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"Onban Domei" Encouragement of Papersleeves

Here's the 3rd English translation of our free booklet "Onban Domei"

Translation for page 3 this time,

We asked The Papersleeves Expedition who has been playing a big part in the thriving papersleeve culture for a long time to contribute to this column.


Japan’s internationally revered packaging method of papersleeves began on 2nd March 1994. As the sales of downloading individual tracks and subscriptions became more popular, the value of papersleeve CDs has risen just like vinyl.

Jewel cases and papersleeves are similar but have differences. Even if it is a Hi-Res CD such as SACD, value becomes lower if it is in a jewel case. The reason is that there is no value in the jewel case itself and a Hi-Res CD itself is just a container that contains a Hi-Res audio. As an expert, I would say “just download it!”

Diskunion has asked me to write about “collecting papersleeves” as a topic. The Expedition is just a big buddy group of omnivores who want to enjoy music with good sound, and smile to ourselves while looking at papersleeves. We are not collectors with high expectations.

Therefore, there is no intention of collecting papersleeves. Although thinking logically, we just consequently end up with papersleeves if we try to get the best music experiences with a limited budget.

All the sudden, it seems like we have concluded. Even if you want to buy second-hand CDs, buy papersleeves if you simply want to enjoy good music.

Suppose there were CDs of a certain artist in a jewel case or papersleeve, and you could buy a jewel case CD at half the price of a papersleeve, which one should you chose? As I mentioned earlier, there is no value in jewel cases. On the other hand, papersleeves are a great culture that originated in Japan.  Many makers are involved in the process of making papersleeve CDs; a person who does remastering, a person who research the original recording, a designer who reproduce from the sleeve art of 30cm analog record to a scale of 135mm X 135mm, a printer, a person who do a manual work for making a gimmick, and a person who enclose bonus into a papersleeve. Their steady jobs, love to music and a sense of respect to old albums are fully packed in papersleeve CDs. What we buy at second-hand stores is not just music data. I hope you to think that you are purchasing the makers’ passion. That is why they are so valuable.

Did you understand the act of buying papersleeves is not only a consumption behavior? Taking words of a B class marketer, consumers’ needs have been changing to intangible goods consumption from tangible goods consumption. Don’t believe in buzz words like UX or DX. Buy papersleeves instead of FX.

The timeline of papersleeves can be divided into three distinct time periods depending on the time when it was remastered and the evolution of the reproduction. The 1st generation of papersleeves is the “Legacy papersleeves” from 1994 to 1999. The 2nd generation is called the “Golden Age of papersleeves” when a new remastering and the manufacturing level of a papersleeve reproduction went up happened after 2000. From 2001 is the 3rd generation of “Hi-Res/High Sound Quality papersleeves”

People may say, “well, isn’t it better to buy only the latest 3rd generation products?”, but as I mentioned earlier, papersleeves are a culture. There is also a series that brilliance increases over time and make you to think to complete series.

The first 20 titles of “Master of Jazz 20bit K2 High Quality CD series” released on March 2nd 1994 by Victor was the starting point of the papersleeve Culture. Regarding “Blue Note 60th anniversary 24bit By RVG series” that Jazz fans around the world are searching for, you should also get the 10inch papersleeve, the list watch, and the hoodie that are privilege for people who buy all 250 titles of this series.

Also, there are some artists whose albums have been released only in the 1st papersleeves generation, such as Yuming, Tatsuro Yamashita and the Southern All Stars. (I am requesting these reproductions in Hi-Res papersleeves as soon as possible!)

In the 2nd generation, the number of products reissued in papersleeves increased. For “David Stone Martin 10inch Collector’s Selection”, you should buy the wooden box bonus set by Diskunion.

There are many CDs that can only be acquired with the Legacy and Golden Age papersleeves. If you find those at the second-hand corner in Diskunion, that is your time to buy. You should gently take the disk from the shelf and bring it to the register.

Written by:

Shuya Watanabe (The Papersleeves Expedition)

In charge of “Captain” character of the papersleeves Fundamentalist at the Expedition.

His special skills are the presentation of a trophy to a record company.

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