Sony Music Entertainment Japan
|Founded||1968 as CBS/Sony Records Inc.|
|Headquarters||Rokubancho, Chiyoda, Tokyo. Japan|
|Naoki Kitagawa, CEO and Representative to the RIAJ
Masao Morita, Chairman
Number of employees
|Subsidiaries||SME Records Inc.
EPIC Records Japan Inc.
Ki/oon Music Inc.
Sony Music Records Inc.
Sony Music Associated Records Inc.
Ariola Japan Inc.
BMG Japan, Inc.
Sony Music Artists Inc.
Sony Music Publishing (Japan) Inc.
Label Gate Co., Ltd.
M-On Entertainment Inc.
Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. (Japanese: 株式会社ソニー・ミュージックエンタテインメント Hepburn: Kabushiki gaisha Sonī Myūjikku Entateinmento?, often abbreviated as SMEJ or simply SME, stylized as SonyMusic in television commercial messages and also known as Sony Music Japan for short) is Sony's music arm in Japan. 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.
Sony does not have rights on Columbia name and trademark in Japan, so releases under Columbia Records from another country appears on Sony Records in Japan, but retains the usage of the "walking eye" logo. The Columbia name and trademark is controlled by Nippon Columbia, which was, in fact, the licensee for the American Columbia Records up until 1968.
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.
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, until that point 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, but SMEJ bounced back and regained leadership from its indie rival until 2012. SMEJ netted 22.4 billion yen for 1H 2012 and 14.3% of the market, second behind Avex (24.95 B yen, 15.9%).
Labels and sublabels
- Antinos Records was launched in 1994 with Sony Music director Shigeo Maruyama as its president. The first releases on August 21 were a mini-album by indie group Confusion and singles by the groups Aniss, Neverending Story, and Ginji Itoh.
- Ariola Japan
- BMG Music Japan
- DefSTAR Records - founded in 1997 as a Warner Music sub label. Acquired in 2000.
- Epic Records Japan
- Ki/oon Music - launched as Ki/oon Sony Records on April 1, 1992
- OKeh was launched in 1994 and headed by Sony Music deputy president Hiroshi Inagaki.
- SME Records
- Sony Music Records
- Sony Music Associated Records
- Sony Music House
- Village Music
- Music Ray'n
- Roc Nation Japan (a Japanese distribution of Jay-Z's label)
- Sony Music Marketing - Oversees distribution of labels which have a distribution contract with SMEJ. Formerly known as Sony Music Distribution until 2014.
- Dohb Discs (1994-2000)
- Studioseven Recordings (2006-2010, merged into gr8! records)
- Tofu Records (US Sublabel, 2003-2007)
- Jim Roche
- 72 (pronounced as Natsu) (S.M. Japan/Sony Music Associated)
- 9nine (pronounced as Nine)
- AKB48 (2006-2008)
- Aki Toyosaki
- An Cafe
- Angela Aki
- Aoi Eir
- Aqua Timez
- Asian Kung-Fu Generation
- Automatic Loveletter
- Ayahi Takagaki
- Beat Crusaders
- Boom Boom Satellites
- The Brilliant Green
- Chara (1990-2004, 2012–present)
- Chiaki Kuriyama
- Cinder Road
- Cool Joke
- Crystal Kay (1999-2011)
- Dancing Dolls 
- Debbie Gibson
- Denki Groove
- Dir En Grey
- Eric Martin
- Fight Like Apes
- Galileo Galilei
- Hajime Chitose
- Haruka Tomatsu
- Harumi Tsuyuzaki
- Home Made Kazoku
- I Am Ghost
- I WiSH
- Ikimono Gakari
- Jasmine (Japanese singer)
- Joe Inoue
- JUDY AND MARY
- Kana Hanazawa
- Kana Nishino
- Ken Hirai
- Kotaro Oshio
- Kung Faux
- Kuroneko Chelsea
- Led Zepagain
- Little by Little
- Ling Tosite Sigure
- Loick Essien
- LONG SHOT PARTY
- Luna Haruna
- Mai Hoshimura
- MAN WITH A MISSION
- Masahiko Kondō
- Mayu Watanabe (AKB48)
- Meisa Kuroki
- Miho Fukuhara
- Mika Nakashima
- Miliyah Kato
- Minako Kotobuki
- Minami Kuribayashi
- Miyu Nagase
- Naniwa Express
- Nami Tamaki
- Nana Kitade
- Natsume Mito
- Nico Touches the Walls
- no3b (pronounced as No Sleeves)
- Nothing's Carved in Stone
- Nozomi Sasaki
- Obi Tenaka
- Orange Range
- Porno Graffitti
- Puffy AmiYumi
- Rachel Rhodes (singer)
- Rie fu
- Rina Chinen
- ROOKiEZ is PUNK'D
- Sayaka Kanda
- School Food Punishment
- Secret (2011-2013)
- Seiko Matsuda
- Siam Shade
- Shinichi Osawa
- Shion Tsuji
- Shoko Nakagawa
- Soul'd Out
- Stance Punks
- Subsonic Factor
- SunSet Swish
- Supercell (band)
- Tamio Okuda
- The Boss (大国男児)
- The Cro-Magnons
- The Gazette
- Tomoko Kawase
- Tomohisa Sako
- Toshinobu Kubota
- The Six Dragons
- U-ka saegusa (1997-2002)
- Uri Nakayama
- Wonder Girls
- X Japan
- Yellow Generation
- Yoshida Brothers
- Yuna Ito
- Norio Ohga
- Akio Morita
- Toshio Ozawa
- Shugo Matsuo
- Ryokichi Kunugi
- Shigeo Maruyama
- Takashi Yoshida† (died 2010, transferred to Warner Music before death.)
- Hiroshi Inagaki (now on Avex Group)
- Naoki Kitagawa
- Kazutomo Enomoto
- Yaz Noya (Tofu Records founder)
- Sony Music Entertainment
- BMG Japan
- Dreamusic Incorporated : SMEJ is one of its shareholders.
- Music On! TV : SMEJ-owned cable TV network
- Avex Group (formerly an affiliate of Sony Music, also the 2nd biggest record label in Japan.)
- Universal Music Japan
- Warner Music Japan
- EMI Music Japan
- "Sony Japan not part of BMG merger plan-Bertelsmann". Forbes.com. November 15, 2003. Archived from the original on 2007-11-14. Retrieved July 21, 2006.
- "Acquisition of Shares in BMG Japan Inc. by Sony Music Entertainment Japan Inc. (Japanese)" (PDF). Sony Corporation. October 2, 2008. Retrieved December 31, 2009.
- Sony Music Entertainment Japan - History Retrieved September 15, 2010
- Kimio Kase, Francisco J. Sáez-Martínez, Hernán Riquelme: Transformational CEOs: Leadership and Management Success in Japan. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2005, ISBN 1-84542-046-2. Page 16.
- Sony and the Modern Age at the Wayback Machine (archived February 17, 2001). Sony Music UK, Retrieved on August 6, 2006.
- CBS/Sony Records is Established in First Round of Capital Deregulation. Sony History. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
- Press release: Chairman of the Board Norio Ohga Retires as Director of Sony Corporation. Sony Corporation, January 28, 2003. Retrieved September 15, 2010
- John Nathan: Sony. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2001, ISBN 0-618-12694-5. Pages 146-147.
- John Nathan: Sony. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2001, ISBN 0-618-12694-5. Page 147.
- The Joy of Creating Something New. Sony History. Accessed September 17, 2010.
- The Acquisition of CBS Records and Columbia Pictures. Sony History. Accessed September 27, 2010.
- CBS/Sony to Take Over 4 Subsidiaries. Jiji Press Ticker Service, February 12, 1988
- Steve McClure: Sony Music Names Matsuo to Head Label in Japan In: Billboard, February 8, 1992. Page 4.
- Attorneys Launch Entertainment-Focused Firm In: Los Angeles Times, May 3, 1996. Accessed September 17, 2010.
- Steve McClure: CEO Maruyama Steps Up as New SMEJ President. In Billboard, February 28, 1998.
- Steve McClure: SMEJ's Other Announcements, "Komuro's Sony Deal Won't Hurt Avex Relations" - Maruyama. In: Billboard, February 28, 1998.
- Virgin's Dreams Come True. In: Billboard, August 20, 1997.
- Kana Nishino | CNN Travel. Cnngo.com (2009-12-11). Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
- "Avex tops total sales ranking for the first half of 2012". Oricon. July 20, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
- Steve McClure: Sony Bows Two Japan Subsids. In: Billboard, October 15, 1994. Page 53.
- International - Newsline. In: Billboard, April 25, 1992. Page 36
- ミュージックレイン. Musicrayn.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
- Sony Music Group Company Site - グループ会社情報. Sme.co.jp. Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
- "72". S.M. Entertainment. Retrieved 2012-07-28.
- Dancing Dolls Official Site. Dancingdolls.jp. Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
- (Japanese) デビー・ギブソン. SonyMusic. Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
- (Japanese) エリック・マーティン. SonyMusic. Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
- Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. official website
- sme.co.jp - Corporate website
- Sony Music Entertainment Japan's channel on YouTube