Tokyo Jazz Kissa: High Fidelity with Avantgarde Acoustic

In Japan there is an uniquely experience of listening to jazz LPs playing through rare vintage sound systems at specialized cafés, called Jazz Kissa.

Following information refer to an article of Resistor Mag, by Rafe Arnott, where Rafe Arnott interviews Katsumasa Kusunose, Japan editor an publisher of #VINYL magazine. Link:

In Japan there is an intense, enthusiastic HiFi scene, especially about vintage HiFi and Jazz, driven by the baby boomers. Jazz Kissa means "a place where you can listen to jazz while drinking tea". The Jazz Kissa phenomenon got its start 1929 in Tokyo, until during second world war listening to American Jazz became illegal. During the 50s and 60s the Jazz Kissa revival got its peak, with a very young fan audience in their teens and twens. In this time Jazz artists started to tour again across the Pacific while Jazz pressings were very expensive, about 25% of a weekly salary of a college educated salaryman. One more reason why Jazz Kissas became so popular in this time: you could listen to several Jazz artists for a price of a cup of tea. While serving alcohol, cooked food and dancing is forbidden in most Kissas, and even conversation is prohibited in some places, a new form of so called Kissa Cafés were created, where it is allowed to serve alcohol and cooked food.

Katsumasa Kusunose, 61 year old editor, photographer and music lover, founder of JAZZ CITY LLC, publisher of #VINYL magazine, was interviewed by Rafe Arnott for Resistor Mag. We like to share some interesting quotes of this article here:

Rafe Arnott: "If you had one piece of advice for aspiring audiophiles what would it be?”
Katsumasa Kusunose: “I think it's about trusting your ears. Instead of being distracted by other people's opinions and values, we should pursue what we feel is a good sound.”

Rafe Arnott: "Describe your perfect sound system and why.”
Katsumasa Kusunose: “A perfect sound system would be a combination of space and equipment. No matter how expensive the equipment, it would be meaningless if it was not installed in a space where it could fully demonstrate its capabilities. A good example of this is the store called Tournez La Page, which has an Avantgarde, a very expensive German system introduced in # VINYL issue 1. This store was designed and built on the assumption that it will have an Avantgarde. I think this is the ideal method, and that's what a perfect sound system is.

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