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K-ON Partly Credited for Historic Electric Guitar Sales

posted on by Ko Ransom
Growth in sales to girls and young women, rising quality of budget models drive imports

The Sankei News reported on Saturday that electric guitar imports reached an all-time high last year, driven by a growth in sales of low-priced models to school-aged females that the article credits the K-ON! series for contributing to. According to statistics released by Japan's Ministry of Finance, 393,515 electric guitars were imported in 2011, breaking the previous record set in 2008 of 381,514 imports. However, the average price of each imported guitar in 2011 was about 17,300 yen (about US$215), under half of what the average price stood at ten years ago. This drop in average price is largely credited to large fluctuations in the value of the Japanese yen.

In the article, managers at guitar stores state that they have noticed a significant growth in elementary to high school-aged female customers, and that over the past two to three years, sales have been shifting away from high-priced brand-name guitars such as Gibson or Fender USA in favor of cheap beginner models. The article then goes on to credit the broadcast of the K-ON television anime for a boom in demand for electric guitars, and also notes that guitars created by the maker Gretsch have been in high demand after a recent AKB48 music video that features idol group member Atsuko Maeda playing one.

The recent K-ON! film that premiered last December had earned the equivalent of US$20,790,997 as of January 29, according to the Box Office Mojo website, was seen over 128,000 times as of March, and was nominated for a Japan Academy Prize in January.

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