Two Awards and Honda-ism

Two awards, the Visual Grand Prix 2006 and the Audio Excellence Award 2006, have been announced.

The Audio Excellence Award, which was established in commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of our company’s founding, has continued for nearly 28 years. The characteristic of the selection committee is that it comprises eight members who are audio critics and seven members from audio specialty stores. The addition of the distribution front line ensures that selections are made that are close to users, and award-winning models are sure to become hit products. The chairs of the selection committee are Hirotsugu Saito from the audio critic side and Disc Union Chairman Teruichi Hirohata from the specialty store side. These two gentlemen have served as chairs for 10 or so years and have provided the driving force for the selection committee’s development.

This year, however, is Mr. Hirohata’s last as chairman of the selection committee; he is passing the baton on to Osakaya President Shoji Morita. Mr. Hirohata will continue as an advisor of the selection committee, and we will carry on looking up to his guidance, but from the fall of 2006 the selection committee will enter a new era under the chairmanship of Mr. Saito and Mr. Morita. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Hirohata for his work over the years.

With the reappearance of the baby-boom generation, the pure audio market is beginning to move toward the growth track, but it is still in a slump, so the role of the selection committee is going to be increasingly weighty. I would like to declare that I will make my utmost efforts toward a pure audio renaissance.

Meanwhile, the selection committee for the Visual Grand Prix 2006 met on October 24, but the awards winners remained sealed until November 17, when they were announced in unison by the AV Review and the websites of Phile-web, Yodobashi dot com, Laox, and AVAC.

The market grows bigger year by year, and, to be honest, it has really confused the selection committee. As a result, the quantity of award-winning models has ballooned. At the present stage, therefore, we are studying a new format for the Visual Grand Prix. The new format will be implemented for next summer’s Visual Grand Prix Summer awards, and a new Visual Grand Prix should be completed by the selection committee in the fall. I hope that the new award will be even more authoritative, even more market-in, and will contribute to the industry even more than before in line with our company’s philosophy of “contributing to the constructive development of the industry.”

We are thinking in terms of establishing a stronger and most authoritative Visual Grand Prix, and we hope to make a fresh start after hearing the opinions of many people.

Talking of opinions, did you read the interview with Laox President Toshinori Honda in the last issue? We carried almost the whole text of the interview, posting it on Phile-web as well, and the response was tremendous.

Mr. Honda played a central role in the development of Seven-Eleven, and his ideas and actions have a freshness unseen in the industry until now. He has already registered a profit at Laox for the September term, and its share price has risen from the ¥300 range at the time of his appointment to ¥450-¥500 range.

As for the content of the interview, please read it for yourself. But I must say that Mr. Honda’s appearance in our industry is a welcome event, and I really look forward to the advance of a revolution based on Honda-ism. In particular, I believe that he will be a savior for regional discount stores and specialty stores.