educational material, such as English conversation. Other Record Formats

Although the main sizes of records during the SP era were 10" (= 25 cm) and 12" (= 30 cm) for 78er SP records, there were also other sizes on the market, such as 8" and 5" records.

Once 33er LP and 45er EP records became more popular, 12"-, 10"- and 7" records became the mainstream, but 8", 6.3" and 3" records were also available at the time. The Filmon

Please refer 2.3.2 of this paper for the unique Japanese Filmon media.

  • Anmerkung : Auch hier keine Erwähnung der Tefifon Schallband-Kassette.


5.6 Playback Pickup and Record Player Developments


5.6.1 Phonographs

The competition between cylinder records and disk records continued even after entering the 20th century. Although Edison tried to promote cylinder records by developing the cylinder phonograph, he ended up developing a record player for high quality vertically-cut (Tiefenschrift wie auf dem Cylinder - sein Patent) disk records that could record vertical high-amplitude signals, which brought confusion into this competition, resulting in the dominance of disk records.

5.6.2 Electric Gramophones

Until 1924, all records had been recorded acoustically and without electricity. Although that method was suitable for recording vocal pieces, the lower frequencies of which it is difficult to capture, it was not suitable for recording orchestral music.

Furthermore, it seems that the sound quality from the (very first) radio (150–1,500 Hz), which was free to listen to, was better than that of records (300–1,500 Hz).

With the commercialization of electrical audio equipment that utilized vacuum tubes shortly after they were invented, such as the microphone, it became possible to record bass more clearly and electric gramophones grew in popularity.

In terms of pickups, the crystal pickup was gaining attention due to the fact that it was compatible with high-impedance vacuum tubes, it was not susceptible to mains hum, and its large output level and relatively cheaper price.

5.6.3 LP Cartridges

While compact and cheap crystal pickups contributed to the popularization of LPs, in the 1950s, specialist audio manufacturers appeared in the US.

The three famous types were "G.E." variable reluctance (VR) cartridges, "Pickering" balanced armature (BA) cartridges and "Fairchild" moving coil (MC) cartridges.

Although Japanese cartridges were brought to market around the same time, they were mostly imitations of American products, except for the STAX CP-20 (Showa Photo- Acoustic Industries KK), which was a condenser pickup system uniquely and proudly made in Japan and exhibited at the first Japanese Audio Fair in 1952. Pickup oscillation was extremely light and it could playback LP records with a tracking force of only 1g.

5.6.4 Stereo Cartridges

The prototype for the 45/45 stereo disk recording system was completed by "Westrex Corporation" in 1957 and was adopted by the RIAA as the industry standard (stylus tip of 0.7-1.0 mil radius and vertical force of 6 grams) in March 1958.

That same year, stereo records were released from 19 labels in the United States, followed by JVC and Nippon Columbia in Japan.

It is no exaggeration to say that the advent of stereo records caused the 1960s audio industry boom in the US followed by the boom in Japan in the 1970s. In terms of crystal pickups, in 1960 Takeo Shiga (former director of Nippon Columbia) invented the “cigar cartridge,” which picks up stereo signals using a pair of piezoelectric crystal elements that were cut using a proprietary method.

Although crystal cartridges had the advantage of being light and cheap, the high impedance required of the crystal cartridges caused problems when impedance was lowered with the introduction of transistors into amplifiers, while the lightness of the needle meant that trackability was poor.

So, crystal pickups were only really popular for the first half of the stereo age, after which they became obsolete.

5.6.5 VLP Tonearms

When LP records were introduced, heavy tonearms were still used, such as the oil-damped Gray 108B tonearm, which was often used in combination with GE variable reluctance (VR) cartridges.

Once stereo cartridges were introduced, this type of tone arm faded away because such arms rested on a single pivot Nadel / Kolben), which meant that the arm could move freely to the left and right, causing crosstalk when combined with stereo cartridges.

Furthermore, due to their high equivalent mass, when combined with stereo high compliance cartridges the resonant frequency of these tonearms was reduced to only a few Hertz, and there was noise during playback due to record warping and eccentricity.

5.6.6 Stereo Tonearms

Although the oil-damped Gray tonearm captured the market during the monaural era, once stereo records were introduced in 1958, tonearms required a different design where playback had to be achieved with a low equivalent mass and light tracking force of 2–3g, with the resonant frequency set at around 10 Hz.

A mechanism called an inside force canceler, which cancels the inside force that occurs due to the centrifugal force produced when playing records using a light tracking force, was also adopted on many tonearms.

A mechanism for adjusting the vertical tracking angle of the cartridge during playback of stereo records to 15 degrees, the same as the cutting angle, also came to be used on many tonearms.

Tonearm tracking force adjustment consisted of statically balanced tonearms and dynamically balanced tonearms, which used a spring.

5.6.7 Turntable Motors

Ordinary shaded-pole induction motors or permanent-split capacitor motors were used to drive turntables, while hysteresis synchronous motors were used for high-quality players.

Development of idler drive turntables (also called rim drive turntables) by "The Alliance Manufacturing Company" (the U.S.) in 1938 started the low-cost record player boom. It is also worth-mentioning that autochangers for LP players became popular in Europe and the US, although they did not catch on in Japan (sie haben in Japan nicht eingeschlagen).

5.6.8 Direct Drive Turntable Motors

In the 1960s, although rim drive turntables were replaced with belt-drive turntables on account of the improved wow and flutter, the degree of improvement was still not sufficient.

Around the same time, servomotors started to be used in various units. In terms of turntable motors, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. announced the technology for the first direct-drive turntable motor in June 1969, followed by the introduction of a DC servo direct-drive turntable motor.

Nippon Columbia followed suit by releasing an AC servomotor ahead of other companies that released similar products.

6 Changes and Shipment Trends in the Record Industry and Record Player Industry


6.1 Changes and Shipment Trends in the Record Industry

The history of the record industry in Japan began in October 1907, when F.W. Horn Trading Company of Yokohama established Japan-American Phonograph Manufacturing Co., Ltd. in Kawasaki and commenced to manufacture disk records and phonographs.

Two years later this company was taken over by Japan Phonograph Trading Co., Ltd. (one of Horn’s other companies and the predecessor to today’s Columbia Music Entertainment, Inc.) and by 1912, monthly production volumes had jumped to 150,000 units for records and 5,000 units for phonographs.

Although both single- and double-sided records were being produced at the time, from 1915 onwards, only double-sided records were produced.

After that, in May 1927, Nippon Polydor Chikuonki Co., Ltd. was established, followed in September of the same year by the Victor Talking Machine Company of Japan, Ltd.

Colombia acquired a controlling interest in the Nipponophone Company, the successor to The Japan Phonograph Trading Co., Ltd., and the following year (1928) the first electrically-recorded record in Japan was released by the company, which had been renamed Japan Colombia Phonograph.

In 1931, Kodansha, Ltd. established King Record Co., Ltd. as its music division and Teikoku Gramophone Co., Ltd. (predecessor of Teichiku Entertainment, Inc.) was established in 1934.

In April 1942, the Japan Phonograph Record Cultural Association (predecessor of the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ)) was established.

After the end of the war, record production commenced once again in October 1945.

Neubeginn nach 1945 mit der Viny-LP

Japan’s first 30cm LP record was released by Nippon Columbia in 1951, and Japan’s first 17cm 45-rpm EP record was released by Victor Company of Japan, Ltd (JVC) three years later in May 1954.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Japan Audio Society was established in October 1952.

In August 1958, the first 45/45 stereo records were manufactured in Japan and within a year, all Japanese record companies were producing them.

As restrictions on foreign capital investment were lifted in July 1967 as part of the gradual promotion of foreign investment, in record manufacturing industry it became possible for foreign companies to hold 50%.

  • Anmerkung : Der japanische MArtk war bis 1967 sehr restriktiv geschlossen für Ausländer.


Table 6.1 Important events in the history of the Japanese record industry.

As a result of such measures (gesetzliche Maßnahme), Sony Corporation and Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. of the US established CBS-Sony Record in Japan as a fifty-fifty joint venture in March 1968.

Major events in the history of the Japanese record industry are listed in Table 6.1, while changes in analog record annual production volumes and annual sales are shown in Fig. 6.1.

As you can see, the annual production volume for 78-rpm SP records reached 30 million units in 1936, and 94.6 million units for 30cm or 25cm LP records in 1976 (worth ¥12.36 billion), and was in excess of ¥100 million for 17cm 45-rpm EP records in 1979.

1877 Cylinder phonograph invented by Thomas Edison.
1887 Flat disk phonograph record and gramophone invented by Emile Berliner.
1907 Japan-American Phonograph Manufacturing Co., Ltd. established. Disk record and phonograph manufacturing commenced.
1909 Japan-American Phonograph Manufacturing Co., Ltd. and Japan Phonograph Trading Co.Ltd. (predecessor to today’s Columbia Music Entertainment, Inc.) took over manufacturing and sales.
1912 Japan Phonograph Trading Co., Ltd. monthly production volume reached 150,000 units for records and 5,000 units for phonographs.
1915 Japan Phonograph Trading Co., Ltd. stopped producing single-sided record and focused on double-sided records.
1927 Nippon Polydor Chikuonki Co., Ltd. and Victor Talking Machine Company of Japan, Ltd. were established.
1928 First electrically recorded records in Japan released by Japan Colombia Phonograph.
1930 Kodansha, Ltd. established King Record Co., Ltd. as its music division.
1931 RCA Victor US released 33 1/3-rpm long-play (LP) records.
1934 Teikoku Gramophone Co., Ltd. (predecessor of Teichiku Entertainment, Inc.) was established.
1942 Japan Phonograph Record Cultural Association (predecessor of the Recording Industry Association of Japan) was established.
1948 Columbia Recording Corporation in the US introduced 33 1/3-rpm LP records.
1949 RCA Victor US released 7-inch EP records.
1951 Nippon Colombia released Japan’s first 12-inch LP records.
1955 First successful commercial production of polyvinyl chloride in Japan.
1958 Victor Company of Japan, Ltd. (JVC) released Japan’s first 45/45 stereo records in August, ahead of any other companies.
  Toshiba commenced sales of records with an anti-static agent.
1959 Publication of Asahi Sonorama magazine and Sonosheet sheet records was commenced.
1966 JVC commenced sales of the Philips compact cassette system.
1967 First deregulation of foreign capital investment in Japan (50% foreign capital share allowed in record industry).
  Nippon Columbia released 30 cm 45 rpm records.
1968 CBS-Sony Record Inc. was established with foreign capital of 50%.
1969 Nippon Victor announced 4-channel system (CD-4). Nippon Columbia released record produced using direct-cutting method.
1970 Nippon Columbia released records produced using non-distortion cutting (playback distortion adjustment records).
1971 Nippon Columbia released records produced using pulse code modulation (PCM)/digital recording. Four-channel matrix systems adopted by other companies in Japan.
1972 Nippon Columbia continued using PCM/digital recording for record production and sales inside and outside Japan.
1982 Sales of domestically produced CDs commenced by CBS-Sony, Epic/Sony and Columbia in Licensing of CD rentals commenced.
1986 Domestic sales for CDs superseded domestic sales for 30 cm/25 cm LP record.
1987 Sales of DAT made in Japan commenced by Matsushita, Aiwa and Sharp.
1989 Athens Agreement signed (serial copy management system (SCMS adopted).
  The Ministry of International Trade and Industry overseas the incorporation of SCMS in commercialization of DAT.
1990 First international meeting regarding recording technology held and introduction of International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) agreed on.

In the mid-1980s, LP and EP record production volumes dwindled while compact discs (CDs) took their place. This phenomenon can also be observed in the state of record player sales (Table 6.3).

In terms of analog record imports/exports, LP record production volumes peaked in Japan in 1976 (Table 6.2).

Table 6.2 Analog record exports/imports.
Exports (number): Approx. 720,000|Exports (value): Approx. ¥430 million
Imports (number): Approx. 3.6 million|Imports (value): Approx. ¥2.95 billion

The volume of imported records was five times the volume of exports, while the import value was seven times the value of exports. This figure becomes even greater when the licensing fee to produce hit records of overseas artists in Japan is included.

Most of the exported records were bought by foreigners who appreciated the good sound and quality of Japanese audiophile records, Japanese who lived overseas and the people around them. Once digital recording outside Japan became common practice, the destinations of record exports were mostly these countries where such recording was carried out.

Needless to say, it takes songs, singers, producers and recording technologies that can hold their own on the world stage to counter the imbalance caused by excessive imports. The phenomenon that was ridiculed by Charles de Gaulle still continues.

6.2 Changes and Shipment Trends in the Record Player Industry

Although the audio industry can be categorized into various fields, in the same way as for records, the starting point for audio equipment in Japan was the establishment of Japan-American Phonograph Manufacturing Co., Ltd. in Kawasaki by F.W. Horn Trading Company of Yokohama in October 1907 and the subsequent production of the first disk records and record players. By 1912, monthly production volumes had jumped to 150,000 units for records and 5,000 units for phonographs.

The situation with regard to analog records and record players
is somewhat of a “chicken and egg” relationship, meaning that it is wholly dependent on the stereo record player ownership rate.

As shown in Table 6.3, the ownership rate of 3.7% in 1961 gradually grew to exceed the 30% mark in 1970, the point that had been awaited by many stakeholders, and reached 53.8% in 1976, when LP record production peaked.

First, non-electric record players gave way to electric record players, and then came the age of the all-in-one stereo systems that became a prominent part of the consumer electronics industry.

After that, as shown in Fig. 6.2, all-in-one stereo systems gave way to stereo record player units with detachable speakers (peaked around 1973 with an ownership rate at 44.4%), followed by compact 3-piece stereo systems (peaked around 1974 with an ownership rate of 46%), component stereo systems (popular around 1977, 1988 and 2001), modular component systems (peaked around 1979 with an ownership rate of 56.5%), and compact stereo component systems (peaked around 1984), changing about every eight (six to ten) years.

Table 6.3 Stereo system/tape recorder ownership trends in Japan (Economic Planning Agency Consumption and Saving)

Month/Year___ Farmers Non-Farmers Cities with a Population of 50,000 or More All Households Tape Recorder Ownership in All Households
February 1961 - - 3.7% - -
February 1962 - - 7.2% - -
February 1963 2.1% - 10.8% - -
February 1964 3.4% 11.3% 13.4% 9.0% 8.7%
February 1965 5.0% 17.2% - 13.5% 14.6%
February 1966 5.5% 20.2% 23.9% 16.7% 17.9%
February 1967 9.2% 23.5% 25.8% 19.8% 22.5%
February 1938 13.4% 27.5% 28.9% 24.1% 24.5%
February 1969 15.8% 30.5% 32.5% 27.3% 28.6%
February 1970 18.6% 34.6% 36.6% 31.2% 30.8%
February 1971 21.9% 37.1% 38.7% 33.9% 33.3%
February 1972 27.3% 43.6% 43.1% 40.4% 38.1%
February 1973 31.5% 47.0% 48.5% 44.4% 42.1%
February 1974 35.0% 49.2% 50.4% 47.0% 47.0%
February 1975 41.5% 53.7% 55.6% 52.1% 51.6%
February 1976 43.7% 55.4% 56.2% 53.8% 55.9%
February 1977 46.6% 56.8% 57.9% 64.9% 56.2%
February 1978 48.8% 57.6% 57.8% 56.3% 59.3%

In terms of component stereo systems, however, thanks to constant technological innovation over the last 40 years, supply of such systems has continued right throughout that time. Analog record players were included in such component stereo systems, even after sales of analog disk records were discontinued.

President Charles de Gaulle partly gave up on the situation regarding France’s export and import of stereo record players in 1962, in that in terms of home stereo system imports/exports, unlike the situation with analog records, in 1963, exports, at 600,000 units, were 20 times higher than imports, which amounted to 30,000 units.

After CD records became well-accepted by the general public, radio cassette player with CD players hit the market, peaking around 1988, followed by smaller compact stereo component systems and even smaller micro stereo component systems, which peaked around 1995, before we entered the age of the Internet and online music.

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