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Semafor LogoKarina Tsui
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Sony is releasing a new pair of Walkmans and Japanese audiophiles can’t contain their excitement

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Title iconThe News

Sony is keeping the tradition of portable music devices alive by releasing two new Walkman devices next month.

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Unlike the traditional Walkman players of the previous century, the two new music players — NW-A300 and NW-ZX700 — are both Android operated, meaning that they are digitally run.

According to Ars Technica, the compact and high quality devices will only be available in Japan and across Europe — at least for now.

Title iconThe View From Japan

On Twitter, Sony’s Japanese music blog, Love Music, published several posts announcing the news.

“I’m planning on saving up so I can buy this,” one user tweeted.

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In a campaign for the more affordable Walkman of the two, NW-A300, Sony interviewed Japanese voice actor and singer Aki Toyosaki about her longstanding relationship with the music player.

Like many Japanese audiophiles, Toyosaki said that she started using a Walkman as a tween,  collecting different editions as Sony released them. Now, as a working professional, she says the Walkman is essential to her work.

“I organize work-related sound bites that have not been released yet and put them on my Walkman,” Toyosaki said.

Title iconNotable
  • In a 2019 technology column from the Financial Times, Leo Lewis explained why many Japanese consumers are obsessed with the somewhat dated device. He credited Japan for its “nostalgia, geekiness and the worship of manufactured gadgetry.” “But there is a problem with all the Walkman-worship,” Lewis wrote. “Nostalgia is a deadweight anywhere, but the burden is especially onerous in a society that is aging as quickly as Japan’s, whose demographics suggest rather too convincingly that its days of disruptive verve are in the past.”
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