Mr. Saburo Egawa

The audio critic Mr. Saburo Egawa has passed away at the age of 82. Mr. Egawa and I enjoyed a long acquaintanceship stretching back four decades. More than anything else, I can still vividly remember our first encounter. At that time I was involved in launching the quarterly magazine Audio Accessory. We got the inaugural issue out without any hitch and were just setting about putting the second issue together.

As the magazine’s chief editor, my aim was to publish a magazine with the greatest amount of information about audio equipment and accessories and also to adopt an amateurish perspective. In other words, I wanted to produce a new type of magazine that was entirely reader-oriented and encouraged reader participation. On the basis of this firm conviction, I had my sights fixed 10 years down the road.

Around that time I took part in a golf contest organized by a certain maker for magazine editors and critics. After the contest, we headed back to Tokyo by car. I was in the front passenger seat alongside the driver, Mr. Oizumi of the Musen to Jikken (Radio Experimenters) magazine, and seated in the back were Mr. Umehara of Kyodo News and the critic Mr. Egawa.

Mr. Egawa carried on talking all the way to Shibuya. At first I thought to myself, “What a talkative fellow!” But gradually this changed to “What an interesting chap!”

Mr. Egawa kept saying cheerfully that if you used the rubber sheets covering driver’s seats, which were manufactured by Hiraoka & Co., as turntable sheets, you would get a good sound. “Mr. Egawa,” I said, “you could sell 10,000 of those, you know.” Mr. Egawa looked at me in surprise and asked, “Who do you work for?” When I identified myself, he cried, “What, you’re Mr. Wada of Audio Accessory?” “That’s right.” “Well, well,” he beamed.

When we got out of the car at Shibuya, I said to him, “Mr. Egawa, I’ll give you eight pages. You can write about whatever you like.” “Eight pages!” he exclaimed. “Every issue? Thank you. Thank you so much.”

During the car ride, I had sensed that Mr. Egawa was a person with an amateurish spirit. Since I felt that he might not be suited to writing product reviews, I warned him not to do so―but added that if there were any complaints from makers, I would handle them. So Mr. Egawa began writing for us from the second issue of Audio Accessory.

At the time of his first manuscript, Mr. Egawa asked me to go to Akihabara and get the cables of various makers in 2-meter, 3-meter, and 5-meter rolls. “The sound changes depending on the cable,” he said. “That’s interesting,” I replied. Then he began a blind test of speaker cables. “So that’s how Mr. Egawa goes about things!” I thought with a smile.

The second issue of the quarterly Audio Accessory, 10,000 copies, sold out completely, and Mr. Egawa went on to fill his eight pages with all kinds of genuinely amateurish proposals in every issue from then on. I gave his section the title of “Saburo Egawa’s Laboratory” together with the subtitle “A nitty-gritty approach.” It became a very popular section of the magazine.

I guess that there must be at least 10,000 fans of Mr. Egawa around the country. In the four decades that he continued writing for us, he gave so many dreams to no end of people. Mr. Egawa has left us, but his spirit lives on in his fans and will continue doing so forever.