Friday, March 23, 2018

1958 Kazuo Yairi Classical Guitar

Hello there and welcome back to another Mississippi Son Guitars blog!

The name's Jason and this week we take a look at a vintage Japanese classical guitar by master luthier Kazuo Yairi.

This particular model is a K.Yairi Y400 from 1958!  It is an all solid wood guitar with a spruce top and mahogany back and sides.  There is a wonderful aging to the coating on this guitar and the sound is tremendous.

Kazuo, born in 1932, started building guitars as a child with his father, Gi’ichi Yairi.  Gi'ichi originally trained in the art of luthier at the Suzuki violin factory in Nagoya, Japan. He later left to set up Yairi Musical Instruments to make his own classical stringed instruments.  Kazuo took over the family business sometime around 1965. He perfected the craft of luthier over many years introducing a few new models along the way.  Kazuo never dabbled with any electrical guitars; instead focusing on what he knew best. He did incorporate unique elements into his designs coupled with traditional methods but never strayed too far from the foundation of his craft.  This dedication and devotion is what brought him worldwide prestige in his career.

This devotion was recognized with the receipt of the Yellow Ribbon Medal of Honor from the Japanese emperor in 2006. One of many awards and honors. Many of the world's greatest artist also recognized his work: Johnny Cash, Bono, Carlos Santa and Sir Paul McCartney to name a few!

The build quality of this Y400 is excellent and the features are beautiful  Take a look at the headstock, tuners and that gorgeous striped mahogany on the back.

Dating some Japanese guitars can become quite tricky.  If you cannot find anything that makes sense try the Emperor coding/dating system.  Many of the guitar manufacturers used this method to mark the manufacturing year of their instruments.  This particular model is Showa Emperor 33 189, which means this guitar was built July 8th, 1958.

Mr. Yairi later studied the stringed guitar instruments in the United States before returning to create his own versions for global export.  He also became the lead manufacturer for Alvarez operations in Japan for both the Alvarez.

Kazuo Yairi passed away in his home town of Kana, Japan in 2014 but his legacy will be remembered in the works of art he has left behind.

Take a listen to a few notes on this beautiful piece of art!

Also, check out this plant tour video of the Kazuo workshop!

Yairi guitars is still in operation today but you will be hard pressed to find a dealer within the United States at the time of this posting.  You can however, reach out the European dealers in Germany or the UK to name a few.

If you get lucky, you might still find the occasional listing state side on EBay or

I hope you enjoyed this post! Until next time, check out my other blogs, and youtube channel at!

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