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Vestax Founder Hidesato Shiino Shares STP/Vestax Vision

We’ve finally gotten a real confirmation that the STP/Vestax website, product, and company is real – in a post from the original Vextax founder Hidesato Shiino. The post appeared yesterday on the blog of his own guitar repair shop, PACO1977, and details his own exit from the Vestax company in 2002, some of the reasons for the decline and eventual bankruptcy, and what the new STP/Vestax brand will look like.

From The Founder: The Story Behind STP/Vestax

Here’s the abbreviated summary if you don’t want to read the whole thing:

  • Vestax ran smoothly until 2002, when Hidesato decided move on, having become tired of playing the “money game” instead of innovating
  • Three years later, a lot of talented people started to leave Vestax because the management didn’t want to innovate with their own new products
  • A lot of the focus in manufacturing has become centered on low-end, disposable products
  • Hidesato considered restarting the Vestax of 2002, but large-scale manufacturing is not possible right now
  • Starting in March 2016, STP / Vestax will start releasing small runs of products (10 – 20 units / month) direct to consumers
  • “I will release a Mixer rebranded as STP / VESTAX with our VESTAX image, in order to support and keep our global VESTAX fans […] There is significant experienced thought behind the development and production of this mixer, as top-quality sound has been the priority behind its development. It is also matched with a distinct yet subtle design.”
  • More products from STP/ Vestax will follow, including a power amplifier, signal devices, turntable, SP system, and pre-amplifiers.

Read Mr. Shiino’s post in full below:

VESTAX, a company I established on November 8, 1977, had been listed as bankrupt in December 2014. No one knew the truth as to how on earth this had happened. But as its Founder, I now have the duty and obligation to report it to all.

The VESTAX Group was running very smoothly up to 2002 -. A profitable and debt-free enterprise I decided to retire and leave the management and operations of the company and its products to a younger, “Under 40yo” generation in April of that year. What drove me to move on was that I had become disillusioned by the vulgarity of the “money game”, and how it was depriving the human spirit of manufacturing-creativity. I felt the shallowness, and an emphasis on price over innovative technologies.

“Manufacturing requires boundless passion, and a person must be driven, and aggressively and progressively create and produce – by inspiration and perspiration, while learning by trial and error.”

This is the motto I have aspired to in manufacturing. I had been working hard to convey such thinking to my employees to focus on ideas not products, and that it was become an era of no interest in people. It was difficult. In other words , a “money game” type manufacturing industry began to be the popular business form.

Some three years after I left the company, talented people started to leave one after the other, and the manufacturing company began to collapse. After five years, the constitution of the company had completely changed, with scandals involving its proprietor, and interest in the . company began to vanish “The times they are a-changing” -.. economic primacy eliminated human dignity Such was my feeling Toshiba, Sharp, Yamaha – Japanese companies once known for their specialized fields – also changed to fit this global attitude, and lost sight in their direction. Surprisingly, Sony also followed this pattern. It is unfortunate that the no one understands the mission statement written at the establishment of Sony by its Founder Mr Ibuka.

It is a style that permeates the world, and companies that manufacture their own line seem to be disappearing. The trend now is low-end disposable products have flooded the market and on the other hand small groups crowd around ridiculously expensive goods. Therefore over these last 15 years, I can see that the identity of this industry has completely changed, though this has no relationship with the damage to my own company.

For some years the management position was “We can not make something from scratch” as “new products can not be sold”. As a result, most people left the company and disappeared. Upon the company closing, a check was made on product-quality, and was found to be quite inferior when compared with the 2002 output. The company closure is still being deliberated at the Tokyo District Court, and is not yet concluded.

And I sincerely apologize to the many DJ’s who have endorsed and still love VESTAX, as well as to those who gave great efforts to develop and sell our products in the DJ world for this strange ending. Away from the company for 13 years, I entrusted the management, but they did not perform for you as I hoped. Everyone regarded VESTAX as a company with strong sense and that as a Japanese company it would not fall to novelty. I think it lost sight of its core manufacturing purpose and direction, as I have described above.

I would like to send this heartfelt message to everyone, to spread to the DJ World that I seriously considered restarting the VESTAX of 2002, but large-scale mass production of new units is not possible. However, I have decided to release and sell the first of a range of products from March 2016, as I have sourced the production talent of 2002 levels. I plan to produce limited quantities (10 ~ 20 per month) for direct sale to end-users.

While my purpose is not commercial-level output, I will release a Mixer rebranded as STP / VESTAX with our VESTAX image, in order to support and keep our global VESTAX fans, and I hope it will receive strong, warm encouragement. There is significant experienced thought behind the development and production of this mixer, as top-quality sound has been the priority behind its development. It is also matched with a distinct yet subtle design. In 2016 we will sequentially announce a range of new acoustic products such as a power amplifier, signal devices, turntable, SP system, and pre-amplifiers. We think that no matter how the music world is changing, there will always be real die-hard music lovers.

Hoping for your understanding and future support,

Vestax Corporation Founder: Hidesato Shiino

The post also notes that the official STP / Vestax website will be launched this month. 

Want to read the original post for yourself? See it here in Japanese and English on PACO 1977