KEN ISHIWATA DEPARTS MARANTZ
Ironically news of Ishiwata’s departure broke at the High End Show in Munich last week, the same venue where just last year Marantz debuted the KI Ruby CD player and matching amplifier to honour the man’s fortieth year with the brand.
Ken Ishiwata became a tech/commercial co-coordinator with Marantz Japan and later combined that with a role as the brand’s roving ambassador.
A hugely talented designer and influential Hi-Fi elder statesman, Ishiwata was the driving force behind a considerable number of Marantz Special Edition models and those that carried the initials KI.
Talking to Ken at hi-fi shows was always informative and a pleasure. I recall asking him about the CD63 SE Kin CD player, a mid-priced model based on a CD63MKII that was amazingly musical.
The CD63SE KI gave me enormous pleasure because it gave audiophiles a musically adept player at an accessible price.
Ken had a global audio perspective backed by many years in the field. He could spot trends years before most others. At a Melbourne hi-fi show some years ago I asked him where audio was going.
We’re looking at an audio future without discs. A format called ‘Streaming’ will arrive, and so we’ll need to prepare now to have great DACs and streamers ready.
That forecast was made ten years before streaming arrived!
Ishiwata’s career in audio was fortuitous. He was working as a ship’s radio communications officer when Sony and Pioneer sounded him out for a role as an engineer who could speak English, and who could aid their expansion to global markets.
Ishiwata took up Pioneer’s offer, and in 1968 he arrived in Europe to help Pioneer Europe to prosper.
In 1977 Japan Europe approached Ishiwata for a job but found he was too expensive to hire. But they suggested he would be a perfect fit with Japan. He was.
Now after 41 years Ken Ishiwata is leaving Marantz. He has been reported as saying the announcement would surprise most.
He reportedly said:
It must be a big surprise that I’m not part of Marantz organization…I thought I’d be forever a part of Marantz. Unfortunately, that’s not the case…
Marantz’s owner, Sound United, thanked Ken Ishiwata for his service. Company Senior Vice President has been reported as saying:
We would like to thank Ken for his exemplary track record and especially for growing the Marantz brand in Europe. Ken was working with a great team of like-minded engineers, sharing his knowledge to safeguard the Marantz sound philosophy. Marantz owners and fans can rely on the unmistakable Marantz sound in the future.
We at StereoNET thank Ken for his contribution to audio and Marantz and wish him the very best in the future.
One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, Peter was formerly the Audio-Video Editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades. One of the most-respected audio journalists in Australia, Peter brings his unparalleled experience and a unique story-telling ability to StereoNET.