Fujiiryoki A1 massage chair (1965) – vlog #24

vlog #24 EN

We have mentioned several times on both our blog and vlog that the history of massage chairs goes back several decades, since it began in the 1950s in Japan. Then, the Fujiiryoki brand created the first model of massage chair released for mass production and quickly gained recognition among the Japanese. Today, however, we have the pleasure of showing you what its successor looks like, the Fujiiryoki A1 from 1965. In this episode Paweł presents how the chair produced several decades ago performs in terms of massaging and talks about its functions. Finally, he reveals how much such a chair used to cost and how it compares to today’s prices of massage chairs.


Related articles: 

  1. The history of massage chairs is the story of Fujiryoki

Other episodes of our vlog can be found on our website under the VLOG tab. We hope that AR technology and the ability to see a virtual massage chair at your home turns out to be useful in choosing the perfect model. And if you still have any questions after watching the episode, feel free to contact us.


-Paweł, I see something new here. Is this a new retro line? 

-Listen, this is neither a novelty nor a new retro line. This is a Fujiiryoki chair that’s over 50 years older than the new JP2000. It’s the A1 model from 1965. A while back I told you about Fujiiryoki, that they were the first to launch massage chairs into mass production in 1954. And that was the predecessor to this very model. Back then, in the 1950s, Mr. Nobuo Fujimoto was selling tile-cleaning components for bathhouses and he wondered how else he could improve the relaxation and well-being of the people there. He then thought of the massage chair. The first massage chair from 1954, the predecessor of the one presented here, was assembled (most certainly it was its prototype) from parts that were not necessarily required: baseballs, bicycle chains, handlebars. Later, when they put it into production, the quality of the components was tweaked a bit.

More than 10 years later, the A1 model was released, the one that we got here from Japan and that we can test and demonstrate. This is the model that was the first to work mechanically and offered kneading. As you can see for yourself, it looks a little quirky :-) It’s certainly not the current design line, but I’ve tested it and it really does provide a nice massage. 50 years after its introduction a lot has changed, there’s so much new technology but this massage is really nice. Even the way the chair behaves, its upholstery – it’s still soft, the stitching is still intact. There is wear and tear, but this chair is 50 years old! There’s no abrasion of the leather, everything looks sturdy. Archaic, but sturdy. And it still works. Let’s pay attention to the massager that’s on the back. Today, such wide massagers positioned in such a way do not exist anymore. It was wide enough to cover the neck and loins at the same time. Here, on the side, we have this crank, a steering wheel that we can turn to set the height at which we want the massage to go. You know, this is the origin of scanning. It’s a little bit different now, and it used to be manual, you could set the height yourself. The chair can knead, and we choose the position we want the kneading to be applied.

Ok, but let’s turn it on. Naturally, it’s 100 volts, so we had to arrange for an inverter for it. But it works, after 50 years since it was manufactured it still works. You don’t see that anymore, things like that don’t exist anymore. First, we have kneading, we can adjust the height, where we want the massage to do its work, neck and lumbar area at the same time. Of course, it’s also adjusted to the height of Asians and people from the fifties of the 20th century. I don’t quite fit in here, but I am able to massage myself as well. I’m able to cover the neck area and upper lumbar area. It has two modes – a slower one and a faster one, so the intensity had been thought over here as well. And it worked out pretty well. Although it looks like, I don’t want to say it, but a bit like a torture chair, a strange little piece of equipment, it really does massage nicely. It’s amazing that it can massage so good.

What’s important is that at that time it cost 80,000 yen, which is about 30,000 U.S. dollars, and taking into account the value of the dollar at that time, you have to say that they probably went down a little bit in price, because the brand new Fujiiryoki JP2000 costs about 12,000 dollars, but that’s in today’s prices. So back then it was a piece of equipment available to the really rich, wealthy people, set up in prestigious bathhouses, in places accessible only to some.

Brilliant, I’m delighted with this chair, how it works, how it massages, the way it looks, the history behind the chairs. I doubt that here, in the 1950s anyone would have even thought of a massage chair in our country or in Europe in general. It was already happening there, they started selling it and it still works great.

And on a sidenote… Look how customers’ expectations have changed. Such simple equipment used to be highly valued. Today we have a multitude of functions, capabilities, technologies packed inside, scans, various airbag systems, 3D to 5D massage, really a huge amount of stuff, and here’s a simple piece of massage equipment that still operational today. This is progress, technological shift, development, and here Fujiiryoki has this huge background to develop that modern piece of equipment. This is the successor, fifty some years later – JP2000, [next to] 1965 Fujiiryoki A1.