Hoshino Gakki: What Is This Music Company?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  May 26, 2022

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Hoshino Gakki is the owner of the Ibanez guitar and Tama drums brand names. It’s one of the world’s leading manufacturers of musical instruments, accessories, and other music-related products.

Founded in 1908 by Tatsujiro Hoshino, the company has been a major contributor to the advancement of music education, the development of popular music culture, and the preservation of traditional Japanese instruments.

Hoshino Gakki produces a wide range of instruments, including acoustic and electric guitars, basses, ukuleles, mandolins, accordions, drums and more.

Additionally, they manufacture accessories such as strings or capos to enhance your playing experience.

Hoshino Gakki logo

As a major distributor in Japan and overseas markets such as Europe and North America, Hoshino Gakki has made its mark in by introducing cutting edge technologies and pioneering products that have helped shape modern music culture.

For example, one of Hoshino Gakki’s brands – Ibanez – has been credited with popularizing modern rock-ism guitar licks. Their influential range of Ibanez guitar models along with signature series endorsed by renowned musical artists have secured their place in contemporary rock culture for decades. Hoshino Gakki also acquired renowned brands like Roland (synthesizer), Greco (guitars) and Framus (guitars) to further expand their scope into diverse fields related to sound production making them an invaluable part of musicians worldwide’s equipment arsenal today!

Early Life

Hoshino Gakki was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1840. He was the son of a wealthy merchant family. As a young man, Gakki trained in music theory, composition and playing the shamisen. From a young age, he showed great aptitude for music and his family encouraged his ambitions. In 1866, he opened Hoshino Gakki, a music store in Tokyo. It was here that he would make a name for himself and become a major influence in the Japanese music industry.


Hoshino Gakki was born July 14, 1862 in the Naniwa district of Osaka, Japan. As a young man he moved to Tokyo to pursue a career in the nascent music industry as a music merchant and publisher. He soon established himself and established his own music shop. His first venture into instrument production was creating taburas with printed fret boards, which he sold throughout Japan. Gakki also published various works of traditional Japanese music such as koto and shamisen music, creating one of the earliest musical publication companies in Japan.

From these humble beginnings, Hoshino Gakki would become one of the most influential figures in musical instrument development and production in the early 20th century. He would go on to lay the foundation for what became one of Japan’s largest musical instrument companies today: Hoshino Gakki Co., Ltd., more famously known as Ibanez Guitars.


Hoshino Gakki was born on December 8, 1878 in Chiba Prefecture in Japan. His father operated a watch and clock shop, which provided the basis for Hoshino’s lifelong interest in precision engineering and machine work.

Hoshino had an exceptional education for those times, which included several years of primary school in Chiba, followed by two years at a Zen Buddhist temple school in Kiryū, Gunma. During this period he further developed his interest and aptitude for art and music. Hoshino was also known to dote on crafting instruments utilizing the tools of his father’s clock shop – with such creativity earning him recognition as a child prodigy musician at the age of 13.

Hoshino left school at 16 and worked at various places before deciding to try to make his career as a musical instrument maker. He apprenticed under the Masters of Suzuki Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company (which eventually became one of the largest manufacturers of musical instruments) and further refined his woodworking skills. After this apprenticeship program, Hoshino went on to become an innovator of guitar craftsmanship after starting out with repairing violins for local customers before settling into setting up workshops where he could produce his own guitar designs from scratch.


Hoshino Gakki was a true innovator in the music industry. Not only was he the founding president of a company that has become an iconic symbol of music quality and innovation, he was also a musician himself. Through his own artistry, and his development of the company, Hoshino Gakki has become a name known by musicians and music fans alike. Let’s take a closer look at his career and his impact on the music industry.

Early Career

Kinnosuke Gakki, known better as Hoshino Gakki, has become legendary in both the musical instrument and music industry following his lengthy career in Japan. Born on May 16th, 1933, Hoshino founded what is today one of the world’s most renowned musical instrument brands.

Early in his career, Hoshino worked as a warehouse manager at what would eventually become the iconic Nippon Gakki Co. Ltd., manufacturer of Yamaha Musical Instruments. During this period, Hoshino was instrumental in the transition from conventional timber-framed acoustic to modern electric instruments. Eventually leaving Nippon Gakki in 1955 to pursue his own ambitions, he established what is now known as ‘Hoshino Gakki’.

Hoshino initially produced student-grade Japanese instruments such as shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese guitar) and taishōgoto (a plucked zither), but unified with Koichi Sugimoto (one of Japan’s leading musical instrument designers) he quickly revolutionized the industry by launching the now iconic ‘Höfner’ violin bass guitar – catalysing the first wave of bass innovations rooted firmly in their hometown of Nagoya, Japan.

Hoshino Gakki

Hoshino Gakki is a musical instrument manufacturer based in Japan. Established in 1908, it is one of the oldest companies in Japan that are still in business. It is best known for making acoustic and electric guitars, as well as drums and other musical equipment.

Hoshino Gakki has a wide range of careers available for musicians and sound engineers. The company has piano technicians that repair and restore pianos to serve customers better, luthiers who work to craft string instruments like guitars and mandolins, sound engineers that design and install sound reinforcement systems for live performances, as well as audio visual experts who specialize in lighting technology for live shows.

Hoshino Gakki also employs guitar technicianto set up professional grade acoustic or electric guitars for customers. There are also administrative roles such as marketing staffs or sales personnel who help the company prosper with their creative ideas or provide support services to clients. Finally, there are music education specialists within the company who teach lessons on music theory, provide guidance on how to play instruments properly or even conduct workshops that inspire aspiring musicians to pursue a career in music making with Hoshino Gakki.

Impact on Music

Hoshino Gakki is known for having a major impact on the music industry. He was an important figure in the development of the modern Japanese music scene and his influence can be heard today in a variety of different genres. The company he founded, Hoshino Gakki, is one of the largest music merchandise companies in the world, as well as one of the largest guitar manufacturers. He also developed the Fender Japan series of guitars. Let’s take a closer look at the impact Hoshino Gakki had on music.

Contributions to Guitar Making

Hoshino Gakki, the founder of Ibanez guitars, was a prolific innovator and businessman who redesigned the modern guitar, helping shape its sound and style. His ambitious vision created an entire industry that changed the way music was made and enjoyed.

In 1908 Hoshino Gakki founded a musical instrument store called Hoshino Shoten in Nagoya, Japan. During this time, he had noticed that higher quality guitars were being imported from Europe and wanted to make a better instrument for Japanese guitarists. To do this he improved upon existing elements of guitar design while also introducing new materials into his production process such as nickel parts and special types of wood like mahogany.

Using these materials as well as innovative construction techniques such as applying wooden veneer to flatten sides, reinforce truss rods, build in pickups directly into the soundboard or neck joint etc., Gakki vastly improved durability in all of his models without sacrificing style or sound quality. By producing instruments with lightweight yet strong components Gakki made it possible for heavier playing styles to be explored without fear of damage from fret-buzzing or neck-bending problems which had frequently plagued older style instruments in the past.

The deeper exploration and experimentation enabled by his innovations enabled music makers to enter uncharted realms such as rock music which had previously been unknown territory for guitarists around the world. In addition to creating a quality product and ushering in innovation each year; Gakki built an empire around his product by continually introducing X-models with diverse features including tremolos or elevated bridges with curved handles; artist endorsements; experimenting with body shapes; energy technologies like Graphite composite necks and bridges etc.; Hoshino Gakki changed both the landscape of musical history as well as our concept of what is possible when coming up with designs for guitars today!

Innovations in Musical Instruments

Hoshino Gakki is a family owned Japanese music instrument manufacturer that started in the late 1800s. While predominantly known for selling drums, they have also dabbled in other instruments, such as guitars and keyboards. This company has become one of the largest suppliers of musical instruments in the world—known particularly for its production and design of acoustic drum kits and electric guitars. Hoshino Gakki had unique innovations that impacted the way musicians play their instruments today.

Hoshino Gakki was the first company to introduce a unique instrument known as a ‘Pianica’—essentially an accordion-type keyboard with a horn attachment. This musical instrument soon became popular amongst professional and budding musicians alike due to its portability and affordability. The Pianica was also easy to learn for beginners, which further increased its reach to different types of players.

Ibanez Guitars & Basses
Since being founded by Hoshino in 1929, Ibanez has developed into one of the most popular guitar manufacturers globally. The brand has been well recognized for providing heavy-metal style guitars that are light-weighted but still have good sound quality — making them extremely popular amongst rock stars from 1980 and onwards. Despite the fact that it still contains some classic designs from 30 years ago, Ibanez continues to innovate with new shapes, pickups and features being added each year—helping it remain at the forefront of modern guitar designs.

Today, Ibanez continues to be quite revolutionary; many modern artists who put their faith into this brand include Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Paul Gilbert – all renowned guitarists playing some incredible guitars influenced by Hoshino Gakki’s innovative vision back in 1929!


Hoshino Gakki, the founder of the popular music instrument retailer, has left a lasting legacy in the world of music. He has touched millions of lives by providing access to high-quality instruments to those who may not have had access otherwise. He revolutionized the way music was taught, developed, and produced, leaving a lasting mark on the industry. Let’s take a closer look at his life and work and how it has impacted the music industry today.

Hoshino Gakki’s Legacy in Music

Hoshino Gakki is one of the most influential figures in the musical instrument industry and his legacy still lives on today. He joined Hoshino Shoten,a retailer, in 1889 and soon began to produce musical instruments – becoming one of the most iconic producers of guitars, drums and other stringed instruments. From 1945, Hoshino started shipping signature guitars: The Gibson owned Ibanez brand.

This move resulted in a massive shift in both design and sound quality – establishing them as a leader amongst other guitar-makers. This also led to their own interior designs such as IBZ pickups (which are still being used today). Over time they have released several million models of these instruments varying from electric to acoustic models alongside a wide range of accessories.

Hoshino Gakki’s commitment to innovation and quality has made them an integral part of popular music – his impact resonating through generations of talented musicians across multiple genres such as rock, blues, jazz, punk etc. To this day they remain unbeknownst for providing some of the best sounding “workhorses” as well as platforms for more experimental players/guitarists alike to create desirable tones for years to come.

Impact on the Music Industry

Hoshino Gakki, a major Japanese musical instrument manufacturer, single-handedly changed the way music is made and consumed today. His innovative vision for creating better instruments enabled players to produce higher-quality tones and textures that would eventually become the standard for many genres. Throughout his lifetime, he revolutionized both production and marketing of instruments, dramatically improving the music industry’s efficiency and access to a wider audience.

Starting out with an apprenticeship in the 1890s at a local instrument company, Hoshino became head of production at his own company – the Hoshino Gakki factory – by 1925. He quickly established himself as an expert craftsman, introducing computer-assisted manufacturing techniques that significantly reduced both cost and time to make instruments of superior quality. As well as pioneering computerized production, he innovated instrument design by introducing various features such as truss rods on guitars which allowed tensioning of strings to increase durability even further.

Later on in life he provided subventions to enable guitar makers from other countries such as United States of America (USA) to compete in Japan’s markets and this technology spread quickly across other countries too; revolutionizing the industry globally. His commitment to staying ahead through innovation also led him to build a music store called Nihon Ongaku Kōgyo in 1961 – one of Japan’s first music stores selling high-end gear from foreign producers and booming business ventures into foreign markets eventually allowing his sons Katsumi and Tomio (current President/CEO) take over the helm building it into one of today’s largest musical instrument manufacturers in Japan – all thanks to the legacy they inherited from their father who has largely shaped our global musical landscape today by providing significant advancements

in sound technology within our instruments — elevating them into something more closer resembling art pieces than objects merely for entertainment purposes!

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.

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