21st c. Luthiers from Japan click for more

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Hiroshi Ogino Guitars Soprano Ukulele
Hiroshi Ogino Soprano
In being on the look out for nice Ukuleles I come across a few small, possibly part time luthiers from Japan who's Ukuleles I usually only see advertised for sale in music shops, and if they have any web presence it is in a language that is difficult for me to translate. Very often there is little information on them beyond a name and sometimes a brand name, however the instruments they make look very well made and worthy of note.

Hidenori Ishida(?) - Cheezy Ukuleles

Tricky with poor translators but from what I can work out he, (if this is the right person? he might just be a film director), started in 2008 making the rectangular Cheese themed Ukulele. At the same time a film of some kind was being made and it featured this Ukulele quite heavily. The film was released in 2009 and was called Paititi (or something similar) and followed actress Yoriko Horaguchi and her unique Ukulele group and possibly included issues around cervical cancer. Since then there have been lots more Cheezy Ukes made, (called Mr. Cheezy) both as Sopranos and Concerts with 14 frets to the body, using a number of solid woods and often a pearloid fretboard. I have never seen anything that isn't a Cheezy Uke

Himeta Chiharu - Chihale Works

(As ever translator fun) I believe she is based in Yao, Osaka Prefecture and did an apprenticeship under Hideaki Urabe in Kyoto finishing in 2007. I have seen 14 fret Soprano, Concert and Tenor scale Ukuleles in a number of different woods from her but no long neck options. I have seen Pineapples as well as figure 8 but no extra string options. On a lot of her Ukuleles she does a small, individual, inlay motif, usually, but not always on the upper top bout, and its not on every Ukulele.

Hiroshi Ogino

From what Ive seen he mainly makes acoustic Guitars but has made some Ukuleles too. He was working in Kenji Sugita's workshop, having apprenticed at Ervin Somogyi Guitars, and in 2013 was allowed to start making Guitars under his own name and now has his own workshop. I believe he is based in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture but he also spend a lot of time in the U.S. So far I have only seen 12 fret Soprano Ukuleles which all have a distinctive notch in the headstock

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