THE SUN RISING
When collectors speak of the best places to find rare and interesting Duran Duran items, talk never goes far without mention of Japan. Since the beginning of the band's career, there have always been many unique and incredibly rare pieces to collect from “the land of the rising sun.”
When you think of collectibles for a pop group formed in the 1980s, the first thing that comes to mind is vinyl. Many Japaneses release include free inserts or premiums on their first pressings. Other releases had adverts for related or upcoming releases tucked inside.
Since we’ve already covered a fair bit of vinyl here on Collectors’ Corner, let’s look at some collectibles special to Japan, starting with books, which fall into two categories: re-issues of existing books, and new and original books only sold in Japan. Here's a few examples. Can you tell which is which?
Another popular Japanese collectable is sheet music. All of the music sheets and books released in Japan differ from those of every other country, and are generally either Piano/Vocal/Guitar (PVG) or a full band score, which gives the notation of each instrument as it was played on the record, including drums, bass and keyboards. A PVG score only shows the chords and the melody, adapted from the original song. Band scores from Japan are some of the rarest Duran items out there and always command high prices!
New Years is one of the most important and popular holidays in Japan, so it is no surprise that calendars are a big part of Japan life. This calendar from 1986 came with a sheet of stickers, exclusive to Japan and incredibly rare!
Many people wonder why Japanese releases are so different from other countries, containing exclusive bonus materials and often featuring completely different artwork. It all goes back to the 1980s and the so-called 'bubble economy' of Japan. Wages were high and corporations thriving, and store prices ballooned to match. At a time when a 7” single in the US cost about two dollars, the same release in Japan would cost 700 yen, roughly seven dollars US! Japanese record sellers could easily afford to import British and American releases at full price and make a profit even if selling them for less than the Japanese pressing. In response Japanese record labels had to motivate their customers to buy the domestic products. As such, they packed the domestic releases with exclusive music and art, not only driving local sales but spawning a global collectors’ market as people fought to get their hands on the rarest official releases around.
And while the bubble might have burst, even the Paper Gods CD has a Japan-only bonus track!
Created by Derek Supryka // Edited by Katy Krassner // Pictures by Derek Supryka