One other thing I mentioned earlier was that Steven Kent's Ultimate History (henceforth "Kent 2001") was practically the only extensive source of information I had found on Rosen Enterprises. That actually wasn't true either. Another excellent source was an article that appeared in the July 1982 issue of RePlay. Anyway, on to Rosen enterprises.
|David Rosen and his wife Masayo in 1982|
By then, however, he had already found another potential source of income. The booming Japanese economy and reduced work hours left people with more money to spend and more leisure time in which to spend it. Rosen decided to try and fill both needs. Many of Rosen’s photo booths were located in theatres and department stores and Rosen decided to replace them with American coin-operated amusement games, which had thus far been found almost exclusively in US military bases.
In 1956, Rosen convinced the Ministry of International Trade and Industry to allow him to import $100,000 worth of machines. To stretch that allowance as far as he could, Rosen initially imported older, cheaper games. Two of the companies early hits were Seeburg’s Shoot the Bear and Coon Hunt rifle games.
Within a year, Rosen got authorization to purchase another $200,000 worth of games and continued to buy more games in the future. Rosen estimates that the number of used games he was buying exceeded the number of new games being produced in Chicago (RePlay 7/82). Eventually, over 1,000 gun corners were in operation throughout the country (RePlay 7/82).
While Rosen had the market to himself for a year and a half, his success eventually drew in competitors. While the competition mostly concentrated on street locations, however, Rosen focused on arcades (RePlay 7/82) Within a few years Rosen Enterprises Ltd. owned a chain of 200 arcades throughout Japan (Kent 2001).
Meanwhile, flushed with successs, Rosen had begun to expan. He tried his hand at a chain of indoor golf centers, but the idea failed to catch on with the Japanese public, who considered golf an outdoor game. His next venture, a line of businesses built around slot cars, sparked a brief fad, but also eventually failed. With two strikes against him, Rosen set out again, and this time he met with unqualified success. Around 1963, AMF (American Machine and Foundry) and Brunswick had come to Japan to try and establish bowling as an entertainment option in the country. At the time, bowling alleys in Japan were found almost exclusively on US military bases. There was one alley in Tokyo, but it was mostly frequented by American GIs. Noting the new lanes being built by AMF and Brunswick, Rosen decided to give it a try.
Rosen also added an American style steakhouse overlooking the lanes. Before long, customers were waiting four or five hours to bowl and the center was staying open 22 hours a day, from seven a.m. to five a.m. (RePlay 7/82) While Rosen never opened another lane, Brunswick and other companies began opening them all over Japan, often with Sega or Taito arcade games in the lobby (RePlay 7/82; Kent 2001).