History of Fujigen Gakki

Fujigen co. Ltd guitars

Fujigen Gakki (フ ジ ゲ ン 楽 楽 器 器), which is called Fujigen Co., Ltd. today is a musical instrument manufacturer based in Matsumoto-shi, Hirata-e, Nagano Province, Japan. The former name of the company Fujigen Gakki was changed in April 1989. It is a subcontracting company that manufactures car dashboards for Toyota, tools and utensils, Ibanez guitars and basses (J.Custom and Prestige) and G & L. Fujigen also inspects Gibson guitars distributed in Japan and makes guitars and basses for many brands. Finally, the company owns its own brand of guitars and basses, the FGN Guitars, which it manufactures and distributes worldwide.

About Fujigen

The production of electric guitars in 2023 is around 3000/month, including high quality guitars of their own brand FGN. The number of employees is approximately 300, of which approximately 170 work at the guitar division. FGN Guitars has an online shop where the brand sells its guitars and accepts orders for its Custom Shop. The company is not limited to making stringed instruments, it also makes various accessories and Japanese drums. There are several Custom Shops in Tokyo, Ikebukuro and Daikanyama, where FGN Guitars offers customer support, maintenance and repair services, and handles requests for custom instrument manufacturing.

FGN Guitars

History of Fujigen

Problem of trademark infringement

Fujigen Gakki 1965
Fujijen Gakki 1965

Mr. Yutaka Mimura, a shopkeeper from Osaka, bought one of Suzuki‘s violin workshops in May 1960. He founded a guitar-making company, Fujigen, to make musical instruments, along with Yuichiro Yokouchi, a friend he knew from college. Initially, the company was primarily producing acoustic guitars but in the mid-1960s, production took a new turn when contracts were made with national brands like Ibanez of Hoshino Musical Instruments and Greco of Kanda Shokai to make copies of guitars and basses from the American brands Gibson and Fender. In 1977, Gibson found an agreement with Hoshino Musical Instruments, which distributed copies of their guitars under the Ibanez brand. It turns out that Fujigen also suffered from this trademark infringement lawsuit. However, since Fujigen was manufacturing instruments legally sold in Japan to Japanese brands and these were primarily for the domestic market, Gibson was unable to win but an agreement was put in place.

Fujigen Gakki makers
Fujigen Gakki – Makers

The result of this legal history is that making copies of guitars has become morally debatable in Japan. The design of Ibanez and Greco guitars has been changed more or less permanently. For Ibanez, this trial was the starting point for a new era made of original model creations. The guitars produced before the Gibson trial are called “Ibanez Lawsuit”. In the United States, Jazz guitarist John Scofield who played on Ibanez guitars had removed the logo of his instruments.

Fujigen Gakki and Fender Japan

Like Gibson and other brands, Fender had some problems with the sale of the excellent Japanese copies. Fender therefore decided to make instruments in Japan under its own brand by signing a contract with a company that was already making copies. Fender copies of Greco, manufactured by Fujigen, will attract the greetings of the famous American brand. Thus in 1982 Fender created “Fender Japan Co., Ltd.”, which will then be managed by Kanda Shokai who, in turn, will oversee the manufacturing process of the instruments made by Fujigen.

Fujigen Gakki Manufacturer
Fujigen Gakki Manufacturer

It was decided that the Fender Japan and the Squire series, then destined for the emerging market, would be manufactured in Japan. In 1983, Fujigen became the worlds biggest manufacturer! For this reason, Fujigen had to outsource part of its work to other Japanese companies. In 1985, CBS sold Fender to Bill Schulz, who brought a technical team from Sugi Motoka (now Sugi Guitars) to the United States. This Japanese team has therefore given its help and expertise to create a new factory on American soil. During the creation of this new factory, from 1984 to 1987, many Fender guitars and basses made in Japan were sold in the United States. In 1986, a new guitar brand called Hartfield was created by Fender and Fujigen.

In 1988, Fujigen “reconciled” with Gibson. Fujigen was then responsible for the production of Orville by Gibson and Epiphone guitars, official copies of the Gibson.

In 1989, Fujigen Gakki changed its name to Fujigen Corporation. A subsidiary dedicated to painting and finishing was also created in 1991, it is Fujigen Hirooka Co., Ltd.

The companies and brands for which Fujigen Gakki worked as a subcontractor.

  • Hoshino Musical Instrument (Ibanez) – 1962 – aujourd’hui
    • J. Customer series
    • Prestige series
    • Artist Signatures
  • Fender
    • Fender – 1984 – 1987
    • Fender Japan – 1982 – 1997
    • Squire – 1982 – 1997
    • Fender Mexico – 1987 – 1997 (managed in Mexico plant)
  • Heartfield 1986 – 1993
  • G & L
    • Premium Series
  • Musicman
    • EX series
  • Kanda Shokai
  • Gibson
  • Tobias – 1988 – 1993
  • Yamaha
  • Shimamura musical instrument – 2001
  • History
  • Cool Z
  • Dean
  • DBZ – 2009
  • Spector
  • Kurosawa Musical Instrument (G-Life) – 2008
  • Matsushita Studio (Seen)
  • Tesco – 1969
  • South Ocean Trade
  • Goya Guitars
  • Tele-Star
Credits: The images below have been kindly assigned by drowninginguitars.com


The Fujigen Production Bases

  • Factory and Headquarters (Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture) – Production of wooden dashboards for Toyota
  • Omachi Plant (Omachi City, Nagano Prefecture) – Wood Preparation • Manufacture and Mounting of Musical Instruments
  • Hirooka Plant (Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture) – Painting
  • Okhotsk Factory (Hokkaido Monbetsu-gun) – Wood / Paint Preparation


Visit Fujigen Factory

Share this article :


Comments :

2 Responses

  1. Tengo una guitarra CASIO MG 510 que aparentemente fue fabricada por FujiGen Gakki y quisiera confirmarlo. Además de preguntar de qué marca son los micrófonos que lleva. Gracias!
    I have a CASIO MG 510 guitar that was apparently made by FujiGen Gakki and would like to confirm. In addition to asking what brand are the microphones he carries. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for this blog. I’m still searching for any formation regarding the Fijigen Signature LP made around 2003. If you could point me in the right direction I would be grateful

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *