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Kiwaya


Kiwaya Concert (Master grade)
Kiwaya Master Concert
Famous s5 Soprano
Famous s5 Soprano
Amuse Ukulelia Rose Plastic Soprano Ukulele Corner
Amuse Rose
Kiwaya are a Japanese manufacturer founded in 1919 by Kiwaya Shokai. After the "Ukulele Craze" of the post war occupation in Japan they persevered with Ukuleles and are now arguably, Japan's foremost Ukulele manufacturer. They have a reputation for producing high quality Soprano, Concert and Tenor scale instruments and well as running a proper Ukulele museum. As well as producing Ukuleles under their own name the also appear to own a number of other brand names and they are a major distributor of other quality brands within Japan. To add to my difficulty in understanding the makeup of this business there is a website for the export market and another for the local market in Japanese that is much larger with a lot more product ranges but it looks like those Ukuleles branded Kiwaya are only for export as this site doesn't feature them?
Because, with some of the brands, I am unsure if they own/produce or just distribute? I will list them separately

Kiwaya

This appears to be the main export brand and there are clearly some Ukuleles that are branded in both this and the Famous catalogue there are Sopranos, Concerts and Tenors in different levels of quality, (Kiwaya levels come as Eco, Artist and Master); these are all made in Japan.

Famous

This appears to be the main brand in Japan and there is part I can't translate that says Kiwaya started the brand in 1955 and it is the case that some of the lesser models are made for Kiwaya by Mituba Gakki but as far as I can tell they are all made in Japan

(Kiwaya) K and K-Wave

K started in 2013 and would appear to be Kiwaya giving in to the inevitable. It is a range of koa laminate Soprano, Concert and Tenor Ukuleles with long neck and cutaway variants, that are in both the local and the export catalogue. The headstock branding is just a K but the soundhole label has the K over the Kiwaya, and though it doesn't say it anywhere in the catalogue I believe these are made in China, (for all of the Japanese ones it specifically says made in Japan but the country of origin here is left out?)  Alternatively it is the rebranding of K-Wave with new logos and dropping the "wave"? They too were produced in China and appeared to be their budget brand; andI  have seen them with just K on the headstock, (but a different font K to the Kiwaya K headstock logo?) They also did the Les Paul and the Telecaster like Concerts they called "Rock Ukes" and these went out of production in 2012 (just before K started) I have seen the Rock Ukes on sale in Europe but with local European branding.

Then there are some other limited edition brandings, like Amuse a limited edition plastic range, (that look identical in manufacture to the earlier Greco plastic Ukuleles?) produced in conjunction with Sekiguchi Kazuyuki. They were produced in China in 2011 as Ukelelia, Peace and Pineapple (Pink, Green and Orange). FT a collaboration with Seilen Stringed Instruments. Paulete a range of Soprano and Concert bamboo Ukuleles. made in China, that appeared in Kiwaya's local catalogue in 2010. (I'm not sure Kiwaya actually owned the brand and they no longer seem to be in production?) Plus Kiwaya now own and market Luna Gakki

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