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Instruments previously built in Japan from late 1950s to the mid-1970s.
The original company was founded by Mitsou Matsuki, an apprentice cabinet maker in the early 1930s. Matsuki, who studied electronics in night classes, was influenced by listening to Hawaiian music. A friend and renowned guitar player, Atsuo Kaneko, requested that Matsuki build a Hawaiian electric guitar. The two entered into business as a company called Matsuki Seisakujo, and produced guitars under the Guya trademark.
In 1948, a little after World War II, Matsuki founded his new company, Matsuki Denki Onkyo Kenkyujo. This company produced electric Hawaiian guitars, amplifiers, and record player cartridges. In 1951, this company began using the Guyatone trademark for its guitars. By the next year the corporate name evolved into Tokyo Sound Company. They produced their first solid body electric in the late 1950s. Original designs dominated the early production, albeit entry level quality. Later quality improved, but at the sacrifice of originality as Guyatone began building medium quality designs based on Fender influences. Some Guyatone guitars also were imported under such brandnames as Star or Antoria. (Source: Michael Wright, Guitar Stories, Volume One).
While traditional stringed instruments have been part of the Japanese culture, the guitar was first introduced to Japan in 1890. Japan did not even begin to open trade or diplomatic relations with the West until U.S. President Millard Fillmore sent Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1850. In 1929 Maestro Andres Segovia made his first concert tour in Japan, sparking an interest in the guitar that has been part of the subculture since then. Japanese fascination with the instrumental rock group the Ventures also indicates that not all American design influences would be strictly Fender or Gibson; Mosrite guitars by Semie Moseley also were a large influence, among others.
Classic American guitar designs may have been an influence on the early Japanese models, but the influence was incorporated into original designs. The era of copying designs and details began in the early 1970s, but was not the basis for Japanese guitar production. As the entry level models began to get better in quality and meticulous attention to detail, then the American market began to take notice.

From Blue Book Publications:

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