21st c. Luthiers from Japan click for more

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In being on the lookout for nice Ukuleles I come across a few small, possibly part time luthiers from Japan whose 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.

Hayato Shiiba - Shiihara Ukulele Factory

Founded in 2005 and based in Seto City, Aichi Prefecture, he learned to make Ukuleles working for Seiichi Nakanishi at the Nakanishi Musical Works starting in 1996. (Before this he was and international triathlete who became interested in the Ukulele while competing in Hawaii). He makes Mini, (including a 14 fret long necked Mini that puts it back into the Soprano scale), 12 and 14 fret Soprano, Concert and Tenor scale Ukuleles with Concert being his prefered scale. I have also seen Concert scale Banjoleles made by him along with Concert scale Lili'u's and Guitaleles (though as it's Concert scale it is an Octave Guitar not a Guitalele) Having learned to copy Martins at Nakanishi Musical Works he still likes to do so but he also copies Gibson Ukuleles too. He usually stamps the back of his headstocks and inside the soundhole with Shiihara Ukulele Factory and often uses a very narrow S as a logo, but he also does inlaid headstock fronts and sometimes inlaid fret markers; again sometimes only the twelfth fret marker sometimes all of them.

Tetsu Tsuchizawa - (The) Four Strings

(All using translator?) Based in Fukutsu-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture and starting in 2013, after he learned to make Ukuleles at Hana Lima 'Ia unde Mike Chock in 2012. He makes Soprano, Supersoprano, Concert and Tenor scale Ukuleles, and I have seen Pineapples but no extra string variants. As well as making Ukuleles he appears to teach Ukulele playing and Ukulele making too.

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