Sony Music Entertainment Japan

Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. (株式会社ソニー・ミュージックエンタテインメント, Kabushiki gaisha Sonī Myūjikku Entateinmento), often abbreviated as SMEJ or simply SME, and also known as Sony Music Japan for short (stylized as SonyMusic), is a Japanese music arm for Sony. Founded in 1968 as CBS/Sony, SMEJ is directly owned by Sony Group Corporation and is operating independently from the United States-based Sony Music Entertainment due to its strength in the Japanese music industry.[lower-alpha 1][1] Its subsidiaries include the Japanese animation production enterprise, Aniplex, which was established in September 1995[2] as a joint-venture between Sony Music Entertainment Japan and Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan, but which in 2001 became a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment Japan. It was prominent in the early to mid '90s producing and licensing music for animated series such as Roujin Z from acclaimed Japanese comic artist Katsuhiro Otomo and Capcom's Street Fighter animated series.

Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
Native name
Kabushikigaisha sonī myūjikkuentateinmento
FoundedMarch 1968; 54 years ago (1968-03) (as CBS/Sony Records Inc.)
Headquarters4-5 Rokubancho, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Area served
Key people
Naoki Kitagawa, CEO and Representative to the RIAJ
Masao Morita, Chairman
Revenue ¥439.57 billion (US$4.01 billion) (2021)
Total assets¥100 million (US$911,161.73)
Number of employees
ParentSony Group Corporation
Ariola Japan
BMG Japan
Epic Records Japan
ForwardWorks Corporation
Jisedai Inc.
Ki/oon Music
MusicRay'n Inc.
Music On! TV
Peanuts Worldwide (39%)
room NB Inc.
Sacra Music
Sony Creative Products Inc.
SME Records
Sony Music Records
Sony Music Associated Records
Sony Music Artists
Sony Music Publishing Japan
Sony Music Direct (Japan) Inc.
Sony Music Labels
Sony Music Marketing United Inc.
Sony Music Solutions Inc.
Time Records
Zepp Hall Network Inc. (51%)
Sony Music Entertainment Japan headquarters in Rokubanchō, Chiyoda, Tokyo occupied in June 2001
SME Nogizaka Building in Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo.
Naoki Kitagawa, the CEO of Sony Music Entertainment

Until March 2007, Sony Music Japan also had its own North American sublabel, Tofu Records. Releases of Sony Music Japan now appear on Columbia Records and/or Epic Records in North America.

Sony does not have the trademark rights to the Columbia name in Japan, so releases under Columbia Records from another country appears on Sony Records in Japan, but retains the usage of the "walking eye" logo. The Columbia name and trademark is controlled by Nippon Columbia, which was, in fact, the licensee for the American Columbia Records up until 1968, even though relations were officially severed as far back as World War II. Nippon Columbia also does not have direct relations with the British Columbia Graphophone Company (an EMI subsidiary), so the licensee for the British Columbia Graphophone Company was actually Toshiba Musical Industries.

With Sony Corporation of America's buyout of Bertelsmann's stake in Sony BMG, Sony Music Entertainment Japan stepped in to acquire outstanding shares of BMG Japan from Sony BMG, making it a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Japan.[3]

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