The web of japanese contractors

turntables, tonearms, tuners, open-reel & K7 recorders...

The web of japanese contractors

Postby Axel » Thu May 10, 2012 4:38 pm


Here is a partial list of all I could gather between 2003 and 2012 regarding the multi-million myriad of those who made the japanese audio industry actually work : contractors, sub-contractors and sub-sub-contractors.

The full list is much longer and detailed but the following already proves the point : the well-known majors and minors couldn't have made business (good or bad) without those obscure outfits and corporations !
Large-format catalogs were published by contractors' associations throughout the 1970s and up to the early 1980s to help industry minors (and sometimes majors) make their "shopping" with either specific parts or complete components and lineups. Alas, no issues of those catalogs are known to have survived this side of the world.

All "minors" largely relied on this web for offering complete lineups (amps, speakers, k7, tuners, TTs etc) which they otherwise couldn't possibly design, let alone manufacture. Among the "majors", Yamaha, Technics, Sony or Pioneer only rarely called for "help" even if they all did at one point or another ; others kept a very closed-in T-tag branding which makes research nearly impossible, particularily Nakamichi, Onkyo and Sansui.

None of this is possible to be traced in detail without accessing corporate papers... which have all been junked ages ago.
The remaining key is the T-Tag, as seen on japanese components' back serial sticker and there only.
The other key is patience :)


This logo, not to be mistaken with grounding/earth logo, was scrapped for all exported component : it is only visible in Japan and Asia at large. (but for some early-Alpine Luxmans and a few late 1970s Sony.)
T-tags are only present on components with a built-in AC power-supply : 98% of the time they are (alas) not present on battery-powered items or loudspeakers and almost everything that is portable (but, often, Sony).

Sometimes, the T-tag logo is silkscreened (which is normal) but the name following it is added on a sticker - very common by Sansui and Nakamichi, rare by Pioneer, extremely rare by Sony.
This two-step tagging means that there may be a little white lie or a business agreement between the two parties to not show the actual manufacturing source and/or disclose who actually passed the component under the japanese industry specification tests, ie. who is responsible in case a building blows up because of a defective amplifier.

T-Tags gradually appeared throughout the mid to late 1960s and mainly early 1970s : when each brand couldn't produce everything it advertised in one or two factories and when multiplication of the offer meant multiplication of the plants and... (sub-)contractors. The variety of T-tags is in full bloom between 1975 and 1985 ; after that there's a sort of concentration as many manufacturers had already made long-term arrangements with contractors and/or subsidiaries inside and/or outside Japan.

I have omitted in the following list major OEM makers such as Sankei, Tensai, Inkel, Marubeni (Benytone), Tatung, LG (Goldstar), Tandy (TEC) and Funai because they were almost everywhere, so much so that their presence was beyond T-Tags (even if 95% of the time on the lower scale of things). All of these mainly fed the myriad of EU and US (sub-)brands such as Life, Universum, Palladium, MCS, ADC, Teleton and Uher toward the end - etc.
Others, like Sankyo, mainly provided motors and parts but also, in shorts bursts, tried to launch their own brand - with little success (or real need).

Cybernet is part of that pack but did make some of its own which was mainly export ; however, unlike the others, Cybernet also used its recognizable tag on many contracted components such as those for Nakamichi or dbx but not on the Kyocera components (not so strangely since Ky bought 100% of Cybernet, when it started its audio development program in 1982).

Rotel and NAD were a bit different : if they made most of their business with contracting, they both had their own "official" lineups (again : mainly export) which were advertised for quite a lot (outisde Japan).
Rotel, founded 1963, had a Roland T-tag (RA-1312 for instance) which was the original name until worldwide © was taken by the musical instrument maker Roland in 1972 ; Roland had to change its name to undertake worldwide distribution and became Rotel. The RP-3000 turntable or RA-1312, for instance, have both names on their back plate : "Rotel Rx-xxxx" (product name) and "A Quality Product of Roland Electronics Co., Ltd." as (long) T-tag.

I couldn't dig too deep outside Japan (Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan) because sources remain difficult to access but the latter four became increasingly present starting in the mid 70s, as described in several early 1980s Hi-Fi for Pleasure (UK) articles - present enough to start taking on actual circuit development(s) themselves.
China came in only after the market's 1977 peak year, in 1978 ; it was very slow, timid and gradual at first but by the late 1980s... you know the rest.

Some, a few or many or most of the factories mentioned here may have been owned by one of the well-known brands, even if only for a while and/or just before being bought in full and/or renamed ; some may have been disguised subsidiaries (temporarily or not).
Matsushita and Sony both absorbed their external contractors for hi-fi furniture & racks in the 1970s while Yamaha even had Mario Bellini design racks aplenty for them... before externalizing that elsewhere in the later 1980s ! Business as usual.
Victor built most its own top k7 decks and had the rest delegated to several providers like HTD, Sanika and mostly TS-NAD. But why bother making ONE top recorder "at home" when Sanika has all the tools to make ALL of them and cheaper, too ?

What is outlined below may lead to think that all the tooling was moved from one factory to another for various runs of a given component.
It naturally is NOT the case : Sony didn't close (physically) the TA-N86B line and reopen it elsewhere, physically, again, to make the mkII version - there's a limit to madness :)

It's just orders placed by various (sub-)outfits to contractors and (sub-)contractors : the Sony Togane plant, run by the Sony ASCO corporate division, can "commission" the Sony Daitoh plant (DTKK) for more TA-N86B amps - even if the amps will still actually be made at Togane.
This "move" will only represent numbers, corporate repartition of orders, current cash-flow and paperwork : if the ASCO outfit has spent too much in one area but sees demand for something selling obviously extremely well, then IZDK (a fully-owned subsidiary) will itself commission Togane (a fully-owned subsidiary), thus keeping ASCO (the chief operator of both subsidiaries) at the end of the loop (instead of the beginning).

As a result, the new run of TA-N86B will bear an DTKK T-tag and not the original ASCO... even if both runs were actually made in the very same plant. And if there's a (financial) loss, it weighs on DTKK and not ASCO - no madness here indeed, just efficient business practices :)

Example 1a :
To outline the above, below is the evolution of tags for the N86, where the switch between the original ASCo and IZUMI
happened around number 5000 and the one between the (short) DTKK run and SOAU around number 6500.

Example 1b :
Sam manner for the Sony PA-P1600 : a multi-room PA amp from the early 1990s made at Sony Tsukuba (or "SoTB") but almost as
soon as production was launched, Sony Kitakanto took over the orders... even if ALL PA-P1600 were still actually made at Tsukuba.
And you can even see the ID code of the back sticker going from 2-344-322-01 to 2-344-322-02
(and PC going from 58W down to 55W, too :)

Example 1c :
Same exercise with the ESPRIT TA-D900 filter : from M Izumi (aka IZDK) to SOAu
(and back sticker's last digit going from 02 to 2-344-322-03, too) :

Example 2 :
To outline but one example showing the utter madness of this web (nevertheless very efficient, sales-wise), I'll take the Kenwood GE-1001, a 1990s
mid-sized 4-way parametric EQ. It sold very well in Japan and was throughout its availability T-tagged by no less than four outfits : EMENICS,
OI Denki, Komagane Denshi and, almost surprisingly, Kenwood !
The related tuner was either a simple Kenwood or a Komagane Kenwood which means Kenny either took a participation
in Komagane or bought it after a while before absorbing/renaming it for other purposes. The GE-1001 is an extreme example but it proves the point.


Example 3 :
Another typically typical example is the Clarion MVA-400-100 LD player : based on a Philips LD mechanism, it was made by IIDA Denshi and had a typically-Marantz "MZ01" serial number. This unveils four "sources" : Philips in Europe (hardware), Marantz in Japan (owned by Philips, handling the Philips/Clarion deal in Japan), IIDA in Japan as contractor to Marantz JP for the basic assembly and Clarion for the actual distribution since the MVA-400-100 bears the Clarion brand name. Crazy, isn't it ?

Example 4 :
Also clearly illustrating the subject of this post is the Akai "M712" series :
the amp was made by Cybernet (AM-M712 ; the M719 came from there as well - previsibly), the CD player by SKC Kogyo (CD-M712) and the EQ by Taiheyo K (EA-M712) - see the images below :




(speaks for itself, doesn't it ?)

Partial list of contractors, sub- and sub-sub-contactors :
(In parenthesis are quickie descriptions only, otherwise it'd take a million lines.)
(In bold are tags found on a lot of components.)
(For those wondering : "Denshi and "Denki" are japanese names for "electron" or "electricity", so Nippon Denshi/ki means "Japanese Electric".)
(Names underlined below denote major providers which were and still are independent (but Fujiya Audio).)
(If I say "Yuei Denki (JVC 1970/80s k7)", it doesn't mean Yuei made all the JVC k7 decks but some, or most.)
(And if I say "Sanwa SS (Denon PMA-390)", it doesn't mean Sanwa only made the PMA-390 :))

Cherry Denshi (Akai timers and demagnetizers, Aurex AT-20, SDV-52SP, JVC TA-22, Pioneer mixers like MA-10 and MA-13 or DT-400, Hitachi mixamps like HMC-1000 or HA-AV200K)
Sano Denki (Aurex amps, preamps & tuners, ST-760, SB-66, SY-88, PC-G10, casseixers, SK-D1, PC-G10)
Phoenix (one run of Aurex SY-88 [otherwise at Sano Denki])
Sonotsu (Aurex preamps, SY-88II)
EMUSU(S) (Aurex, Denon, Teac and Pioneer LDs like CLD-HF9G /HF7G, CLD-02 /R4 / 919 /939 /K800 /K600, broadcast DVD-V730)
S. Maruko (Pioneer CLD-R7G)
Komatsu R. (Teac AP-100 / AP-300 peak meter units)
Asahi MK (Aurex TTs like SR-F335 and amps like SR-F335, SB-260 or SB-320)
Horiuchi (Aurex TTs like SR-F45)
Konen S (Aurex TTs like SR-210 /220 /255 /370)
AT (Aurex PC-X50 / X4 /2260)
TS (Aurex MX-1)
YUTAKA (Aurex AT-1000MKII)
Ikeda Denki (or "Ikeda DK" ; Aurex PC-X22, Yamaha KX-55, MT44 /44D)
Tonan Kinzoku (Yamaha DT-1)
Karasuyama Denshi KK (Aurex SR-F35 /F35mkII /F34 /A5 /E33 /F7900 ; Yamaha VS-330)
Asia (Yamaha GE-60)
Taiyo (Sony TMR-90, Teac/Tascam mixers like GE-20)
Taiyo-D (CEC belt CDPs like TL-1X)
Sanyo Mediatec Co (CEC CD players)
KWAI (low-end 1970-1979 export Denon lineups with "pearly" logo)
Misaki EC (Denon DA-500)
ADATARA (Denon DP-30L)
UGO Denshi (Denon LDs)
Liebeins (in China ; Columbia GP-11 and such things)
ATOM-S (Kenwood GE-5J)

Below : the very discrete Toshiba T-tag, on a Kenwood L-03DP (aka Toshiba XR-Z90) and a Luxman D-100 (early Alpine period).
Note the similar s/n sequencing, different from both Kenwood or Luxman's usual s/n systems.


aka. Chuo Denki Co. Ltd.
CEC CDPs like TL-3, TL-1, TL-0, CD-1, CH5000R cd changer or the ST930 and FR-XL1 turntables but also Sanyo TTs like TP-D10, Kenwood TTs like KP-9010, P-3X /3EG, Marantz TTs like TT530 & TT 350, Columbia receivers.
The only "Chuo Denki" accessible today specializes in rare earths and metals ; its logo, however, is exactly the same as that used as T-Tag in the 1970s/80s/90s for the abovementioned brands.
Its online history page ( remains mute about any audio activities, past or present...
Apparently, quite possibly, the main CEC subsidiary delegated to turntable OEM'ing.

Below the "CDK" tag, back of a Marantz TT 350 ; this screams CEC origins or subsidiary !

Sanwa SS (Marantz TT 250, Columbia GP-25, one run of Denon PMA-390 [otherwise at T.O.C.], the later 390IV and 390SE versions of which were made in Czech Republic and China, respectively, under a Denon T-Tag...)
MK Densi (one run of Denon DH-510, Teac RX-8 dbx unit)
Tokai Densi (Lo-D/Hitachi D-77 & D-78s k7)
DaiichiDentu (or "DaiichiDentsu" or "DaiichiDenki" ; Teac/Tascam mixers such as M-30, meters like MB-20 ; dbx encoders such as DX-4D ; Yamaha EQs like GE-5 /5B ; Hitachi HMC-1100)
YMD (late 70s Teac k7 like A-630 and the "F" / "FF" series [F-650R, FF-70, FF-80 etc] ; Kenwood KX-600 /800 ; Aurex RtR like PR-8020)
MELCO (late 70s Teac k7 like the "A" series [A-470 etc])
Maisaka D (Denon PMA-740)
NNO (Akai AV-U8)
KITARON (Akai UC-K2 /U2 /M2)
Kashima (Akai tuners like AT-S61, A&D [Akai & Diatone] tuners and k7 like GX-Z7100EV, a/v and d/a amps like DA-U7000 or DA-U830)
Kowa (Akai amps like AS-P302, k7 like GX-Z5300 /Z7100EV, TTs like LT-930 ; A&D [=Akai & Diatone] CDPs ; JVC TTs like QL-Y33F /44F, LD-77Z /55Z, L-E88S /E200, ALE33P)
COPAL (Akai DT-320, Sansui A-M70)
Kato-S (or "KATO.S" ; JVC TTs like L-E300 /E88S, L-D1Z)
SYV (JVC TTs like SRP-5503F)
Sanko (or "Sanko.M" ; JVC MK-2, Teac AV-D50 & AV-400)
Yamada TK (Akai k7 like HX-A451W)
TYK (JVC/Victor portables, MCT-105)

Itokawa S. (Victor JM-S500MF and late run of the M-7050 bestseller)

Tohoku TKR (Kenwood TD-EX7 ; Sony SRP-X351P, MDS-E58, first run of Sony CDP-D11) [same as Sony's own Tohoku HT / THTK ?]
Tohoku-Trio (Kenwood KX-51, KX-92W)
Tohoku Nissan (Sansui B-55, A-M7)

Union Denki (Diatone DA-F610 /F640 /F540 /F330 /U41P /U51 /U640, M-A05)
Tensho Denshi (Diatone DA-U410)
Hongo Denshi (Diatone M-A05)
Masaka-E (Diatone DT-5, DP-630, M-A05)
Yoshida Denpa (Marantz Music Link DPS-1)
ND (Toshiba AVX-1200)
CC (Marantz k7 like SD315 /415, dbx Model 222 and Model 120 ; "CC" really was Cybernet in disguise, or a direct subsidiary.)

Fujiya Audio
Major turntable OEM provider & developer for Luxman, Sharp/Optonica, Trio/Kenwood, Onkyo, Yamaha, Clarion, Marantz, NEC, Columbia and, crown achievement, Nakamichi
with the Dragon CT (mechanical engineer : Junichi Okumura).
Fujiya also built for Micro with the DD-26II and DD-36F (and possibly many of the other lower-end of Micro's production) and even provided Yamaha with the CD-1's spindle motor !
I believe the original company to have been Fujiya Phone ("Fujiya Elec. Mac. Co."), based in Tokyo and Yokohama in the 1940s if not even earlier ; Fujiya Audio was absorbed in full by NEC in the mid 1980s and either closed or transformed into something else.
Change of T-tag logo in the early 1980s which reads "fd" but it's the same Fujiya Audio, the "f" and "a" being in fact heavily customized - see below the T-tag of the Dragon CT :


The Onkyo CP-8000F had the stylized logo above, while the earlier CP-5000A or Luxman PD282 had an intermediate tag ("fd") :

Back of a Marantz 6100 :

The Luxman PD-272 and PD-284 also came from Fujiya.
And below is the earlier Fujiya Audio tag ("fa"), here on the Luxman PD-291 :


And back of a Trio (soon to become Kenwood) P-7 :

Yuei Denki (JVC 1970/80s k7 like KD-D11 for the later years)
YCC (JVC CF-105, JL-B33H)
HTD (JVC late 70s-1980s k7)
Masamori (JVC AX-E7000 /E7700 /E33 /EV7, DC-V7, SEA-66B, one run of A-E30)

Sanika (JVC 1980s k7, some CDPs like XL-Z521 /E5500 or the AL-E75 turntable)

NKKO D (one run of JVC A-X3)
TOKiDENKi (or "Tokiden" ; JVC compacts like CA-25 or R-E500 and amps like AX-S900 /S700, A-XE33 or DC-Z9000)
Fujimi (JVC SPA-2700D)
Daichu Denshi (JVC CS-15A)
Rising (JVC JX-V8)

TS NAD (most JVC k7 from c. 1974 up to the 1986 DD-VR77MKII ; also the A-D55 /D77 /K11)
Below, the "TSNAD" tag, back of a Victor A-D77 ; the same tag was most of the time written vertically, clearly separating the "TS" from the "NAD".
Whether this uncovers some NAD/Proton sourcing (or manufacturing or assembly) or not is... anybody's guess.
Possible. But in the case of Victor I doubt it.


IIDA Denshi (Kenwood amps like KA-727 /929, Pioneer A-X640 /750, Sony TA-V11W, JVC TA-20, radios and getthoblasters ; Clarion, Marantz and Philips LDPs like CDV-710K or PLD600WS)
Ohkura DS (Pioneer F-515)
Nakada Denshi (Pioneer RG-70, MA-11)
Nissan Denshi (Pioneer SG-70)
YALE Denshi (Pioneer DJM-500)
UHDK (Pioneer SF-70, TX-4400)
Andes E.CO (Pioneer MSA-V3, last run of Pioneer A-07)
NCK (Pioneer PL-PM2000 [aka Denon DP-900M, aka etc] ; "PM" stands for "Pure Malt" ; Mitsubishi DA-A7000, Marantz PM6100SA)
Tohei KK (Coltina CDPs)
Nissei G.K. (Trio KA-72, KA-31G, DC-07, A-7G /3R /9F ; Aurex SB-V7, SB-M20)
EMENICS (Kenwood amps and CDPs like DP-990SG or DP-5010)
Kure Nissei (TTs like Sharp RP-8N, Diatone LT-43P, Yamaha CC-101P)

MTK (one run of Sony ST-535, Kenwood amps like A-CD1 & A-5i and tuners like KT-5020 /V990 or T-9F /7i /7G /7R (but not the 7S), KX-880, GE-5000, KRX-7,
Aurex/Toshiba ST-U20 /V51)

Below, the MTK T-tag, on the back of a Trio (soon to become Kenwood) KX-880 :

Misuzu (Trio KA-800 /9X /70 /77 /990, KT-700 /7X)
Below, the Misuzu T-tag, on the back of a Trio (soon to become Kenwood) KA-990 :

Before that, the KA-800 could be had in two flavors, too :

Seiko IND
Manymany Kenwood TTs like KP-3100 /F500 /770D /990 or KP-7X /7F.
This is the same Seiko which somewhat distributed a couple of Teragaki turntables like this one : between the early 1990s and 2001...
And the same Seiko of which famed ink-jet printer EPSON is a subsidiary : the last 2000/2001 Teregaki ads even bore the EPSON logo :)

Many Kenwood TTs like P-5F /9F, SS-200, KP-3022 /7300 /700D /800 /7010 /9010 /727, Aurex TTs like SR-P90, SR-V5.
There are plenty of equivalents, semi-equivalents and shared engineering between Aurex and Kenwood 1980s turntables ; most of the time they came from either OKN or Seiko IND - this explains that.

Shinwa Audio Co. (Kenwood TTs like KP-F515 /4500 /605MKII /R200)
Nippon S.M.T. (Kenwood R-SE7)
Komoro (Kenwood k7 like KX-4520)
KFD (Funai LDs)
TOHO (Diatone DA-P610)
A.TAIC (Aurex TTs like S-P2F and SR-P5F, k7 like PC-G2 ; Akai tuners like AT-K22 ; Sansui CD-E700)
Tsugaru Toshiba (Aurex k7 like PC-X4 /X30, PC-5060D...)
ACOUS (Bose1400VI /1900VI amps)
T.F.TEN (Bose VIA, AW-1)

Copal Coki
or "CPLK" ; this is the same COPAL that was founded in 1946 for photographic shutters which branched in k7 throughout the 1970s for the Yamaha TC-800 series and TC-5, Luxman K-10, Kenwood KX-3000 /4000, Pioneer CT-3030E, Akai CS-707D, Sansui SC-3, SC-5 and SC-7 and quite possibly many more after that. It seems the entire decks were made by CPLK (not the mechanisms only), as the T-tags prove. Although Copal Coki changed its name in 1962 to become Copal Company Limited (Nidec-Copal since 1999), the audio activities retained the old name.
Below, the CPLK T-tag, back of a Yamaha TC-800GL :

And back of a Luxman K-10 :

Hashimoto (some post-Alpine Luxman 1990s CDPs)
T.Sound (Alpine/Lux AL-5 & AL-7 systems [including the k7 recorders !], K-113X, some post-Alpine Luxman 1990s CDPs like D-700s ; Sansui CDPs & compacts [CDV-550R or 900CDR series, AV-X77], Pioneer mixers and A-3R amp, Aurex SC-P70(H), PC-500R, XR-501R /601M, XB-500 /1500, Clarion MC-1500A, DA-1020A)
KTH (Clarion ML-4200A)
Uratsu (Clarion MA-6200A)
IYOKU (Clarion MP-3000A ; also with a CEC T-tag...)
AEIC (Clarion MD-4000A, MT-9000A, MA-4040A)
TGE (Luxman TT-10, Sharp SM-5)
Aimor (founded march 15, 1962 ; post-AZDEN Luxman amps and integrated but also the current DA-100 /200 converters ; also builds for Yamaha [consumer a/v and pro], Nissha Laboratory Inc (launched by ex-Luxman Nishimura-san), Victor and Clarion)
Goto D.S. (post-AZDEN Luxman preamps, CDPs and phono EQ/amps ; one of the first to see the switch from AZDEN to Goto DS is the C-5 preamp so late '97.)
Yokohama B.S. (part of the present day Luxman ; the rest is in China)

Active since 1952.
Its very recognizable T-tag logo (a circle holding a slanted "P" with a dash next to it) originally described the Piezoelectric cartridges it manufactured when the company was still named "Piezo". Although the name was rapidly changed to Atsuden and then ultimately AZDEN, the original logo was however kept intact until about 1999.
Built almost all of Luxman's post-Alpine production starting with the A-008 in 1990 and the 300 series in 1992/93 and everything else until about 1998/99.
Also a contractor to Yamaha (EQ-M77, MX-M70, A100 /100a, AST-A5 for instance), Onkyo (A-V1000PRO, ME-1, ME-50, MQ-1000, PE-33 /77X), Aurex (MX-10), Kenwood (MX-71), Sansui (AX-3 /3S), Victor (PS-A1004, PA-33), Bose (200SR-HI), Aiwa (GE-80) and for many more.
Big advertiser throughout the late 1950s and the whole of the 1960s ; more discreet after that. Had its own lineups of cartridges/tonearms/ 'phones/mixers (70s/80s), pro and semi-pro gear (80s) but advertised for them very little - OEM/ODM business obviously was far more lucrative.


Below, the Azden T-tag, on the back of the Luxman C-08 :

... and the same, back of the Yamaha A100a :

TSDK (most of the Luxman L•G sub-brand ; Luxman L-606 [branded L•G outside Japan], L•G R3600SL)
YAGI (or "YAGI.D" ; Luxman & Micro VS pumps, Onkyo MA-1000, PA-300, A-817RX ; Yagi later on made sattelite receivers...)
Shinagawa Denki (Sanyo/OTTO like DCA-401, DCA-A15, FMT-401, DCW-M5000)
Tokushuseiki (Marantz CD-72, PM-80a ; JVC amps like AX-S313 /MXA3, XL-E7700, DX-EV5 and Karaoke towers, PC-R3 ; Fostex HP-A8)
M&SE (90s Marantz tubed components like the Model-66 and 7/8/9 reissues [which also were T-tagged by the normal MJI])
CHUBUEC (Marantz [Esotec] Ad-5 and Aj-5 ; Chubuec also made large and very sophisticated show-room switchers...)
Gekko Laboratory (Marantz Ad-6 ; first run)
Exceltronics Corporation (Marantz Ad-6 ; second run)
S&R (1970s Marantz like Model 140)
TEI (Marantz)

Sonic (or "SON" at first ; Luxman 1976-1981 tuners, from the 5T10, T-90 /40A /50A /300x to the T-1/ T-5 series and T-12)

FEC (L&G T1200, Luxman/Alpine F-105 & G-007 ; Sony SRP-P1010, MU-A301 /C301, JVC AX-K7 ; the Sony components were commissioned/ordered to FEC by the Sony SoundTec division as the latter's logo is always present on the back stickers...)

DO (JVC GX-500 /550, JR-X6, CA-Q2 /G6, MCM/MCA-105, MCA-V7, MS-503, SE-A100E /5100, TE-7400, early run of XL-Z1000A ; quite probably a Victor subsidiary.)
AIC (Aurex TTS like SR-510, Sansui TTs like FD-2080A, Kenwood TTs like SS-72X, Akai tuners like AT-K04 /K22)
Seiwa K (or simply "Seiwa" ; Lo-D/Hitachi DM-D50, D-MD11 /55 /7, DW-510 ; Columbia SS-630)
TAIEI (Lo-D/Hitachi D-400)
Kyoritsu (Lo-D/Hitachi HA-M30A /MD30 /MD55)
Kyushu Hitachi Maxell (!) (Lo-D/Hitachi ET-300)
MRK (a heck of a lot of Lo-D/Hitachi units like FT-M50, HA-M50, FT-202, HRD-200K /500K, HA-MD1, A-3800...)

Kurume Denshi
(or "Kurume Densi")
Founded may 1968 in Koriyama for audio contracting purposes with specific subsidiaries opened in '72 (audio, in Kawanuma) and '76 (medical, in Yokoyama).
Assembles the Teac K7 decks since '72, made the early Teac ZD-7000, cheaper items like the CD-Z500 later on, and most of the Teac/Esoteric VRDS bestsellers (X-10W /WD, VRDS-10 /10SE /7 /8 /9 /20 /25 /T1 /P-30).
Also builds for others like Sansui since september 1969, Columbia/Denon, Mitsubishi (1980s), Sony (1990s electron guns), Toa (k7 like FD-90 or FD-20, the latter shared with Teac as W-850R), Pioneer (LD-S9, DV-S737, CDJ-500 series ; today) - etc.


Foster Onkyo (active since 1949, well-known Fostex subsidiary setup in 1973 ; active mostly outside hi-fi.
Made a few Sony PA amps and mixers like MU-XA031, MU-A400, SRP-A800 /P1010 or Victor GK-C1000 - all pro items ; also the Victor AX-K66GM) ; T-tag is always "Foster Onkyo", not Fostex.)

YTKK (Fostex A8 /80 /R8 /G16)
K.TECH (Aiwa MX-12)
K.FUJI.E.C. (Aiwa P80 /C80, MIX-4)
K.Churitsu (Aiwa P22)
Tatara Onkoh (Aiwa AFB-10 [APM-like, mini and AC powered])
TENKO (Sony PAS-70N, separate runs of Sony MX-777 /555 /A3 and SEQ-5)
Sekisin (another run of Sony MX-777)
Technica. F (Sony MXK-33 karaoke mixer, Victor XL-Z1000 [!])
AEI (Fostex 2016)
YSD Co. Ltd. (Fostex EN1000)
Matsushin (Sony XV-5000 /3000, one run of TA-515) [a mix between Matsushita and Shin Shirasuna ?-;]
Daigen (last run of Sony TA-2650 [comes in after the c. 50,000th 2650 made at Sony :], last run of Sony TA-515 and TA-11)
Fujikei (Sony PS-250)
MYADO Denshi (some Sony video processors)
Miyago Denshi (some Sony small mixers like SRP-X350, bigga PA amps like SRP-P450 (strangely) or lower-end amps like TA-V725 ; also Kenwood MD players, KX-7030, KAF-7002 and Toshiba k7)
Friend D. (Sony TA-V3, SEH-V5, ST-YX7)
Kyowa DK (or "Kyowa Kogyo" ; one run of Sony TA-313 & ST-313 ; Aurex AD-15 /4 /3 /3S /2, Akai AX-10)
Koshin ELC (Sony SB-V3000)
Kogensya (Sony TA-P77)
N Sowa (or "SOWA", very possibly Sony-owned until the late 1980s : Sony VT-M5, TV-501, FX-102A, SB-V3000, VT-X2R, SRP-400PS.
After that let go and relocated to China doing cheap all-in-ones for badges having become empty in the meantime such as Schneider...)

Wako (Sony PS-LX22 /LX30 /LX55 /LX200, one run of Sony PS-V705 and PS-150 [otherwise all at Sony TsukuBa])
WAKASA (possibly Sony-owned ; Sony TT-V8)
Nigata Seiwa (or "Niigata Seiwa" ; Sony PS-F7 and PS-F3)
MOIMOI S (one run of Sony SB-5335 [otherwise at Sony IZDK], Sony ST-30)

Taiheyo K
Puzzling one : a hell of a lot of Yamaha amps starting with the CA-400 and CA-800II, then a continuous stream going up the the late 1980s :
CA-R1 (1977 ; one run only), CA-R11 /V1 /G1 /X1, A-7 /7a /6 /6a /5 /5D /4D /03 /5100 /500 /750a /950 /200X /40, AX-55 /33 /500 /900, MX-35 /101 but also tuner an k7 decks and various other items : TX-77 /100, T-100X, KX-1000 /750a /T900, M-35, K-M77, AST-A10, SR-100X.
There also were some 80s equalizers made for Akai and, later on, top Sony ES CDPs like the CDP-555ESA (which also saw brief runs at Sony's own Sony BP and ASTI) and the CDP-777ESA, the main run of which was at Sony BP.
After a gradual absorption by Yamaha, c. early/mid 1980s, before Yamaha concentrated all its manufacturing in its own factories in Malaysia, Taiheyo K. went to Sony c. 1989 (Yamaha and Sony never worked together) and was quite probably reshuffled/absorbed into the Sony galaxy after that.

Below, the Taiheyo K T-tags, on the back of the 1980s AST-A10 :
(the first three kanji signs of the tag line, under the white circling, say "Yamaha")

A-40 :
(earlier unit so the tag line doesn't say "Yamaha")

(same here.)

(...the added sticker obviously covers something printed - perhaps another sub-sub contractor ;-)

Osawa KK (Yamaha RM602)
ARUSU (Onkyo PL-33X)
AIREX (Onkyo GPA-300, Toa MD-8)
HS (Onkyo k7 like TA-400)
Sanden (Onkyo C-705X)
Takaya (Onkyo K-V3, Optonica RT-1010)
FALCON CO. Ltd. (JBL Bass 8)
D.Sangyoo (Nakamichi PA-70)
T.Narita (Nakamichi BX-1, BX-125)
HOME DENSHI (NEC, one run of NEC CD-10 ; Nakamichi OMS-20)
HIDE DENSHI (Onkyo tuners like T-415)
G-DEN (NEC AD-700, NEC k7 and ghettoblasters)
Yaguchi (NEC AG-100)
TSE (Sanyo amps, tuners, receivers & turntables)
Seika KK (Yamaha pro like P-2200 /P2100, HC2700 or mixers like EM-85B / EM-120)
Takitsu KK (TOA P-1060D, TA-2060)
Atago Seisagu (NEC A-220)
TOME Denshi (Technics SU-V40)
DNK (Ramsa WP-9600 /9201 /1200A)

Quite possibly [but not necessarily] Columbia-owned.
Denon PMA-1090G, AVC-1030G, Columbia ST-50, nearly all Denon and Columbia k7 products but also the Nakamichi SR-40, Hitachi HA-V6 and Sharp TU-AM1.

(T. Denkai tag, back of a Denon DR-L2.)

Shin Shirasuna / Silver
Semi-major OEM provider who built all of Harman/Kardon's hi-fi components between 1976/77 and the 1990s, often duplicating them under its own "Silver" brand.
ShinShi did import in Japan during the mid 70s German ITT Schaub-Lorenz receivers like the SRX75 (with german scripting kept !) before starting in earnest its h/k "collaboration" in '76 [H/K previously used "Crown Radio Company" for its Japan-made units such as the 900+ Quad receiver].
ShinShi probably built for others aplenty but I have yet to see its very recognizable T-Tag placed on something else than H/K's or Silver's... but for some late 1980s Hitachi CDPs (DA-404D) and early 1990s a/v amps (HA-F5).
Apparently renamed/reshuffled and absorbed by Hitachi in more recent years - CQFD.

Below, the ShinShi T-tag, back of the Citation X-1 and hk825 :


(as a sidenote : read "4morhktech"'s posts on this thread for a nice example of the mess many minor manufacturers [minor is here meant sales-wise and production-numbers-wise] got into when using sub-contractors far from home)

Proton /NAD
Founded 1974 in Korea, Proton built all of UK-based and 1972-founded NAD's output between 1974 and 1994 ; some of the very early NAD was actually made in Japan but the prod. quickly moved to Taiwan after c. '76/77.
Proton decided midway to have its own lineup but without going full-tilt : that's why the 1982-1994 Proton production is essentially resdesigned NAD.
Outside of this, Proton basically was a design and/or assembly outfit with (sub-)contractor capacities, building for -among others- Lenco or Uher later in the 1980s. Just one example :
Proton D1200 = Lenco AF3310 = Uher UMA-400. And from the same mold (but cheaper inside and outside : no sharkfins, single EI trafo instead of dual R-core) came the Palladium LA-1200... which also was a... Life LA-1200 !
Apparently, Braun's 301 and 501 series were designed by Braun, of course, but built by Proton.

Shiseido (Pioneer, 1960s)
SRE (early Pioneer receivers like ES-1000)
TOA Denki (CLD-R7G)
S. Marukô (Pioneer LDs like CLD-Z1 or CLD-R7G)
River Stone (Pioneer karaoke, mixers)
Aito KK (Pioneer CDPs like PD-X630 /X750T)
AGURO G (Pioneer CDPs like PD-M760 /M560 /M520 /AP1)
Mikado (Pioneer LD, A-J7 amp)
Below, the Mikado :

Asahi Onkyo.K (Pioneer CDPs)
Asahi Corp. (NEC CD-816)
Furukawa Denshi (Pioneer SA-6000, SC-1800II, MA-10R)
Yoshikawa DK (Pioneer BodySonic BSA-8)
KHS (many many 1970s Pioneer TTs, up to the PL-707, 505 & PL-5L)
Hachiohzi DK (Pioneer k7 like CT-5000 /315 /55T /3000 [aka T-3050 /3050M])
SAN-EI Denshi (or "San-Ei T" or "SAN-EI Electric" ; Akai AP-Q04 /M7 /D40C, UC-A5 ; Diatone LT-400 ; Kenwood GE-5J ; Pioneer MR-3000)

SKC Kogyo or "SKC" later on
(Pioneer k7 like CT-6 /5 /5D /400M /600M /405 /4040A /500 /7000 and amps like SA-7500 but also the Sony SRP-CT1 and MU-D100, and many Akai k7 & CDPs like CD-A30, GX-73 /93 /R6 /R65CX /R70EX, HX-R40 /M313W...)

Major provider for almost everybody but the top lineups ; very recognizable and oh-so 70s-ish T-tag logo. Also dipped into production under its own name but never really cared for it.
Partly owned by Kyocera from 1979 onward, fully merged into it in 1982, and dissolved when Kyocera stopped all audio activities in 1989.
Teac separates and V-800X among others, all 1982-1988 Kyocera production, Kenwood [A-M70], Nakamichi's 1983-1987 CDPs, KLH electronics throughout the 1970s (R-301 for instance), most of the post-1979 dbx [DAV-600G, Model 10/5, DX-900 (aka Kyocera DA-9CX)...] and its audio dynamics sub-brand (aka ADC) - and a million other components.

Below, the Cybernet logo on the dbx SS-115X :

... on the AT AT-TU50 tuner :

... on the Teac A-1 :

...and on the Nakamichi OMS-70II :

SOC (Sansui amps like AU-888, BA-60, BA-100, TAC-505, SAX-350D, QR-1500)
NDS (Sansui amps like AU-777D, BA-60 and BA-90)
AZUMI (Sansui amps like AU-D907X Decade /707XCD /607X /A607i /A707i /A507i /A707Extra /D507X /A707L /A777DG /A909 /E710 but also k7 decks like SC-A33 ; Aiwa CDS-505). Murata has a subsidiary specialized in EMI suppression filters named "Azumi Murata" in Nagano but I doubt they are or were the same.)
ARS DK (Sansui amps like A-515, the latter also seeing a run at regular "Sansui")
Nagano D (Sansui dual-k7 and amp like A-M7 or AU-D55F, timers like AT-212)
Miharu DK (Sansui A-M90 and A-900XV ; also active with Onkyo)
S.Kokusai (Sansui TTs like P-D31)
Kokusai Denshi (Denon DR-F6)
Shinetsu (Sansui TTs like P-E300 /E302 /E710 /M70 /L75)
ORION (Sansui SE-9, A-5001 /3001)
MSC (Sansui TTs like SR-3030)

KNSK (Teac k7 like V-9000 /8000S /7000 /7010 /5000, R-9000 /540 /606X /515 ; CDs like ZD-1000 /5000 /6000, Denon DR-F8 ; Kenwood KX-7X, A-1001, DM-1001, KA-1001G)
Below, tags for part of the "1001" Kenwood series, true bestsellers in Japan, and same series (know as "K's" in Japan) as the GE-1001 example outlined at the top of this page.
The MD deck was made by "KNSK" - more than very possibly a Sony outfit... but we're in the mid 90s here and Sony had dropped its typical tag design 15 years earlier so this either was a resurgence, or an outfit which took its independence at that time (I doubt it) or... something Sony kept on the side for specific, and rare, business deals ?


Kyonan Seiki (Kenwood k7 like KX-3700G /4500 /800 ; Pioneer EQs like SG-100 ; one run of Sony SEQ-V9900) [same as KNSK ?]
Suzuki M KNSK (or "Suzuki M" ; perhaps the same as above ; Fostex D-20 MK2 DAT, Teac k7 like F-300)
MINAMI (Teac pro and dbX units like DX-2A, Technics SL-1600 /2000 /Q3)
KOYO D (Teac k7 like R-646X)
KEI (Teac k7 like 122MKIII [the MKII was made in Taiwan], V-7 /2RX /4RX /8 /750 /909RX /7010, R-919X, F-200, A-420, W-440C, Z-5000 /7000, also the Tascam 112MKII and 234 ; also the DA-25 DAT)

Below, the "KEI" T-tags of the Teac V-8 and R-919X :

Tokyo Sound
Founded 1959 ; still under research but, like Entre, Supex or Audio Craft, Tokyo Sound (real name : "Guya Co. Ltd") also employed between 1959 and 1966 Mr Y. Matsudaira (Supex between 1967 and 1977, Audio Craft from 1981 onward) ; Matsudaira-san also collaborated with Koetsu.
Like the others, Tokyo Sound was very active at designing tonearms, cartridges and phono stages, for itself and for others like the NHK ; apparently still active today. Its T-tag simply reads "Sound", circled by an oval.
(Btw, Entre [or "entré"] didn't vanish but became MySonic Lab in 2003 - with Matsudaira-san again.

Yosin KK (Yamaha receivers like CR-400 and amps like A-3 ; one run of Sony TA-434 /242 /150)
SDK (Yamaha YOP-1)
Hamadenko KK (Yamaha GQ2015)
Yamamoto Tusin (k7 like Yamaha K-5, TC-3 /511B /511S ; Kenwood KX-600)
ASTI (some Sony CDPs which were otherwise Sony Taiheyo K or Sony BP ; Yamaha MX-101)
NICHIWA S (TOWA-rebranded Teac pro k7 like TCC-5000W)
Tokyo Ko-On Denpa (high-end attenuators for Pioneer Exclusive, Micro, Luxman ; still active today)
Tokyo TR KK (Optonica ST-1010)
TTS (UHER separates like Z140, Diatone k7 like DT-32P, Yamaha MS-1000, Akai AA-M30)
HYKW (Yamaha DTR-2 [=rebadge of the DTC-1000ES] but also Nasa getthoblasters like DJ-573 :)
SDK (Yamaha YOP-1)
NKY (Onkyo A-805 /3900 /817D /5500 /7900 /G5, PA-M7 /X1, PT-X1) ("NKY" is oNKYo without the two Os...)
Jelco (SA-250 tonearm ; standalone versions made for CEC, Sumiko, Feickert, Hino Audio, Bell Dream, Ortofon, Luxman and a million others as built-in - see here : viewtopic.php?f=1490&t=1832

Below is a very mysterious T-tag present here and there throughout the late 70s and mostly early/mid 80s...
I haven't been able to put a name on it so far (and it isn't Sanyo).

Brand-owned factories/corporations/outfits :

Alpine, Alpine EK & ALPS
Major parts manufacturer which gradually morphed into OEM supplier after the late 1970s ; ALPS also made most of the tuner varicaps used by JP manufacturers.
Bought Luxman in full and built for it between november 1983 and 1994... and almost everybody else since the 1950s, even if only with pots, sliders, switches, car and home CC mechanisms :)
Factories were scattered everywhere with a center in Saitama, where CEC, Akai, Sansui, Micro and many others were as well...
Like NAD or Rotel, Alpine also produced its own lineups (CC recorders only) but they were strictly for export, whether in "Alpine" or "Alpage" guises. DAT drives were used by (mainly) Teac, Tascam, Fostex, Sharp, Nakamichi, possibly Otari as well.

Alpine tags are simple : ALPS, ALPINE or ALPINE EK, the latter only used for the last runs of Luxman LX-360, LV-107U, L-570, L-540, DP-07 and DA-07.

Columbia is the origin, DenOn the later front name ; DenOn was by far the most present advertiser in Japan between the early 1970s up to the mid 1990s.
Production-wise, Columbia was originally (1960s/70s) delegated to low-end duties (compacts, boomboxes, small turntables etc) but the tag is the one found on most DH series open-reel (some based on TEAC drives) and many late 70s/1980s turntables like the DP-6700 (but the DP-6000 itself is Denon-tagged...), DP-47F or DP-59L/M, the latter also seing T.O.C. T-tags...
After the launch of CD, Columbia handled many Denon CDPs (high & low) and Denon all the rest. It's the same company in the end, just different routes regarding contracts, manufacturing and distribution.

Denon also built in the late 1980s for Hitachi with the Lo-D HA-9100D digital integrated amp which was a straight rebadge of the PMA-890D, down to the functions scripting ; also the Lo-D DAT-8000 which was a DTR-2000G (both with a Matsushita RAA1001 mechanism :) and the DA-505D which was a DCD-1290. Matsushita also provided Columbia with several lineups of LD players.
Worth noting, several early to mid 1970s PMA-xxx models have a very striking proximity with Monarch models.

Between 1970 and 1979, Columbia also organized a mainly-export (and mainly Europe) outfit to manufacture and distribute low-end lineups ; these components all have a sort of "pearly" logo (a round black dot is added to each D E N O N letter and the font is completely different) and were often made by KWAI (GA-65 for instance but also compacts, all-in-ones, turntables, receivers - etc). Some of these were released in Japan under the "LSA" brand name, before the DenOn outfit took over the "serious" audio segment of the entire Columbia production.
Strangely, for once, that KWAI T-tag was not omitted despite the fact all this was export-only ! This was probably set by Columbia to cash in on the Denon name without lowering the original brand itself. However, all components bear the "11" serial number prefix which denoted "in-house" Denon until the mid 1980s... Maybe a mix between Columbia and Monarch initiated by an ambitious Hong Kong marketing engineer.
Denon had another secondary/lesser lineup (PMA-255 for instance) which bore a very different scripting close the Fraktur font family (odd choice), the components of which had a "12" s/n prefix.

Recently, unlike Marantz since the second D&M sale, Denon has kept its own "Denon" T-tag, but builds more and more in China (like Marantz...).

CKK (Denon DP-50L/M /55L /60L/M /790 /1800 /30F, DRS-230 /300 /370 ; possibly independent at first then integrated into Columbia.)
T.O.C (Columbia, Denon CDPs, DP-59L/M, PMA-300V /390 /590 /715RG /1000G, TU-400 /290G /7.5E /7.5S, DRS-810G, SE-15 compact, AVC-700 ; also LSA sub-brand k7, Diatone compacts like MC-160, Hitachi a/v receivers like HA-V7 /V1 and amps like HA-9100D)
T-Denkai (Columbia, Denon CDPs and almost all Denon k7, PMA-1090 /1090G /1000II /S10II but also the... Nakamichi SR-40 or Hitachi HA-V6)
Niccol (or "Nicol" later on ; Nippon Columbia subsidiary producing in Taiwan, Korea, and now China Korea ; Denon CDPs and DP-38F, TU-F10G, Columbia CDV-550... but also Hitachi all-in-ones like HRT-231)
Kitsuregawa (DP-60M, DP-30L)
Columbia M (DP-51F /31F, DP-67L /67M)

Although an industry major, hi-fi-wise Hitachi remained a minor and used very direct (but not necessarily true :) Hitachi or Lo-D T-tags.
Among other providers were Seiwa K., TNK, Taiei, TDK AI Densi, Daiichi Denki, Cherry Denshi, VKW, Shinkoh Denki, Kyoritsu and a little from TOC (= Columbia/Denon) and T. Denkai (= Columbia/Denon).
An HLK tag was used for the DA-1000 and all clones and some built for Diatone/Mitsubishi later in the 1980s (like DA-U53P). The elsewhere unseen MRK is so present throughout the 1970s and 1980s that it must've been at least a partly-owned subsidiary.
Hitachi used Sony for its Japan-only D-9000 EL deck (= Sony EL-7).

Below, the HLK tag, back of the Denon DCD-2000 clone :

Although a semi-major OEM provider for others, Nippon Electric also used the services of many for about half of its audio production which, however, never was as diverse as that of Kenwood or even Sansui.
One can find NEC components built and/or designed and/or assembled by Azden (AV-721, AV-272Pro, AVD-500), AZUMI (NSA-5200), G-DEN (AV-300, AVD-700), Atago Seisaku (A-215M, A-220), HOME DENSHI (one run of CD-10), Miyako Audio (aka Marantz, GCT-3000, AV-3000 Type III) or MJI (aka... Marantz, PCM-500). Also the 1987/88 KD-1000 DAT which was made by NiViCo (aka Victor/JVC... but not necessarily using a Victor mechanism :).

NEC's own T-Tags were NEMCO, NEC and the very rare NEL ; Nippon Electric also built the Luxman PX-101 (which saw a SABA version as well because NEC was OEM'ing a lot for SABA at the time).

"Central Electric Company" was founded 1954 and remained an industry micron but a turntable OEM semi-major (Fisher/Sanyo MT-6360, Sanyo TP-L3, Yamaha PX-77, Clarion MP-3000A...) ; its CEO is Ken Ishiwata (no relation to the Marantz Ishiwata), on board since april 1971.
The corporate page says a lot and even spells those CEC built turntables for ( but stretches on being "the first to make turntables in Japan" and forgets to say that most of its OEM output was on the low-end of things - it's a corporate page :)

Tight links with Sanyo Optronics for manufacturing (FR-XL1 included) and/or distribution until 2000/2001 ; independent since then.
Very present since that move is OEM/ODM provider Carlos Candeias Engineering for the amps and d/a circuit design (and everything else). Still based in Saitama (until 2000 split between Tokyo and Saitama), but most of the production was transferred to China around 2002 (or Taiwan for the TL-2XMKII) ; sometimes acts as distributor for its own products, with or without Sanyo Optronics for the 1990s and with or without Candeias now.

Below the typical CEC tag and logo, back of a CEC BD-3000.
To be compare this with the CDK described above...


Micro very often avoided writing anything next to the T-Tag but development & manufacturing always was in-house but for some motors which were sourced from Victor, like that of the DQX/DDX-1000, and many others from Matsushita.

But for most of the motors (sourced from Panasonic), no contractors here but for three exceptions spotted so far : the DD-35 which bears an unseen-anywhere-else Akisawa Seiki tag (but a Micro tonearm of the MA-505 variant kind), the DD-26II made by Fujiya Audio (!) and the late run of the successful BL-91 which came from Denso...
All the ultra items (SX-8000, S-Z1, BL-111FV etc) never had anything next to the T-tag : all made in-house with very small runs so no need to specify "who". Very late runs before Micro went under have a red "D" added next to the T-tag and that probably denotes Denso (whoever that may have been).

The Panasonic "DAX" motors used by Micro for its own production were of course used for the Luxman turntables, as per Micro's use of the Technics SP-10 drive for its own first DD turntables (and Luxman's) in the mid 70s ; the famed RY-5500 drive also was based on the Panasonic DAX - just long-term business agreement.
Micro tonearms were of course rebadged by plenty throughout the 1970s and early 1980s but the Fidelity Research team and Micro's were close (just like Accuphase's and Sony's for CD players) so there might have been some "input" and exchanges between FR and Micro.
But for a few items (Marantz Tt-7 and SH-B19, Kyocera PL-901 /910 or Kenwood KP-07 /07M for instance), the Micro T-tag was never used on OEM items as Micro seemingly worked on development and design, before the manufacturing segment of the production process - a completely different stance than that of Fujiya Audio btw ; but the aforementioned tags prove that Micro also did manufacture entire items and therefore had at least one (big) factory able to cope with (somewhat) high-volume production...

Late in the day, after Sailor Pen put fresh cash in Micro's coffers, Micro went for big projects which, however, sold very poorly and were all based on something already existent : CD-M1 /M100 /2000X from Philips, CL-M2DC preamp from, possibly, Stax [?]. The rest never saw the light of day and Micro went under for good, in 1998, as an audio manufacturer. However, Micro still exists as a precision metal workshop... yet apparently still accepts up to two or three orders per year to manufacture SX-8000II sets !

MTC : Luxman PD444 & PD441.
MITO : MIcro TOkyo ; Luxman PD121A, last batches of the PD444/441, PD555 / VS555, PD-300.
SAITAMAMICRO : speaks for itself - the immense majority of Micro's output throughout its successful days, from c.1974 to the BL-10X timeframe by way of the DD-88 (which probably was the very end of Micro's DD engineering, along with the SH-B19).

Below the double tag (very Luxman) : MITO (manufacturer, aka MIcro TOkyo) and that of LUX (client and "distributor").
This clearly shows what Luxman meant when writing "customed" - as opposed to "manufactured" (which was the norm at Lux until about 1974/75).

One of the extra-rare non-Micro Micro tags : DD-35 by Akisawa Seiki.

Below the Micro Saitama tag, back of the rare DD-88

Below the Micro Seiki tag, back of the Kenwood KP-07 (kanji characters) and later 07M variant (latin characters) :

Lux is Luxman is complexman.
Maddening industry minor with crazy multiplications and distribution systems which drove it to bankruptcy and market retreats many times - and counting.

Before dealing into T-tags, a bit of history :
Up to about 1960/61, Lux components were "Mfd. by the Lux Division of Kinsui Denki Kogyo KK, Osaka Japan", Kinsui being the picture-framing shop Lux was created within in 1925, coming up with a new name in 1926 (Lux), renaming the entire operation in 1935 (KK Kinsuido), then 1943 (Kinsui Denki KK Kogyo, or "Kinsui Electrical Engineering Corp."). Lux started flying independently in 1960/61 by becoming "Luxman".
The 1960-1974 period is the flaming one with ever growing sales, worldwide reputation - the sky's the limit.
With the opening of a USA subsidiary in 1975, however, things started to fly off the handle and Luxman spent a lot on very little, starting along the way to multiply useless lineups, projects, variants and versions - plus the opening of a recording studio in Lux's magnificent offices (like Nakamichi, like Pioneer).
By the early 1980s, despite excellent sales everywhere, like Nakamichi, or Kenwood, or Akai, finances were quite probably off and at odds anyway with a market clearly going for the smaller and cheaper and Luxman's desire to pursue ever pricier components and keeping the tubed lineups alive as well (despite the fact that the production of JP-made tubes had by 1982 stopped entirely).

Alpine, already providing k7 recorders since 1978, gradually took over between september and december 1983 ; this was advertised loudly in november '83 with many ads published throughout the USA hifi press. Already at Alpine USA since 1978, Reese Haggot († 11/2010) became the general manager of the USA Alpine/ Luxman operation until 1986.
Those three years ('83-'86) made for a sort of hiatus, during which it is evident Alpine in Japan didn't know what to do exactly with its acquisition : very old components were kept in lineups for nearly a decade (depending on markets), the LuxKit offspring was gradually killed despite good sales (but plethoric lineups) and by 1986 Lux in Japan was clearly stranded between two directions. This sort of ended, in Japan, when Lux embarked on a very expensive and ultra-high-end program which, surprisingly, made the brand's last successful era with unbelievable sales... in Japan : truly pre-bubble-burst products, they are the 06 and 07 series plus the very popular D-500X's series.

Despite many thinking that Luxman went down in quality during the Alpine ownership, it wasn't so : Lux under Alpine produced its best (like Marantz under Philips) and had marvelously excellent sales - but only in Japan. Domestic components leaning on the Alpine side said "Alpine/Luxman" on their front plates, something which would've helped the export markets clearly separate the top from the bottom... and devise different marketing and distribution channels to avoid uniting what separates an LV-111 from an L-560 or a DP-07. Such was not the case and after 1990/91, Luxman's export sales dwindled very rapidly. Lux, like others, somewhat withdrew to Japan, getting rid of the dual-name fronts along the way, re-centering definitively on high-end products, while Alpine had AZDEN build the lesser (and still exported) lineups, a contractor which finally got to make nearly all of Luxman's production and assembly, kept in constant work until 1999/2000.

Alpine kept LUX under full ownership until 1994/95 which is when Samsung (yes, Samsung from Korea) bought a majority share.
Until another semi-bankrputcy in 1997/98 (export-wise, Luxman was by then quite dead) after which the duet of owners (Samsung + Alpine) made strange business arrangements to make lower-end Luxman-tagged components in Taiwan and Korea c. 1998/2000 in hope of making easy sales with DVD players, HT receivers, 5.1 speaker sets etc [I have all the catalogs for these]. This didn't work and both Alpine and Samsung finally walked out in 2000.
A Mr Yamada stepped in and through the latter's e-Lux company (later renamed "Quants") he took over Samsung's majority share (but not full ownership) ; that's the split ownership which lasted until the 2010 IAG buyout. I was told Mr Yamada only asked one thing of the (renewed, again) Luxman management : that it didn't drive itself to bankruptcy. Luxman did (as usual) and IAG stepped up, from main Asia distributor to 100% owner.

Now for the tags :
After the 1960s "formative" years, the main tag was a non-descript LUX Corp. (either "manufactured by" or "customed by" - subtle difference) until 1974/76 and the gradual beginning of said multiplications.
There was a brief LCJ late 1970s tag (B-12, L-11, G-11 or LX38 period) quickly replaced by a simple LUX which appears and reappears everytime Luxman is sort of in between ownerships or near such changes (late 1982, mid 1990s, late 1990s).
This can be seen in the PD555 & VS555 which were MITO T-tagged (MIcro TOkyo) but the later gold limited edition of them were LUX T-tagged, like the first batches of C-05 / M-05, CL36u or LX38u, all produced just before and/or throughout/after the Alpine buyout of summer/fall 1983. The last batch of L-68A and the entire production of M-4000A, C-5000A or MB88u fall into this as well (LUX T-tag) but didn't see an Alpine run as they were discontinued before the sale.

To remain in Lux complexifications, the LUX T-tag covered parts of the LuxKit production as well (with added stickers, like on the A502 Limited) - which means, quite probably, some reshuffling of the cards and recapitalizing because LuxKit, if fully-owned, was a separate corporation of its own...

This LUX tag was however used only on top-end components, those with very limited production runs ; its first appearance was therefore added to the very common YOSII tag which covered the less expensive output (1978-1983, from the L-5 to the L-550 ; "YO" probably stands for YOkohama) ; that YOSII tag however first appeared on the L-504 (1973), L-507, SQ-505 then the L-30 and L-80 /85V, then the last batches of M-2000, circa 1977, L-309V and one run of 5C50 in '77.
Strangely, this early YOSII tag is present only with a tinytiny stickers added under the power cords. The tag (re)surfaced in full in 1978 and until the Alpine sale, this time with normal lettering on the s/n plates/stickers. Variant for the L-507 : most have YOSII stickers/tags, other have the same stickers but with "PANA" written... Panasonic ? Difficult to believe but given the early 1960s patent collaboration (on MFB) between the two, it is possible.

Although I doubt it (even if anything is possible with Luxman), Lux apparently bought a factory dedicated to tape recorders around the time of the 5K50 / K-12, perhaps from dead Dokorder (?). However, the K-12 and later 5K50(M) have a LUX-A tag and that sounds very much like Alpine. More probably a joint venture in which Alpine had the lead at 51% and above...

Throughout its long and cahotic history, Luxman also used the services of Hashimoto, T.Sound, Copal Koki, Fujiya Audio, AMCO (=Sony), Aimor, Goto D.S., Sonic, YAGI, TSDK, FEC, Yokohama B.S. (since the recent IAG buyout) and Fukusima D for the recent PD-171 (the later A and AL come from "CH" or "EH").
And Lux, through Alpine, also used the services of Toshiba for many of its 1984-1986 CD Players, with a very prudish and subtle "T" T-tag (which is also found, among many others, on the Kenwood L-03DP, aka Aurex/Toshiba XR-Z90).

Now for the other way around : Lux OEM'ed c. 1962/63 one of its SQ5A variants to Matsushita due to the MFB patent which it was using - it's always two-way : I give you this, you give me that :)

The 1972-1984 LuxKit DIY offspring always used the same T-Tags (either "manufactured by" or "customed by" - subtle difference, again) whether the components were true DIY kits or fully factory-assembled and/or kit versions of normal Luxman items or LuxKit-only releases (and every other possibility one can imagine in between).
The last dedicated LuxKit catalog was printed may 1984 ; the last catalog showing LuxKit products was printed october 1984, one year after the Alpine takeover.

And that's without mentioning the Luxman-built BIC amplifiers and receivers, the brief rebadging by Whistler of several late 60s integrated amps like the SQ507, the 1970s Luxman-derived Luxor components (Sweden), the Luxman-built small Eumig lineup, too, and the 1972-1976 L•G adventure : cheaper but beautifully designed "trendy" components which were either L•G or Lux-named depending on the (few) destination markets (apparently "TSDK" handled the manufacturing of the entire L•G sub-brand) !
And, on top of that, the 900 and 910 Kyocera components which were all designed (circuits and looks) by ex-Luxman people.
Lux is Luxman is complexman.

Many ex-Luxman people launched their own brands ; the well-known ones are Atsushi Miura (A&M / Air Tight ; see here :, Junji Kimura (Sakura Systems, worked extensively on the Kyocera components), Nishimura-san (Nissha Laboratory Inc ; products made by AIMOR, a Lux sub-contractor since the late 1990s...) and Taku Hyodo (Leben).

(Those willing to know more about Luxman's can read this old TVK page :

Used several contractors although it had by essence many in-house providers due to the decision of Superscope to use asian manufacturing very early in the ownership.

The main T-tags were Kumamoto (a subsidiary established by SRC in 1972) and Marantz Japan (1972-1980s), both later engulfed in the non-descript MJI (Marantz Japan Inc, 1980s/90s) and MCJ (Marantz Company of Japan, 1990s/2000s) tags.
Kumamoto still exists, still a Marantz subsidiary, still in Yokohama, although it was divested from audio in 1989 to center on communication, chip insertion mounting machines and now LED lighting ; as of september 2013, Kumamoto had 92 people in employ.

(Marantz Japan Inc.)
However, nothing is ever simple and while MJI started to build outside Japan for low(er)-end components such as the PM-68 (Singapore) in the mid to late 1990s and Hungary (DR450) or, earlier, in Japan for A&D (1980s DA-U530). This MJI tag is still active for items built in China (and there are more and more in the present Marantz' lineups ; CR301 for instance) or Korea for Marantz itself, for Vestax, Bose (model "AMS-DMC", in Korea), Onkyo, NEC or the AH! chinese brand (yes : AH!).
MJI also served as contractor to Wadia when the latter "made" its WT3200 transport (1991 ; aka Philips CD960).

(Marantz Company of Japan)
This works in parallel to the MCJ which is reserved for the upper end such as the PM-15S1 and SA-7S1 (2005) or the D&M since 2008 (PM-15S2 or PM8004).
On occasions, MCJ also builds (or assembles only) for others outside of the ex-Philips/Marantz galaxy but in Japan : Denon DCD-755AE (Denon and Marantz are both part of D&M holdings so this explains that), Vestax (PDX-2000), a lot for Bose (PLS-1210 /1310, SSS-1MC, 2705MX, 1200VI - among others), Teac (DV-15) and a couple of high-end others like Soul Note and its sc1.0, ph1.0 and sa1.0.

The entire Philips LHH series after 1987 and the LHH1000 is MJI or MCJ-tagged with a couple of "MJC" variants (like the PM-95) - same difference. The CD-16 ('94) for instance was an MJI, but its CD-16D version ('97) was an MCJ.

Marantz Japan also built for the BMB brand (part of the Usen Group ?) which produced some strange items in the 1980s such as the CD-W1 cd auto-player/changer, the GR-2 CD graphics decoder, a/v amps and karaoke things later on. BMB seems to have continued operation throughout the MJI/MCJ period with TEAC and Yamaha (DA-MA7000 ; DSKK) now building for it in China.
Also in the sub-brand / licensing subject, Marantz Japan (ie. D&M) operates (or licenses) mostly mid-end chassis (6004-7004/8004 series) but also the big SR7010 & MM8003 to an "AirBow" outfit which upgrades/mods the components. Serial numbers for those units have a distinct "A" prefix accompanied by a very ugly back sticker saying "AB" or "AB Special" ; otherwise visually 100% identical to the normal production items. It's like a small-foot Ishiwata but outside Marantz per se : I believe AirBow to have emanated from what was left of NEC's hifi activities in the mid 1990s...

Tokushuseiki (80s/90s) was used for second runs of popular units (some originating from Philips in Belgium...) or dubious items such as the ED-3 (a CD-23-like dual mini-gramophone with built-in horn speaker...), ED-5 or A/V amps like the PM788AVF. Tokushuseiki, however, also built for other brands (Victor and Fostex for instance) so possibly not entirely a 100%-owned contractor.
In 1998, M&SE built in the USA the Model-66 (> which was however only distributed in Japan (and selling very poorly) ; the same outfit was responsible for the 1995 Model 7 /8B /9 reissues.

For the classic years, Miyako Audio was very often used, as setup in 1972 by the future Marantz Japan Inc. (1975) ; Miyako however also built for Taito, Pioneer (SA-V20II), Bose as well (2705MX, 4702-II, 4702-III, 1701 and 1702 amps for instance), Sansui (D-M70W) and BMB (DA-X21).
The well-remembered Marantz period (Models 140, 1150, 1250, SD-3000 /4000 etc) very often came from Miyako, possibly all the export-only receivers as well, Model 3500/3600 included.
Miyako originally seems to have had a tape-related specialty but also made, on top of the above, the strange (and unique) GR-2 : the box able to decode the graphics that were planned to be incorporated into CDs as early as 1981, a potential option dropped rapidly by everybody but Marantz (ie. Philips) which seems to have believed in it until about 1985/86 (as noted on the front of the CD650 : "digital and graphic output" !).
This notwithstanding, the Miyako-made components basically made what Marantz called the "B Line", therefore the bulk of Marantz sales worldwide. Like Kumamoto, Miyako Marantz still exists and operates.

Below, one of the (manymany) Miyako-made Marantz, during the latter's last heyday - 1975/76 :

and... when said heydays had become not so hey, back of an SD565 :

Below, one of the very rare Micro-tagged Marantz, c. 1978/79 :
(And, no, I haven't cracked yet that parenthesis "f" added after the model ID of the overwhelming majority of the made-in-Japan Marantz until the D&M sale...)

Also present were Gekko (for the Esotec Ad-5 /6 only), S&R (Model 140) and the 1960s original SRC which was used up to and including the Model 1060 which was the first 100% Marantz Japan item ; the Model 1070 saw the switch from SRC to the traditional Kumamoto (Marantz' main factory in Japan) in 1972.

Marantz in Japan also operated (and possibly owned) until the early 1980s the UNIX brand which mainly consisted of boomboxes such as the CRS7000 ; said boomboxes were produced through the "Marantz Japan Inc." tag, the biggest of those beasts being the SRS6000 (MJI) and CRS-5800 (Miyako) which both have a large door folding down to reveal a... turntable ! UNIX also made a copy of Sony's TPS-L2 Walkman under the name PC200. The Miyako-made UNIX often use Marantz' typical font (heavily customized Bernhard Modern).
I don't know when that outfit was shut down but it must have happened around 1983.

Around 1980/81, Marantz Japan also participated in the Sound House lineup : SH was a popular (and wealthy) distributor who custom-ordered components so as to have its own (mini-) lineup. Marantz provided the amp and tuner (the upstream SH-A20 and 6-gang SH-T10), both somewhat Esotec-related, and Micro, yes, provided the turntable (the lower-end SH-B19) - all very rare and Japan-only :(

And, of course, during the triple ownership period, many lineups were "designed" in the USA but made in Korea, as commissioned by either Superscope (just after the Philips sale) or Dynascan (later in the 80s). These however had nothing to do with either Philips (owner #1a) or Marantz Japan (owner #1b).
Of course, in recent years, Superscope, once holder of the Marantz Pro lineups in the US (such as today's PSD series), still has its lineups built by... Marantz Japan !

The old TVK Marantz Timeline page is still there :

(old page ; in need of corrections and additions.)

Speaker specialist and industry minor turned major thanks to boomy car-audio and video Laserdisc - paradoxes !
Very clean and organized, stable, manufacturing and distribution with a single PNR T-tag.

However, from the list above, it is obvious Pioneer also called on many OEM/ODM makers - even Sony for the famous SK-900 "Runaway" boombox which was made at SKDK (Sony Sakura, a Sony subsidiary) or the RT-701 and RT-707 which were made at KKKG, apparently a Sony outfit.
Pioneer avoided writing anything next to its D-1000 T-tag... because it was based on the Sony chassis and mechanism of the DTC-1000ES. Now for the other way around, two Sony LDPs were made by Pioneer : the mid 1980s LDP-180 and LDP-250CD (the latter also being rebadged by Marantz, Luxman, Teac and Nad) and Sony's first standalone DVD-R/RW recorder [RDR-A1, 2001] bears a PNR tag.

More recently, there also was the Pioneer PL-990 which is a Sony PS-LX250H - but down to such bargain plastic "components", the name on the front doesn't matter : just cheap whatevers made in wherever. And since such items are not made in Japan... there's no T-tag to trace the source.
The other way around : Pioneer also built speakers for Panasonic in more recent years.

Among many other dedicated factories :
Hiwada DS (CD and Laserdisc, incl OEMs, also k7)
Niikawa DS (CD and Laserdisc, incl OEMs, also k7)
Nikawa DK (CT-F1250/F950, CD, tuners, amps like M-10X or A-D5X ; also DAT recorders for Tascam [DA-20 /20MKII])
Nikawa Giken (or "Niikawa Giken" ; CD, MD, tuners, amps)
YP Denshi (Denon, Teac LV-8000V and some Pioneer LDs like the CLD-737 or CLD-HF9G; the Teac was also PNR T-tagged - previsibly :)
Universal Pioneer (strange one used for the LD-1000 but it probably came from the MCA proximity for Laserdisc...)
KKDS (rare tag ; amps like SA-8800 /7900 /7000, filters)
KKKD (rare tag ; CT-9)
M.Pioneer (very rare tag ; XL-A700, PL-1250)
S.Pioneer (very rare tag ; XC-HG10, DVL-9)
TWD.Pioneer (x-rare tag ; CLD-C5G, CLD-05)

Below : the main Pioneer T-tag ("PNR") and another Pioneer made by Furukawa Denshi.
Note the "F" addd after the normal Pioneer s/n sequence.

Below : the rare "EMUSU" T-tag (or "Emusus" or "EMS AMR"), mainly found on LD players.
Strange since Pioneer was the LD provider for everybody but Sony. Probably a temporary arrangement for supplementary production-runs.
Note the "EM" addd after the normal Pioneer s/n sequence.

Built all on its own before being bought at 52% by Sony in 1969, the remaining 48% passing on to Sony in 2002.
Between 1969 and 2002 Aiwa remained fully independent (like Victor vs. Matsushita) even if marketing and product planning was done in direct and close relation with Sony so as to avoid overlapping lineups, products and features.

Aiwa and Sony shared some manufacturing but that was almost never reflected in their respective T-tags or, more precisely, it was reflected on Sony's components but not on Aiwa's : the Sony TA-1500 bears an "AAKK" tag (that's Aiwa KK ; silkcreened in 100% Sony way : four letters, bold font under- and above-lined) but the Aiwa original (AA-15X) doesn't.
If parts-sharing between Sony's TCD-D10 series and Aiwa's HD-X7000 series is obvious (and that's just one example), I have found so far only two Aiwa T-tags on Sony products beyond the TA-1500/AA-15X :
the TC-W30 which bears Aiwa's early 1980s staple front design and its very recognizable 1960s logo as T-tag,
the 1984 CDP-3000 broadcast CD player (but the first 600 were made by Sony AU(dio), like the entire runs of the CDS- remote and CDF- fader unit).

Aiwa also built for others outside of Sony's duet strategy : Onkyo (k7 recorders), BASF, Metz, Uher and Wega which all rebadged the "22" (My Pace) system between 1978 and 1982. Unlike the others, the Wega version was previsible since Wega was also fully owned by... Sony.

This shouldn't be here since Wega was German :) But since Sony bought 100% of Wega in march 1975...
Three types of lineups/components were produced :
> straight rebadges (with color schemes changed nevertheless) :
B 4610 = TC-755, V-4810 = TA-5650, Modul 301V = TA-F45, V700 = TA-F55 etc
> in-house developments (with some internal Sony parts used) :
Modul 42V is based on STR-7800SD parts, Lab Zero pre and amp are TA-E88 and TA-N88 in disguise
> in-house developments that had no equivalents at Sony :
LabZero tuner, Concept 51K.

Some of the in-house stuff was (and still is) amazing (LabZero tuner for instance), some wasn't. Design was most of the time absolute perfection (Hartmut Esslinger oblige), sometimes the transition from Sony design to Wega "identity" did well (V700, T700, Modul 301 series) and sometimes it really didn't work.
The Wega teams also designed and/or modded Sony components and speakers and tuned them for "european ears" - Sony was the first of the japanese brands to go that route. Actually it didn't "go" : it merely opened the way which others went for full-tilt with success.
It is however around video that the Wega/Sony duet was centered : audio only was a side activity with small production runs and distribution limited to Germany (mostly).
After april 1980, Sony emptied Wega of its substance, fired key executives and the brand suffered a slow death until the summer of 1982 when it was abruptly, stupidly, pointlessly, shut down.

Industry major with a million factories linked, assembled & reorganized many times.
The last reorganization, outlined in march 2000, brought an end to the mayhem with an ubiquitous "S. EMCS" T-tag which means Sony Engineering, Manufacturing and Customer Services.
The factories consolidated/united into EMCS on april 1, 2001, were :

Sony Senmaya Corp. Iwate Prefecture
Sony Nakaniida Corp. Miyagi Prefecture
Sony Kitakanto Corp. Ibaraki Prefecture
Sony Bonson Corp. Saitama Prefecture
Sony Kisarazu Corp. Chiba Prefecture
Sony Digital Products Inc. Nagano Prefecture
Sony Broadcast Products Corp. Shizuoka Prefecture
Sony Kohda Corp. Aichi Prefecture
Sony Ichinomiya Corp.Aichi Prefecture
Sony Densi Corp. Aichi Prefecture
Sony Inazawa Corp. Aichi Prefecture
Sony Mizunami Corp. Gifu Prefecture
Sony Minokamo Corp.Gifu Prefecture

With 12,000 employees, a sales revenue of 1,5 Trillon ¥ and an HQ located in Shinagawa Ku, Tokyo, this ensemble was later expanded to Sony Malaysia, or SOEM). Since then, however, actual manufacturing has dwindled to much less...

Sony started to outsource manufacturing in Korea and Taiwan around 1977 but that remained very marginal, delegated to low-low-end things only (TA-F3A,TC-U2 and below, ST-A35, ICF-9740, RT-5) : Sony always had a fairly strict rule regarding the "Made In Japan" reality and the jobs this allowed to keep "at home". However, after the mid 1980s, and mostly the early 1990s, Taiwan, Korea and China were used regularily (but still : on the side only, unlike most other brands). Below, one example of the few Sony made outside Japan :

The overwhelming majority of the Sony T-tags between c. 1966 and 1989 have a common visual structure :
the four letters (ASCO, IZDK, SOAU, SKKC, KGDS etc) are set in between two lines, one above and one below ; the font itself is a customized and bold Eurostile Extended.

(generic tag between the 1960s and 1977/78 depending on series ; used for ELcaset, amps, receivers, tuners etc. The first few hundred TA-D88 were tagged "Sony", all the later ones "ASCO". Same for the PS-X9 which went from "Sony" to "DTKK" (Sony Daitoh) after about 500 were made.

Sony Audio Specialty COmpany, located in the Chiba prefecture ; the name of the actual plant was "Togane".
Unlike other plants, ASCO also was under direct corporate/marketing control and I'm sure some components with an ASCO tag were actually made outside Togane, elsewhere in the Sony galaxy.
As a plant, ASCO was between 1971 and 1981 dedicated to quality audio : ES, ESII, V-Fet, pre-Esprit, 1979-1980 ESPRIT, all export STR receivers. The ASCo tag is one of the few T-tags which was kept on exported (and generally high-end) components between late 1977 and 1979.
The ASCO operation was gradually merged into SOAU between 1980 and 1981, depending on lineups ; the Togane plant is still active for Sony.

Below, the "ASCo" sticker on a TA-N88 :

Below, the "ASCo" sticker on a TA-P7F :

SOny AUdio ; audio at large between 1974 and continuing after the efficient 1980/81 reorganization by Masao Morita (a relative of Akio). Falcon, Precise, PS-2800, 1980s ES, FH-7 & PS-Q7, turntables, everything, 1981-1984 ESPRIT, CDP-R1 & DAS-R1.
The earliest SOAU T-Tags I could spot are on some PSE-2500, TTS-2400, PS-2400, ST-5090 but also the HPS-600, MJ-100K, TA-501, PS-501, PS-300 and HMK-50 (the 2400/2500/5090 should normally have been part of ASCO).
SOAU was replaced at the very end of the 1980s by the more specific Sony BP, DP, TB, Kitakanto, Nagano TT etc.

Below, the "SOAU" sticker put on the first hundred TA-E901s to cover the "ASCO" tag here denotes a c. spring 1981 transition between ASCO and SOAU :

Below, the "Sony AU" tag later in the 1980s, doing away with the 1970s tag design and conforming to the new two-letter postfix denomination (Sony AU /BP /DP /TB etc) :

Main 1995/1999 audio plant until the S.EMCS unification.
Top-flight ES, series "1" & 5000/3000 (SCD-1, TA-E1 /N1, CDP-X5000 /X3000, TA-F5000 /F3000 etc), one (big) run of DTC-2000ES but also broadcast and studio/pro (PCM-R700, CDP-3100, CDR-W33, DPS series, MDS-B3, SRP-P50.

Below, the "Iwate TKR" and "Sony Kitakanto" tags on pro/broadcast units :

Sony DP
Digital Products ; R1 & R10, ES amps & tuners, 1000ESD & 2000ESD, CDP/TCK/STS/TAF-ESA/ESL/ESJ series.

Sony BP
Broadcast Products ; mainly the broadcast/studio gear, from the LDP-1500, PCM-7000 /E7700 series, the DSR, DV-Cam, to the Betacam /DigiBeta /DVW series. Audio-wise, the top-of-the-top flight ES/DAT/CDPs, CDP-R3 /R1a /X777ES and MUSE HIL-C1 /2 /3 LDPs [the C2 having seen a Panasonic version as LX-HD20]).

Sony Tsukuba
Sony TB or SOTB originally. The first item I could spot are the TC-357B, then the batteries for the TC-510-2 but SOTB became one of the main plants after 1979 for k7 like last run of TC-K88, TC-FX6, PCM-F1, last run of PS-FL770, PS-X555ES, ES series at large like DTC-ZA5ES or 1990s broadcast & pro like PCM-7010F /2700A, DPS-R7...

Below, the "Sony TB" tag on a TC-357B :

IZDK (TA-1120F /3130F /3140F /4300F /3200F /1130 /5650 /5550 /F45, HA-55 ; possibly the Sansui AT-15S as well [?])
M.IZUMI (probably the same as IZDK ; intermediate TA-N86 & TA-F55 runs between the original ASCO and the later SOAU, second TA-D900 run, SEH-310)

Nagano TT
ES, amps, tuners, TTS, EQs, audio at large since at least the TA-1090 and YJ-200, through the TC-K7B /K8B and up to the TA-F555ESR period.

Nagano KK
Probably a temporary outfit which I have spotted only on the ST-SA50ES, the quite cheaper version [inside] of the big ST-SA5ES.

S. Kohda or "SOKD" (main LDP plant up to the MDP-999 : consumer and pro LDPs, broadcast video ; lower-end Beta, DHR-1000)
S. Kisarazu (Beta, most of the VHS/S-VHS/miniDV/DVD and LDPs ; although now operated by the EMCS outfit, Kisarazu has become the main non-Malaysian Sony Plant.)

Taiheyo K (several ESA CDPs ; bought from Yamaha c. 1989/90 [?] to become a Sony subsidiary.)
Konishi D (last run of TA-D900, a few TA-E901 ; small Sony subsidiary.)
(no idea what scripting was blanked out by the blank sticker right of the T...)

S Nakanida (or "Nakaniida" ; luxury portable items such as the D-3000 "Celebrity" designed by Giugiaro, under the Sony Family Club Inc. marketing outfit, later renamed SME Families Inc.
Sony BN MD-7000 upped version of the D-3000, with a MiniDisc unit added and garnering a JP Good Design award ; custom order from the Sony Music Group [SMG] for its 30th birthday in 1998, still with the old CBS logo and selling like the original D-3000 extremely well.)

Sony IT (CDPs like CDP-991, TA-F510R...)
Ikari KK (last run of TA-NR1 and first run of CDP-R10 ; complete runs of the TA-ER1 + RPS-ER1, SAT-55GRX /100GRX, TA-FA3ES)

Sony Magnescale Established 1965 for production of instrumentation, magnetic (tape), laser and measuring technologies ; the DAT-based PC204 instrumentation recorder, HDD heads etc. Among a million other things, also made the T-180GL instrumentation ELCASET tapes (strange logo : "Elcaset-DR"... what does DR mean ?). Apparently let go by Sony in 2010 ?

AMCO (Sony TC-8000 /835 /7 but also Luxman [yes !] K-5 and K-8 or Columbia TRC-382 and many more ; probably integrated into ASCO in the mid 1970s.)

Sound Tec
All MM and MC XL cartridges, HA-T1, and later on all the "MU" and StudioLabo series plus the famed & outlandish (but Invisibilia) SUP drivers / SEM series in the mid 90s.
The Sound Tec Corp. was located at 3-9-17 Nishigotanda, Shinagawa-Ku in Tokyo and the man behind the Figure 8 / XL-55 series was Yoshihisa Mori, who started designing tonearms and cartridges at Grace before joining Sony, heading the Sound Tec division until c. 1986. I believe Mr Mori also participated regularly to the editorial dept. of the Sony ES Review corporate magazine (of which I own all issues).
The engineering base and manufacturing of the XL-55 /44 /33 (sans "L") was handed over JP niche manufacturer Final Audio (aka Takai Laboratory Inc.) for ultra-priced versions (in the 200k¥ range, and above) just as the XL-MC7 was rebadged (as "Carnegie One") by Mark Levinson / Madrigal at about the same time.
Sound Tec seems to have finally vanished (or been absorbed /reshuffled /etc) after the SUP / SEM adventure, c. 1996.

Below, the "Sound Tec" sticker put on the (underside of an) HA-T1 :

or "Jolson HJ." ; production mainly in connection with the Sony Sound Tec division ; one run of Sony HA-50, MU-A081, SRP-P152 /E311 /E1031 /P2005 /P2070.

Some of the (early 80s) Studio Labo series like MU-D11 ; related to SoundTec and jolSON (by types of products), bonSON was part of the outfits integrated into EMCS in 2001.

Sound System
1970 to 1980 ; turntables only like PS-2310 /5190 /3700 /4300 /4750 > 8750 /11 /X3 > X7 /P7X /X50 /X65 /X75, TTS-8000 /6000 etc - see the image below.

Audio System
shortlived 1979 to 1981 outfit added to, then incorporated into SOAU ; Syscon353CD, PS-X45 /X700 /X800 /FL5 etc.

DTKK or Daitoh
TA-4300F, first run of TA-1150D, TC-707MC, SQD-2020, Falcon SA-20F /10F /5F speakers, main run of HA-55 ; PS-X9, TA-N86 Mk2, first runs of PS-B80, TA-D900 & TA-N901.
Early DTKK stamp on a 1970 TA-4300F (but strangely not present on the accompanying TAD-43F ; after about 200 made, the stamp was replaced by a normal DTKK sticker) :
(and after about 1500 TA-4300F were made, the DTKK sticker was replaced by an... IZDK sticker :)

Main plant for pretty much everything with audio tape.
Open-reel TC-755 series, TC-765 /766-2 /510-2 /366 /5100 /6200 /7660, k7 like TC-4300SD /2350SD /K8B /K55 /K71 /K75 /K3 > K8B /K80 /K96R, first run of TC-K88... and all ELcaset : EL-7 /7B /4 plus, of course, the Lo-D / D-9000 Hitachi variant of the Sony EL-7 :)


Daiichi TK
Sony SRP-P2025 /P300, TA-N7050, PA-A200, first run of Sony CDP-5000 [1982] last run of TA-D900... but also Hitachi EQs and timers ; probably closer to Aiwa than Sony.

THTK or TOHOKU HT [TC-2220 /3000SD /5350SD /K7 /K7II /K7BII /K40 /K55, TAS-5]
(the three first kanji signs mean "Sony" ; the following ones mean "corporation")

KWDS (TC-2800 /2890SD /2350SD /2000 /5350SD)
DDKK (TC-K4 /K5 /K61 /K55 /K555ESII /R303 /U4 /3000SD /FX4 /FX200 /FX66 /V910WR, open-reel...)
IMDK (small open-reel, TC-4805, SQA-200, SQD-2050, PS-202, STR-201 /202, MJ-300, TA-1055A)
TTKK (TA-1166, STR-100A /101 /151, PS-101 /151, HP-50, HMP-70, YJ-200 etc ; also built for NEC [NS-637])
SSCO (early turntables up to the PS-5100 timeframe ; possibly the Sansui APS-900 luxury all-in-one as well...)
Sony-Radio (TA-1700)
Sony KZ (CFD-66, CFS-88 /10 /V5)
Kibo KK (all Sony electrostatic speakers [SS-R10, SA-S1, SA-MD9 & PixyPro / Compo S], SMS-1P [broadcast powered mini-monitors])
Sony Ichinomiya [MUSE decoders like MSC-3000 /4000]
Iwate TT (world receivers like ICF-6800 /6800A, Falcon TAE-20F)
Iwate TKR (1990s later incarnation of the above ; broadcast & studio gear, like CDP-D11)

KKKG Very rare tag, silkscreened in typical Sony style : Eurostile bold, above- and under-lined.
Present on the Pioneer RT-701 /707, CT-9, T-3050 and some runs of the Sony TC-6150SD /4250SD /2150SD ; either a Sony/Pioneer joint-venture or a Sony subsidiary who built some of Pioneer's most remembered (mainly export) tape products... For those wondering, Pioneer always was a speaker specialist, Sony was a tape specialist.

(Not a visual coincidence : this IS a Sony source.)
(the five kanji signs in bold font mean "Pioneer" ; the following ones mean "corporation")

The following two apparently were of the earliest factories (identified as such) which may, or not, have been reshuffled to become any of the others mentioned above and below...)
KTLN (TA-1000 /1010, TC-6360 [aka TC-366])
SSKK [TTS-3000 /A, PS-3000 /A, PS-1200]

And also, among others :
IDSK (TC-100 /100F)
MSDK (CRF-320 /320A, MS-3400, one run of ICF-6800)
KGDS [PS-100]
TKKG [PS-100A]
TMDK [PT-24], but also Yamaha DT-2B
HCKK [PS-200A]


SSCO [PS-5100]
SKKC [TC-1160]
STKK [TA-1090] ; [TA-1150] (1090 : one run ; otherwise at Nagano TT) ; (1150 : late runs, otherwise at ASCO)
SKDK [or "Sakura" ; CFS-10 /F5 /V1 /V2 /V3 /V8, CF-2400 /6600] (but also the Pioneer SK-900 "Runaway" boombox :)
KWSO [TC-15F /K4 /K65 /FX6C]
KFSK [TC-1265 /1270 /2600, CF-1900]
SKEI [TC-1360]
AAKK [TA-1500, aka Aiwa AA-15X ; Aiwa factory]

Below, one example separating a japanese back sticker for the PS-8750 turntable, and an export equivalent.
Only the original shows the T-Tag, here Sony's "Sound System" which was between 1970 and 1980 the outfit dedicated to turntables.
As with the PS-X9 (and other pricey components), the PS-8750's early units had a simple "Sony" tag, replaced after about 500 were made by the dedicated outfit, which is probably when the export versions got into production as well.


And one T-tag which made it outside Japan : between late 1977 and 1979, many (but not all) exported high-end items had a small ASCO sticker added.
Here my own TA-N7B ; on the other #500082 number (first prod. run with silver faceplate) the sticker was added as well.... but penciled out by Sony DE !


And one more to show the look of the 1970s Sony T-tags (under- and above-lined), here for the TC-R6, aka TC-765 outside Japan.
This is KWDK, Sony's major tape/recorder factory before the early 1980s reorganization.

There are several sub-contractors that used this exact look and font and proportions for their T-tags : "AMCO", "YTKK", "KNSK" (apparently a k7 specialist) and "KKKG" are four of them, the latter two producing for Teac, Luxman and Pioneer (and Sony of course). I can't link them directly to Sony but they were all very very probably Sony-operated ; if not owned, they must have been direct affiliates, short-lived or not and later absorbed (or not, etc).


The main tag is, overwhelmingly, MAR and/or the "National" symbol (three small triangles joined to make a bigger one).
MEI (= Matsushita Electric Industrial) and MUN were used less frequently and MAJ on the microscopic side.
MAR was also used for contracted components such as the Denon DVD-3300 or, much earlier, the Columbia LA-1300K LD player (and Columbia = Denon).

Several MJI were used (aka Marantz/Philips ; RS-DC10) and there were a couple of others like the earlier MEI but Matsushita was capable of doing (95% of) everything on its own even if items such as the SB-M1000 were made in Spain and not Japan.
On the other hand, Ramsa, Panasonic's pro brand, does regularily use OEM/ODM sources. One very strange item is the 1994 TU-PCM10N audio satellite tuner which was rebadged from NEC in the first place ! Better yet, if the front says Panasonic TU-PCM10N, the back plate says NEC NE-PCM9000... with the MJI T-tag ! Not only Lux is crazy.

TYDS (SE-A806, SU-8055, SH-3035...)
MUN (SU-V15 /V55 /Z36 /A707 /V7, the latter also seeing a run at NSG...)
NSG (SU-8077 /SU-V7, the latter also seeing a run at the regular MUN or ST-8044G, the non-G version of which came from the more common MAR...)
KME (SL-1200MK2, SL-6 /7 /V5 /M1 /M3 /J2, SH-8020 /8075, ST-2300 /C01, RS-825U, 1960s/70s National but also some Yamaha EQs and TTs like P-M77 or the CMXII multitrack k7 recorder)
MAW (SL-1200MK3 /3D /4 /5 /6)
TMC or TMMC (Panasonic SU-MA10, SA-E10, Sanyo/OTTO TP-1000D motor [= SP-10] ; also Diatone k7 like DT-6, DT-43P and the Z-30 [impressive k7/tu/LP all-in-one c. 1983/4].)

Clean production systems but we're talking about very small lineups and production numbers compared to Pioneer or Sony ; also, Teac's core and specialty was open-reel and nothing else (not even k7).
This explains that all of the DAT decks were Sony-based (R-1 / D-50) then Alpine-based (but for the later models which came from Pioneer), many k7 decks came from Alpine (in parts or complete) and that and a lot came from Kurume Denshi (the overwhelming majority of Teac's k7 decks and CDPs) and KEI.
Some in the late 1960s and 1970s came from NDS (amps & separates, which Sansui and Victor also used) and some in the 1980s from Cybernet (V-900X /800X) ; more recently MCJ (= Marantz) built the DV-15 universal SACD/CD player.

Teac, still named TTO then, apparently helped Nippon Gakki (= Yamaha) set up its own hi-fi dept in 1953... and opened very early on its own factory in Taiwan which did help outsource development and components more discreetely. Teac provided throughout the 60s and 70s open-reel drives to Sanyo, Toshiba, some to Denon as well - among others.

The main in-house T-tags are as follows :
Teac (everything, but it is only a generic tag which may "hide" contractors such as for the CDPs rebadged from Sony :)
Selepas (CDPs like VRDS-15 or X-50W, d/a units like AZ-1 or DV-30S)
(Selepas is at 8-10-12 Shin-machi, Oume-shi, Tokyo 198-0024)
TASUKU (CDPs like VRDS-50 or VRDS-25XS ; TAscam MDR-801R /801RMKII, CD-601, DA-302 double-DAT, ultimate BR-20 open-reel or DA-78HR)
(some old Teac factories there :

And below, as clear as it gets : Aurex PR-9020 open-reel with a TEAC T-tag :

Little industry minor which naturally used many contractors throughout its history until Mitsubishi/Diatone took over in '79 by way of an exchange of high-rank employees and the sharing of the same bank, the... Mitsubishi Bank :)
The use of external contractors continued after that despite the building of many factories in Europe in the early 1980s and despite, later on, the Japan-only A&D venture (Akai & Diatone) which was a direct consequence of the 1979 takeover. Akai built a lot of its 1979-1983 components in Saitama but the 1988 and e-normous A&D DA-A9500 / DA-P9500 (800 and 700k¥ respectively !) were also made there (T-tag : "A.Saitama", also found on early 90s Sansui amps like A-900XV... Akai or Alpine ?).

An "Akai E.L" outfit also built in Taiwan for Diatone itself (TA-55W boombox) and A&D (DA-U11AV amp, LX-5050DU system, DT-W4000) but it's a rare tag ; main contractors : Kashima, Kowa, Cherry Denshi, San-Ei Electric, CPLK, AIC, Taiheyo K., SKC Kogyo, Cybernet...

Akai often added destination market letter(s) on the back plates of its components, something which was not erased on the export units (A = America, J = Japan, E = Europe ; there also was a "V" which meant I don't know what.)

Below, the Akai Saitama tag, on the Akai GX-F44R :

Below, the Akai Saitama tag, on the A&D D-9000 DAT :

Victor / JVC

The normal Yamaha T-Tag (Nippon Gakki Co. Ltd.) is generally "generic" and may hide a couple of little white lies :) It was replaced after 1987 and the centennial anniversary by a simple "Yamaha Corporation".

Most came in-house but Yamaha occasionally used AZDEN for specific products (pro lineups and the A100 /100a bestsellers), many turntables from Fujiya Audio, receivers, Sony for the DTR-2 and Technics for the DTR-1 ; Taiheyo K provided a lot before its switch to Sony. Yamaha's mid 1970s top turntable, the YP-1000, used a Stax UA-7 tonearm, too (and a Technics SP-10 motor/rotor).
Yamaha is the first of the sound-centered brands to have (officially) opened its own factory outside Japan (Malaysia, '84), a factory still active today for everything left of Yamaha's audio activities. But before that, the 1981/82 "77" system of separates, for instance, was sourced from no less than four different outfits : Ikeda DK (k7), Daisen DK (eq), Taiheyo K (amp), "TN" (turntable), plus Yamaha itself for the tuner.

The following are the main in-house and in-Japan Yam' factories :
NSKK Most of Yam's audio production : CDPs from the CD-2 to the CDX-700D /10000 /2020 but also video items like SLV-1000 or CDV-90M and A/V amps like the AVC-30 and all the rest)
DSKK (HA-1>5 head-amps, CX-1, MX-1, MX-D1, AVX-100)
FUJI K (GT-2000 /2000L /2000X /1000 /750)
Fukuroi K (T-6, T-7, T-750, T-2000, TX-505, MS-5000A)
Fukai K (speakers like YST-SW1000)

Used like all the minors many sub-contractors for everything non-amp and non-tuner but kept non-descript "Kenwood" or "Trio" T-Tags (or Trio-Kenwood).
Late 1950s amps bore a "Kasuga Radio Co Ltd" name (with "Trio" as commercial identity) and early 1960s units like the AF-R5 amp or AF-10 receiver were T-tagged "Kasuga Musen Kogyo Co Ltd (Trio)". Jiro Kasuga really founded Trio and this explains the meanderings Kenwood went through after his departure to launch Kensonic Labs, aka Accuphase, because he took the high-end audio impetus with him.

By 1978 Kenwood was in dire financial situation (like Akai) and after 1980 many sub-contractors appeared, visibly this time and even for amps and tuners (IIDA Denshi, EMENICS, Seiko IND, OKN, MTK, Shinwa Audio, CPLK, Kyonan Seiki, Komoro...), under a gradually reshuffled Kenwood operation and the original Trio name vanishing even in Japan.
This dire financial situation is quite probably what caused the quartet of LX prototypes (1979 ; the most impressive set of prototypes ever made by anyone, ever) to remain unproduced.
It is also a paradox since Kenwood wanted to stay close to the tangible cash machine while Kasuga took on the niche market of risqué super-hifi with Accuphase ; fourty years later, Accuphase is still standing on its own, strong as ever, while Kenwood has dwindled to next to nothing even after the merger with JVC/Victor in 2007/2008.

Anyway -
Kenwood launched a Kencraft sub-brand around 1971 which offered small lineups of DIY components [including one turntable !] ; it consistantly sold very poorly and was buried c. 1976, long before Alpine killed Luxman's LuxKit - an equivalent but much more interesting (and successful) offspring than Kenwood's. I have a few Kencraft catalogs - extremely rare items.
Kenwood also asked Bertagni to design sound panels (model "50W 6045 V-2-I" wth dyn cones, not electrostats) with ultra-70s-ish front decor ; these were made in Argentina and Bertagni later on became "BES", mostly known in Japan.
Slightly after this, Trio also took a dip into record production (like Lux and Nakamichi did later on) and produced a Dee Dee Bridgewater LP record ("Afro Blue", 1974) but didn't manage to distribute it outside Japan - or produce anything else.

Throughout the 1980s, Kenwood & Toshiba apparently exchanged plenty and shared sub-contractors along the way, most visibly for turntables : the Aurex SR-P90 (T-tagged "OKN") is evidently a (beautiful) repackage of the pretty Kenwood KP-770D (T-tagged "Seiko Ind. Co.") and parts in other turntables are evidently, visibly, blatantly, shared both sides.
Kenwood also made semi-flat speakers' drivers for the Aurex SS-F07 and built/designed several components for Aurex such as the ST-V73, XR-V73, SK-V3R, PC-V51WR or SB-V8 (through the Emenics outfit for the latter). And Aurex/Toshiba made some for Kenwood in return :)
Six years after the SS-F07, Aurex/Toshiba made a rebadge of the Kenwood ESPACE high-quality system under the name of "SK-V730" ; the back T-tag is unequivocal : "Kenwood" :)


Kensonic / Accuphase
Kensonic is the only minor to have survived all others, majors included, without ever having been bought/sold and/or forced to mix with somebody else.
But for the CD & SACD drives which always came from Sony and the few MC cartridges in the late 70s and 1980s, nothing else here to note as everything was all made in-house and always has been.
After Kensonic switched names to become Accuphase (the latter was that of a series only, not a brand name), it rarely wrote anything next to the T-Tag logo but sometimes did with an "ALI" : Accuphase Laboratory Inc."

Used like all the minors sub-contractors but kept only one non-descript T-Tag : Nakamichi-F (similar to the Sansui-F...).
I haven't been able to trace much from that "-F" but the OMS-50 /50II /70 /70II and OMS-30 have the Cybernet logo as T-Tag (no wonder) and the Dragon CT has that of Fujiya Audio ; several later Nak' CDPs were made by Home Denshi and the big PA-70 came from D.Sangyoo.

However, Nakamichi always had small lineups and one central specialty so this prevented wide and constant calls on OEM/ODM providers for all of what the other minors were offering (eqs, tuners, speakers, TTs etc).
But even on its own speciality, k7 recorders, the 500 and 600 recorders for instance were made by KNM (which also made the rest of the 600s as well as the 400 series) while the BX-1 and BX-125 came from T.Narita...
("KNM", however, sounds very close to NaKaMichi, just like "NKY" sounds very close to oNKYo - probably time-limited joint-ventures or participations or whatever).

Until 1971 a 50/50 part-ownership with Toshiba (yes :), then on its own and in 2014 buying Pioneer's a/v business (and possibly more now).
Used like all the minors sub-contractors but kept only two non-descript T-Tags : FRX and ONK.
Onkyo opened fairly early on its own factory in Malaysia (like Yamaha) which probably helped outsource development and components more discreetely. Some early 1970s amps like the TA-7055 bear very obvious resemblance with Nikko semi-equivalents, too.

I haven't been able to trace much from those FRX and ONK except for a little coming from Azden (ME-50, PE-33, PE-77X) , Yagi (MA-1000, PA-300), MD (A-4400), Fujya Audio (CP-790F), Miharu DK (PE-C50), Hide Denshi (T-200, T-415), Aiwk (A-623 ; = Aiwa), Arusu (PL-33X), MJI (T-420CS ; = Marantz) and a lot from NKY (oNKYo ?).
The 2004 C-1VL 800£ CDP was made in Japan but by "GGE".

Sad story for one of true audio greats but one should keep in my mind Sansui always remained a minor, sales-wise and industry-wise.
Therefore even minor setbacks would, and did, have profound effects on the brand's health. I know the whole story, in detail, of what happened to Sansui but... not allowed to post. Made a lot of its profit in Japan as distributor of JBL and Thorens ; once those contracts vanished... the writing was on the wall.
Used like all the minors sub-contractors aplenty but kept only two main non-descript T-Tags : Sansui-F and Sansui, the latter almost always in Kanji characters ; there also was a Sansui-S tag which I suspect was used for exterior contracting only.

Beyond some turntables, SOC, NDS, AZUMI, T.Sound, Nagano D, Kitahinon TK (SE-8II ; the first SE-8 was also built elsewhere), A. Saitama (Akai or Alpine ?), Kurume Denshi (see Teac for that one), JVC for some MD decks and a few others bits like the made-in-USA B-209 tube 200 pieces limited edition, I haven't been able to trace much but Sansui naturally used many different contractors.
Sansui built for Bose (yep : RA-8 & CDA-8) but probably through a Korean factory loop so not Sansui per se - and at that time Sansui was already way under.

Imagine what jobs all of this made : engineers, product planners, developers in each of these outfits !
Of course, all of this is mostly gone, and nobody makes copper-plated diecast aluminium chassis anymore - too expensive.
Gone to China now : cheap, fast and shortlived.

The End.
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Re: The web of japanese contractors and sub-contractors

Postby theophile » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:35 am

No-one replied to this Axel. I'm gonna.

Mate this post is typical of what you are all about. Born blood hound, you'll sniff-out stuff that most of us haven't even suspected exists. What a shame that this site faltered. You would have had the pre-eminent vintage Japanese site on the planet, if all had gone as you envisaged.

Thank you for all of your hard work.
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Re: The web of japanese contractors

Postby Sam Z » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:49 am

This post is amazing, thanks Axel. It'd be cool to find some of those industry catalogues. Does anyone know what they're called?
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Re: The web of japanese contractors

Postby Axel » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:44 am

Those catalogs were probably printed within "triangles" between Japan on one side and Singapore, Korea and Taiwan on the other.

I have searched and searched like mad but never found any. I have no names and not even a single cover jpg.
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Re: The web of japanese contractors

Postby Ozzy » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:45 am

The T-tag is also the logo of the Japanese post office (well, PTT actually), and as such it might be linked by the approval of this Japanese governmental organisation that the electronic equipment was authorised for use/sale in Japan. All electronic consumer goods in most civilised countries are always subject to authorisation, with respect RFI emission and personal protection (earthing) as applicable to a certain category of apparatus. This authorisation is very similar in the USA (FCC logo on the electronic device), and current CE marking for EU zone. Before the CE marking started (based on homologated EU-wide standards superseding local national standards/codes), we had a large variety in Europe. Remember for example the 'alp horn' on the back of German certified electronic equipment (or LCEI in France, or KemaKeur in the Netherlands) ? In the current CE labelling, which is (unfortunately, as the Germans oppose for good reasons lately) a self-labelling by the manufacturer stating himself he is CE-norm compliant, it is also required that the manufacturer's name appears (depending on apparatus category).

In Japan, it's still the same system (no administrative thing changes there in less than 200 year debate anyway), the PTT organisation still provides accreditation for any electronic equipment brought on the local Japanese market. So that's why the T-logo is a unique logo for Japan. Very useful for historic archiving.

Just to complement the Axel's amazing T-tag work above.

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