Ichikawa Jewel Company – the Japanese manufacturer behind Jelco, which has been manufacturing phono cartridges, tonearms and turntable accessories for just on 100 years – has closed its doors.
President and CEO of Ichikawa Jewel, Takako Ichikawa, sent an email to all his distributors advising them of the closure, which he attributed to a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and the difficulty of maintaining the company’s engineering tools.
“The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to have a significant impact on our production lines and so I have decided to terminate our business effective immediately,” wrote Ichikawa.
“For the past few years, the business has endured a decline in labour productivity due to health issues arising from our ageing skilled engineers. Furthermore, due to our obsolete mechanical equipment, performing maintenance on them has become difficult. I would like to thank everyone for their warm support that was extended to us throughout the years. I would also like to express in writing my deepest gratitude for your kindness and wish you all the best for your continued development.”
Many turntable manufacturers that use Jelco tonearms, such as Luxman on its entry-level PD-151, will no doubt be affected by Jelco’s closure, as will those whose tonearms were being built for them by the company on an OEM basis.