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Hoshino Gakki

Royal Polynesian Soprano by Hoshino
1960's Royal Polynesian
Ibanez Talman Electro-Acoustic Concert Ukulele Corner
Ibanez Talman Concert
Ibanez Spalted Mango Cutaway Acoustic Concert (Alto)
Ibanez UEW20SM
The Hoshino company was founded in 1908 by Matsujiro Hoshino originally as the Hoshino Shoten bookstore which mostly sold books and sheet music. They added imported musical instruments to the stock over the years, including in 1929 becoming the Japanese distributor for Salvador Ibáñez After the Ibáñez workshop was destroyed in 1935, Hoshino brought the name and went it to local production of musical instruments using it, (but without the accents), and the Ibanez brand was formed. However until the post war occupation and the boom of Japanese made instrument this was almost entirely a local brand.

As is often the case with the occupied Japan musical conglomerates the exact history is tricky and different sources give different versions but as far as I can tell the fiste Ibanez factory was destroyed by American bombing during the war. After the war Junpei Hoshino, Yoshitaro's son, started up again in Nagoya and in 1957 the first Electric Guitars were made. In 1962 the Tama Seisakusho factory was opened to manufacture electric Guitars and amplifiers also at some time in the 50's Hoshino took over Star Instruments, ostensibly for their Drum manufacture but Star also produced chordophones, including Ukuleles, and these too become part of the Hoshino Catalogue, (though still at this time branded Star). Alternatively it may be the case that Hoshin always owned Star Instrument , this is one of those cases where I have conflicting source material? It is the case on the Hoshino/Ibanez web site, where they have old catalogues, there is one they say is dated 1950 that includes Ukuleles and Ibanez Guitars? Star branded Soprano and Baritone Ukuleles appear in all of the Catalogues on the Hoshino/Ibanez website for the 60's (though they only have them up to 1965) The are not in the catalogues again until 2010. In 1966 they officially start to sub-contract the manufacture of chordophones (I believe initially to Guyatone and later to Fujigen Gakki I also suspect that it might have started earlier than 66 too?), and from this point on it is very unclear as to what if any chordophones they make and what of other peoples manufacture they just brand? (they do continue to make Drums though). It is the case too that when they (and Star if Star was ever separate), were making chordophone they were also manufacturing them OEM for other to brand. Brands they produced include Cimar, Continental, Crest, Goldentone, Howard, Jamboree, Jason, King's Stone, Maxitone, Penco, Pirles, Royal Polynesian, Starfield, Tulio and Zim Gar plus possibly Canora, Maxwell, and Pearl. This may not be all the brands they made, I haven't seen all of these names on Ukuleles and they may not have been the only firm producing them?

In the late 2000's, (2010 according to the catalogues), They reintroduced Soprano and Concert Ukuleles, this time branded as Ibanez. They have a number of standard models in a variety of, (laminate), woods plus they have done a couple of limited edition models based on the body shape of a couple of their famous guitars; the Talman and the Iceman, again laminate and again concert scale. The Ukuleles they are currently producing are mainly made in Indonesia but in 2014 they have introduced some solid wood soundboard models, at least one of which is made in Japan and at least one of which is a Tenor.

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