Meet Sanju Chiba

Sanju Chiba
Founder & President/CEO of ELP Japan

For the Love of Music, Mr. Chiba's Story

 

Mr. Sanju Chiba has an extreme love of music dating back many years. His passion for music led him to create ELP and launch the Laser Turntable for those who appreciate pure, analog music.

After senior high school, Sanju attended Japan Air Self-Defense Force for 3-years. Once he saved enough funds to attend University, he left the Air Force and attended Asia University. Upon graduating in 1961, he attended Graduate School, finalizing his degree in 1964.

He sought a career with a Japanese company, but was denied citing his age. Japanese companies considered 25 year old men entry-level employees—Sanju was 28!

As a result, he found a position in 1964 with GE Japan (General Electric), in Tokyo.  His initial assignment was a buyer to purchase parts and materials for GE Consumer Electronics Business Division, USA.

Mr. Chiba’s career escalated within GE, leading up to Vice President in 1985. Now living in Connecticut with his family, he was tasked with the challenge of reversing loses at the Consumer Business Division.

Mr. Chiba’s strategy was to re-organize the division to keep its 40,000 people working. American consumers loved GE Consumer Products and Sanju fought GE’s famous Chairman, Jack Welch, to save the division. Ultimately, Mr. Welch decided on selling the division to a company in Europe. Mr. Chiba returned to Japan with his family in 1987.

Discovering Laser Turntable Technology

In 1989, Mr. Chiba was introduced to Laser Turntable (LT) technology. Being an audio fidelity aficionado and a consumer electronics expert, he was encouraged to see the LT technology make it to market. He lobbied many Japanese and US companies to build a product around the laser turntable pickup, but companies refused due to the popularity of the Compact Disc (CD) technology and difficulty to manufacture the LT at scale.  The high-end audio market was not as established as it is today and many executives expected the CD to complete kill vinyl records.

Stubbornly and throwing caution to the wind, Mr. Chiba set out on his own to save music from a compressed, digital world. His passion for music and the history of music drove him to acquire the LT technology and set out to build a player himself, establishing ELP Corporation in 1989.

The Thorny Path

The path was thornier than he expected. After liquidating all of his assets investing in Product Development and Manufacturing Development, ELP found itself in dire straits with no capital left to pursue a product launch. In 1998, a new ELP was founded, obtaining funding from analog music lovers around the world. ELP continues today and now enjoys buyers world-wide who appreciate analog music and its history.

Much of society’s music hasn’t been transferred to digital format and without LT technology, these musical archives will be worn by traditional needles. LT doesn’t wear out vinyl records, so we can appreciate all music for a lifetime.

The LT successfully arrived today without any problems. Thanks for the excellent packaging! The LT is an excellent piece of machinery. I haven't had enough free time to listen to more than one side of an LP, but the quality is phenomenal. Mr. Chiba, you are a genius. I know it is not easy to design and manufacture a product like this, when everyone pushes the costs down [through mass production]. The LT is unique, much like a Rolls Royce. This high tech machine is incomparable.

- T. Lelkes,Slovakia