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Glossary of Terms

This page will guide you through our commonly used abbreviations and grading system.

Since we deal primarily with Japanese pressings, here are some important facts to remember.

All stock copies of LPs were issued with obi strips. What is an obi strip? It’s the paper strip that is usually tied around the left side of the LP cover. The purpose of the obi strip is to translate the title into Japanese and provide useful information for the consumer. There are few exceptions in which companies such as CBS Sony issued records sealed in shrink wrap and instead of the traditional obi strip used stickers.

The effect on the value can be determined whether the obi is still intact. The older and the less successful titles typically would be more rare and hard to find with the obi. Artists like the Beatles and Elvis were big sellers in Japan which will make the press count larger, therefore you have a better luck in finding some of their titles. However, not all titles by these artists were popular which will put them in the hard to find category.

The Japanese 45 Singles all came with picture inserts or picture sleeves. With the use of Japanese graphics and sometimes exclusive photos, they are highly collectible.

Records were made with quantity control in Japan due to the capacity of the store space which is fairly limited and shared with a huge inventory of their domestic artists. Records that did not sell would be send back to the manufacturers and they will be destroyed.

White Label Promos & Promo Records were given to disc jockeys, journalists and in-house people. Most records were given to them without the obi and the reason being they simply were not consumers. You can add some more value to white label promos or promo copies of records due to the fact that it represents some status symbol. In some ways, they are known to sound better than the stock. It would be harder to find white label promos/promos on big name artists or big selling titles because they naturally made a good quantity of stock pressings. On the contrary, they pressed less stock copies for the less popular or unknown artists in which the promos/white label promo would be common.

All stock copies of Japanese Compact Discs come with obi strips which serves the same purpose as the records. Some first pressings on CDs come in limited special packaging including surprises, stickers, additional booklet, posters, bonus tracks & etc., and can only be purchased in the first run. Promos are usually identified by 3 Japanese symbols on a sticker which can be found either on the back of the cover or obi . These symbols may also appear on the plastic portion around the center of the CD by the hole, otherwise represented in English by Sample or Not For Sale. Sealed copies definitely add more value. Promo Only Items are issued to promote the artist and have totally unique artwork on the cover, sleeve or packaging than the stock. They are commonly titled "Special D.J. Copy or "Special Digest/Not For Sale". Most of these samplers are compiled by the record company with their own song selection to promote the artist. Another important issue to bring up about Promo Only Items is that they were not issued with obi strips. The runs are even more minute than stock promos ranging from anywhere between 20 to 500 copies.

Finally, we would like to prepare you to understand the glossary of terms used in our site. The grading system is strictly conservative. For records, we grade the cover or sleeve first then the record. Here are the abbreviations that we are currently using for grading and what they stand for:

M: MINT as good as new, fresh from the factory or still sealed. Note: With only a few exceptions, most Japanese LP records were normally issued not sealed.

M-: MINT MINUS (near mint) almost perfect and looks like it was made just yesterday.

VG+: VERY GOOD PLUS slight wear & few flaws but nothing major.

VG: VERY GOOD pretty worn out & looking sort of grim but on the borderline of being tossed.

VG-: VERY GOOD MINUS not pleasant but still has a little life left. Usually not worth keeping unless very rare.

G+: GOOD PLUS absolutely hopeless but save it cause you probably won’t find another one in any shape. We try not to carry anything in this category or worse.

G: GOOD & dead!

W/ OBI: With Obi. The obi strip is still intact.

WLP: White Label Promo. Appears only on vinyl where the label is white and for promotional use only.

PROMO: Promotional Use Only. May have the following stickers:

PROMO ONLY: Promotional Use Only. Made for the in-house people only.

TOC: Tape on cover.

TOL: Tape on label..

WOC: Writing on cover.

WOL: Writing on label.

SEALED: shrink wrap still unopened

CO: Cut Out

CC: Cut Corner

PH: Punch Hole (promo hole)

GATEFOLD: covers that fold out like a book

DIGIPAK: cd covers that are in gatefold cover with plastic plate

SNAP-UP COVERS: issued for 3" CDs where you can snap open the case

PS: Picture Sleeve

EP: Extended Play. Mostly refers to singles in any format w/ extended play

LP: Long Play (for vinyl only)

3" CDS: Usually for single CDs in the size of 3".

Red Wax: Same as red vinyl issued mainly by Toshiba Records in the 60’s thru early 70’s.

Any other information that may be useful for your consideration, please feel free to e-mail <>, call, fax or add to our comment corner. Thanks and keep on collectin’……..

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