Alberto Martínez, editor in chief for Orfeo Magazine, was very lucky to do the reportage in this 15th issue just before the pandemic restrictions took effect. Alberto tells us that it was very surprising to meet all the luthiers covered in this edition – they mostly work in tiny workshops throughout Japan. Having done this type of field research for all other 14 issues prior to his one, Alberto did encounter one problem: a language barrier as virtually no one spoke English! By chance, Mr. Motoyama, the owner of Aura Guitar Shop, speaks Spanish, and he was Alberto’s interpreter during all interviews.

For issue #15 – The Guitar in Japan, which you can read here in English, Orfeo invites you to join them on a journey to Japan, to discover its luthiers, their history, and the tools of their trade, which are all deep-rooted in tradition yet with innovation where possible. The luthiers of this story are Sakurai, Nejime, Ono, Tanabe. As Alberto tells, some are well-known, others less so, but what they all have in common is the excellence of their craft. They have an intimate knowledge of wood, and their work displays great finesse. In this Orfeo journey, you’ll get to explore luthierie in Tokyo, Kyoto and Kobe – so please do come along!

Some of the highlight moments that are notable, and some of which you can preview below are: the blacksmith shaping the red-hot metal to make a chisel, the Kyoto temples, and the tools museum. Enjoy!

Click here to enjoy the complete Orfeo No. 15: The Guitar in Japan.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Orfeo No. 15: The Guitar in Japan”

  1. G. Lessons says:

    I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese woodworking and craftsmanship. Everything from their joinery to their custom tools is amazing. This is a great issue. It really gives you a look into their history and culture along with their skills.

  2. Daniel Roest says:

    I have a 1973 Rioji Matsuoka that I bought new then. Wonderful, gorgeous Brazilian rosewood back and sides, a very warm, tinted cedar top. It was brought to the U.S. by Gerard Schoen along with a number of other Matsuokas and Tamuras. I met him at his apartment and as a starving student was able to acquire this one for just over $300! It still is a very impressive guitar, and though it always had a strong low end, back then the trebles were a bit muted compared to Ramirez. After many decades of aging, the trebles sing with great balance. Thank you for devoting attention to the wonderful artisans in Japan!


Change language: