Japan discography

The Beatles’ records in Japan were released on the Odeon label, owned by Toshiba. The LPs, singles and EPs were initially released on both red and black vinyl, with the red variants reportedly offering particularly good sound quality. They are particularly sought-after by audiophiles, and are considerably rarer than the black vinyl versions – red vinyl signifies first pressings of a release.

Interestingly, The Beatles’ first two UK albums, Please Please Me and With The Beatles, weren’t issued until the group toured in Japan in 1966, although songs from each were released there from 1964 onwards.

The Japanese LPs also came with a thin obi strip wrapped around the cover, which were often discarded by teenagers keen to hear the music as soon as possible. As such, the rarity offers collectors a challenge, as does the variety of different obi strips for individual pressings of each release.

Furthermore, the early 1960s Japanese LPs were adorned with half-obi strips. These, like the full ones which replaced them in the mid-1960s, are often faked by unscrupulous record sellers.

The LPs also came with a lyric sheet in both English and Japanese. The singles, meanwhile, were issued in picture sleeves. EP covers came with either liner notes in Japanese, or photographs of the group, and always came with a lyric sheet.

Odeon were slow to catch onto the Beatles phenomenon. However, they made up for lost time by issuing a total of nine singles within the first week of May 1964. A further six singles were released on the same day on 5 February 1965. Otherwise, it’s worth noting a tendency to issue records on the 5th, 10th or 15th of the month.

Albums

Meet The Beatles
5 April 1964
Odeon OR 7041
Meet The Beatles! album artwork - Japan
The Beatles’ Second Album
5 June 1964
Odeon OR 7058
The Beatles' Second Album artwork - Japan
A Hard Day’s Night
5 September 1964
Odeon OP 7123
A Hard Day's Night album artwork - Japan
Beatles For Sale
15 March 1965
Odeon OP 7179
Beatles For Sale album artwork – Japan
Beatles No. 5
5 May 1965
Odeon OR 7103
Beatles No. 5 album artwork - Japan
Help!
15 September 1965
Odeon OP 7387
Help! album artwork - Japan
Rubber Soul
15 March 1966
Odeon OP 7450
Rubber Soul album artwork
Please Please Me
25 May 1966
Odeon OP 7548
Please Please Me album artwork - Japan
With The Beatles
30 May 1966
Odeon OP 7549
With The Beatles album artwork - Japan
The Beatles’ Story
5 August 1966
Odeon OP 7553/4
On Stage With The Beatles
How Beatlemania Began
Beatlemania In Action
Man Behind The Beatles – Brian Epstein
John Lennon
Who’s A Millionaire?
Beatles Will Be Beatles
Man Behind The Music – George Martin
George Harrison
A Hard Day’s Night – Their First Movie
Paul McCartney
Sneaky Haircuts And More About Paul
The Beatles Look At Life
‘Victims’ Of Beatlemania
Beatle Medley
Ringo Starr
Liverpool And All the World!
The Beatles' Story album artwork - Japan
Revolver
5 October 1966
Odeon OP 7600
Revolver album artwork
A Collection Of Beatles Oldies
5 February 1967
Odeon OP 8016
A Collection Of Beatles Oldies album artwork - Japan
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
5 July 1967
Odeon OP 8016
Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album artwork
Magical Mystery Tour
5 December 1968
Odeon OP 9728
Magical Mystery Tour album artwork
The Beatles (White Album)
21 January 1969
Apple AP 8570-1
The Beatles (White Album) artwork
Yellow Submarine
23 March 1969
Apple AP 8610
Yellow Submarine album artwork
Abbey Road
21 October 1969
Apple AP 8815
Abbey Road album artwork
Hey Jude
21 April 1970
Apple AP 8940
Hey Jude album artwork
Let It Be
5 June 1970
Apple AP 80189
Let It Be album artwork

5 responses on “Japan discography

    1. tormod aas

      First Records was one of many Taiwanese counterfeit-labels in the late 60s/early 70s, releaseing western pop/rock illegally for the huge contingent of American GIs stationed on the island. Not very interesting for collectors. However, big artists like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones may fetch prices in the region of $20-40 among collectors.

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