|Sony Music Entertainment Japan|
|Headquarters||Rokubancho, Chiyoda, Tokyo. Japan|
|Key people||Naoki Kitagawa, CEO and Representative to the RIAJ Kazutomo Enomoto, Director|
Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. (株式会社ソニー・ミュージックエンタテインメント Kabushiki gaisha Sonī Myūjikku Entateinmento?, often abbreviated as SMEJ and also known as Sony Music Japan for short) is Sony's music arm in Japan.
SMEJ held a contest searching for an original PlayStation game design, to which Takuma Endo sent his Tenchu game design and won. SMEJ then funded his fledgling development studio and co-published the final game with Activision.
Current Status and Subsidiaries
SMEJ is directly owned by Sony Corporation and independent from the United States-based Sony Music Entertainment due to its strength in the Japanese music industry. Its subsidiaries including the anime production enterprise, Aniplex, which was established in January 1997 as a joint-venture between Sony Music Entertainment Japan and Sony Pictures Entertainment, but which in 2001 became a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment Japan. It was prominent in the early to mid 90's producing and licensing music for Anime such as Roujin Z from acclaimed Manga artist Katsuhiro Otomo and Capcom's Street Fighter anime series.
Releases on Columbia Records in other countries appear on Sony Records in Japan because a competitor, Columbia Music Entertainment, owns the rights to the trademark there.
With Sony Corporation of America's buyout of Bertelsmann's stake in Sony BMG, Sony Music Entertainment Japan stepped in to acquire outstanding shares of BMG Music Japan from Sony BMG, making it a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Japan.
Sony Music Entertainment Japan was officially incorporated in March 1968 as a Tokyo-based 50/50 joint venture between Sony Corporation and U.S. conglomerate CBS to distribute the latter's music releases in Japan. The company was incorporated as CBS/Sony Records and with Sony co-founder Akio Morita as president.
Norio Ohga was part of the management team from the formation of the company and served as president and representative director since April 1970. In 1972, when CBS/Sony was generating robust profits, Ohga was named chairman and at the same time gained further responsibility and influence within Sony. He would continue to work for the music company one morning a week. In 1980 Toshio Ozawa succeeded Ohga as president.
In 1983 the company was renamed CBS/Sony Group.
Sony Acquires CBS Records in 1988
In January 1988, after more than a year of negotiations, Sony acquired CBS Records and the 50% of CBS/Sony Group that it did not already own.
The company was renamed Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), Inc.
Shugo Matsuo was named new president in January 1992, replacing Toshio Ozawa, who was appointed to the post of chairman.
Overall sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1991 were 83.8 billion yen with a pretax profit of 9.2 billion yen.
In June 1996, Ryokichi Kunugi became new president. Shugo Matsuo was named chairman.
Shigeo Maruyama was appointed to the new post of CEO on October 1, 1997 and replaced Kunugi as president in February 1998.
As of 2007, Naoki Kitagawa is the current CEO of the group.
The company's leading role on the Japanese market was increasingly challenged by labels such as Avex (where SMEJ formerly owned 5 percent of shares). Net sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1997 were down 10% to 103 Billion Yen, while net income fell 41% to 7.7 billion yen. The market share at that time was less than 18%. In August 1997, |Dreams Come True, till then Sony Music Entertainment Japan's best-selling act, signed a worldwide multi-album deal with competing U.S. label Virgin Records America.
Since then it was said that SMEJ ceded to Avex's challenge.
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