It was in the spring of 1970 that I was informed by Masatsugu Iwama, the Company President of the time, that we would be publishing Audio Senka, an audio equipment industry magazine. I asked him, who the readers of this magazine would be and he replied,"Audio equipment retailers, of course!"I told him that the success of the magazine was assured since it was already clear who the readers would be.
"Can you handle it?"He asked to me; to which I said,"I will do my best."
That occurred when I had just turned 25. It was just two years after having joined the company in 1968 when I was 23. The company at the time was known as Denshi Shinbunsha (“the electronics newspaper company”). I started to work on the new magazine project that same day. I thought that I first must gain a better understanding of audio equipment retailers and set to go and see various shops already operating in this field.
Even more important was to gain an understanding of what the new publication’s main objectives would be, as these would serve as the basic reasons for the magazine’s publication. President Iwama’s objective was very clear, as he insistently declared that our task was to work,"to create an audio equipment market; develop this market constructively; and foster audio equipment retailers."
The very first person I met with was Shichinojo Suzuki, the President of Tereon. I recall that Mr. Suzuki was wearing a polo shirt and had a shiny gold Cross ballpoint pen in his pocket. He took me to a local coffee shop where I enthusiastically told him about the new magazine project. I received his promise of full support for the new venture. Honestly speaking, at the time I had very little knowledge of the equipment itself as I was not very machine-oriented. Through our conversations and his advice, I learned a lot.
The first edition was planned around a round-table discussion among audio equipment retailers, titled,"The Creation of the Audio Equipment Market and Business Operations of Audio Equipment Retailers."In addition to President Suzuki, President Hagiwara of Dynamic Audio, President Hirohata of Audio Union, President Higuchi of Yokohama Sound, President Kono of Koyo Denki and President Saito of Soundace all attended. President Iwama presided over the meeting. This was the beginning of our Audio Senka and it was, I think, a significant event as from that point the audio equipment retail business spread like fire. From the very beginning, these industry leaders supported the magazine and me in many ways. During the roundtable discussion, I was surprised by the great insight of Dynamic Audio President Hagiwara, who stressed the need for"better products."Saying that"currently products are too limited,"his words were right on target and the industry developed accordingly.
President Suzuki kindly assumed the role of Committee Chairman for the inauguration of the Audio Excellence Awards, and thereafter contributed to the event for over 10 years. It was thanks to his contribution that this award came to be considered one of the top awards in the industry. What was particularly interesting about our first early editions was a series whereby President Suzuki and Mr. Hirotsugu Saito evaluated various products in the form of a dialog. The series attracted much attention in the industry. President Suzuki’s comments, such as"Product A is selling very well; while product B isn’t doing so well…"were both interesting to read as well as being informative, providing real product evaluation information.
President Suzuki sadly passed away recently just as the first flowers of early spring were starting to bloom. For me, he was like President Iwama -- a warm and compassionate father-figure. I am, therefore, full of sorrow. I would like to express my sincere condolences to his family and make known my grateful appreciation for everything he has done for me. We often used to go golfing and that is a precious memory of mine.
His warm character and easy smile will remain in my heart forever.