21st c. Luthiers from Japan click for more

Yuhei Sunami Concert ukulele
Yuhei Sunami Concert
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.

Naoki Yoshiro - Naturel

He worked for 18 years as a Jewelry maker before running into an old schoolfriend, (Teramachi Makoto), in 2003 who taught him the basics of luthiery form this he went on to found Naturel Ukuleles in 2004 in Shikatsu a northern suburb of Nagoya. He makes Sopranos and Concerts definitely including Pineapples and maybe Sopraninos, Tenors and some of the long scale models, (the translation is unclear). His jewelry background shows in his subtle inlay work, particularly the fret markers and he also does some copies of famous ukuleles of the past. He used to have a blog website but this appears to have been abandoned in 2010 however his facebook page is still current. I have seen his Ukuleles called Naturelele in places too

Takayama Yasuo - Craft Musica

Base in Yoshikawa, Saitama Prefecture and in business since 2005, (though from 2005 to 2011 he was in Nagareyama, Chiba Prefecture). He studied Law at college but wasn't happy in this line of work so went back to college to study woodwork. The then worked for 4 years maning furniture before studying Luthiery with ​​Masami Endo for 2 years. As well as Ukuleles he also makes Guitars and some furniture. Back to Ukuleles and he has made Guitaleles, Resonator and Harp Ukuleles as well as Soprano, Concert, Superscales and Tenor 4 string Ukuleles. He also makes Cigar Box Ukuleles

Yuhei Sunami

He started out as an apprentice under Tak Sakashita and then, (possibly after he died?) when to Mexico to study nylon strung instruments under Boaz Elkayam. Having finished in Mexico he came back to Japan and settled in Nagano and started working, (or maybe was an apprentice again?), for Eiichi Sumi. After more than 10 years at the Sumi workshop he now produces instruments under his own name, specialising in Flamenco Guitars but making Ukuleles as well. I'm not sure if he still works for Sumi too or is now totally independent?

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