Golden Week

The fourth week in September is going to be a real ?olden week·for the audiovisual industry, with four major events concentrated into five days: the A&V Festa (September 22 - 25), the Tokyo International Audio Show (24 - 26), the Hi-End Show Tokyo (24 - 26), and the Vacuum Tube Audio Fair (25 - 26).

It is my hope that these shows will help to liven up the year-end sales battle. At the same time, looking at them from a different angle, many users might think it strange that these events are taking place in separate places and wonder why they are not being held together in the same place. The A&V Festa is being held in Minato Mirai in Yokohama, the Tokyo International Audio Show at the Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo’s Yurakucho, the Hi-End Show Tokyo at the Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan, also in Yurakucho, and the Vacuum Tube Audio Fair at the Sompo Kaikan in Akihabara, Tokyo.

There is a reason why these shows are held at different places. Taking a look back into their history, first of all there was the Audio Fair, which was the predecessor of the A&V Festa, and then in 1983 the Imported Audio Show began together with the start of the Society of Consumer Audio Equipment Distributors (SOCAD). This was staged quite separately from the Audio Fair. The Imported Audio Show thrived with the participation of several leading domestic makers, such as Accuphase and Luxman.

The SOCAD had very strict membership regulations, though, and opposition from just one member company could lead to the rejection of an application. Naturally, therefore, new forces meant new events, and the Hi-End Show Tokyo was begun in 2002. Unlike the SOCAD, the criteria for participating in this show were very magnanimous indeed, and nobody was turned away. As a result, the number of participating companies has ballooned from 7 to 25 to 35, and the number of visitors has increased as well. Depending on its management, I believe that this show could achieve even further growth in the future.

In the case of the Tokyo International Audio Show, since the number of rooms available at the Tokyo International Forum is limited, no new companies can participate from now on. Accordingly, the characteristic of this show, and the reason for its success, is that exhibiting companies present their distinctive features and give depth to the event.

The Vacuum Tube Audio Fair, meanwhile, has been active in a unique way quite separately from the other three. Held for the first time in 1995, this fair has steadily achieved results on the back of the analog boom and today is a flourishing and reliable event with about 40 participating companies.

As for the A&V Festa, access is much better than last year, because the Minato Mirai Line now goes as far as the venue and the Chukagai (Chinatown) Station has opened as well. In addition, admission has been made free, so we can hope for quite a large number of visitors. In contrast to the other events, which are aimed at enthusiasts, the A&V Festa also appeals to the general public, so undoubtedly it will receive support from all age groups.

More than anything else, the special feature of the A&V Festa lies in its orientation toward the near future, including plenty of new audio ideas and home-theater improvements.

Air-conditioners sold well this summer. Now I would like to see these financial resources turned toward audiovisual equipment and home theater so as to enliven the year-end sales battle. In that sense also, the ?olden week·is going to have immeasurable significance. The important thing, anyway, is to steer discussions about a single venue and so on in the best direction possible while tasting the sweet wine of success.