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Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011

Tokyo jazz shop bucks online trend with 100,000 CDs and LPs

Kyodo News

A store in Tokyo's Ochanomizu district that claims to be one of the world's largest jazz record shops has been attracting music enthusiasts from around the world since it opened in November.

News photo
All that jazz: A shopper browses through the offerings at diskunion JazzTokyo in the Ochanomizu district. The LP and CD store bills itself as one of the world's largest devoted to the genre. KYODO PHOTO

Called diskunion JazzTokyo, it boasts some 100,000 new and used CDs and LPs, though a lot of them are stored in the back. Some 15,000 new CDs, 20,000 used CDs and 20,000 LPs are lined up on the shelves.

While music listeners have increasingly been downloading their favorite music, customers are crowding this store even on weekday mornings.

"Deep music fans still buy (something physical) because they aren't completely satisfied by digital music," said Koki Hanawa, who oversees diskunion record stores in Ochanomizu and Shinjuku.

There are quite a number of longtime diskunion customers, mainly baby boomers, who purchase LPs with price tags that sometimes top ¥100,000, according to Hanawa. One of the most expensive LPs sold in the store costs more than ¥350,000.

The store targets more than jazz maniacs. Ordinary music fans, especially young women, figure prominently.

Hanawa said women in their 20s and 30s should feel comfortable visiting the store alone because the entrance resembles a fashionable clothing store or a restaurant.

The word "Tokyo," rather than "Ochanomizu," is used in the store name to catch the eye of foreign tourists.

Because it is located near the world-famous Akihabara electronics district, the number of customers from overseas has been on the rise, store employees say.



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