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‘There are just so many records in Japan,” says Yusuke Ogawa, owner of Universounds, a used record shop selling jazz, soul and funk in the Western suburbs of central Tokyo. Now, with the rise of internet sales as well as the increasingly interconnected music world, buyers worldwide are catching on to Japan’s stockpile of good quality, rare records. Ogawa is one key point in this international record buying culture.

Japan was once a jazz empire. Though there had been jazz music in Japan since the 1920s, it wasn’t until after World War II with the influx of American GIs that the country became obsessed. Even now it’s normal to hear jazz in the most unlikely of places. Just recently, I heard jazz in my local sento (public bathhouse).

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