Going down the Japanese Uke rabbit hole

Jimpro

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Hi all. So the opportunity to buy directly from Japan caused a serious bout with UAS. To meet it I had to part with 3 ukes in my possession and I have one more for sale in the Marketplace (Bruko spruce/ovangkol soprano). But I bought all four of these ukes pictured from Japan with good value pricing and excellent shipping. Left to right I have the Famous FLS-KK, which is a prototype version of the Kobayashi version of the long neck soprano FLS-1 which has a solid mahogany top and laminate sides and gold UPT tuners with the cutaway body. I have been after this one since the anniversary model came out in 2019. It’s really a joy to play. Next is the Famous FLS-2G which is the long neck version of the FS/KS-5 in Koa laminate. It has the best overall tone of the group. Then comes the Luna (by Kiwaya) LS-4G soprano which is all solid mahogany and goes toward the artist series KTS-4 but as a much older model. Finally a Nakanishi soprano PM-10 which is a thin body on what looks like rosewood. If anyone has good source where I can learn about it would appreciate. Of course which I have 3 ukes that are domestic versions of Kiwaya, I still don’t have a Kiwaya branded uke……0A37F3A4-E335-48E7-801B-0892B5D1B331.jpeg
 
Very nice quartet.

I've purchased 3 ukes directly from Japan and had good experiences with all. My daily go-to is a tenor K. Yairi all koa. It's my lightest uke and sounds and plays great. Most recent is a Toda from Dolphin Guitar
 
So, the Kiwaya Luna has nothing to do with the Luna of Tampa Florida?
 
They really are fabulous uke's. I have a Kiwawa KPC-1M- that I got from Matt at World of Ukes- and a Famous FS-5G- from Amazon. NExt would either be a KTC-1 or 2... and I would really love to have the Kiwawa FS-5DX deluxe version...
I need to learn more about ordering from Japan.
How did you go about ordering from Japan, Jimpro?
,
 
They really are fabulous uke's. I have a Kiwawa KPC-1M- that I got from Matt at World of Ukes- and a Famous FS-5G- from Amazon. NExt would either be a KTC-1 or 2... and I would really love to have the Kiwawa FS-5DX deluxe version...
I need to learn more about ordering from Japan.
How did you go about ordering from Japan, Jimpro?

,
I used the proxy buying service called buyee.jp. Through buyee you can search yahoo auctions, and other shopping sites. I make a lot of use of Google translate to get the details. There are other proxy services as well and they all basically tap into the same online Japanese sites. There is also digimart.net and j-guitar which link directly to shops. have been very satisfied with buyee. With buyee you either bid in auction or buy from a shop and you pay for the item. When Buyee receives it, you pay for shipping. I usually get the ukulele in 3 days once they ship. Good luck!
I still have to get a Kiwaya and I am saving for a KPC-1M.
 
I just checked eBay for the FS-5DX- and they're available from a dealer in Japan- with $150.00 shipping!
 
I just checked eBay for the FS-5DX- and they're available from a dealer in Japan- with $150.00 shipping!
I have seen for example the same ukulele on Reverb coming from Japan can be purchased from the same dealer for a lot less thru buyee. I live on the east coast and shipping is around $70 but it is well packed and arrives fast. Worth it for ukes that one can’t really even buy over here. Like my Famous FLS-2g which is the long neck version of the FA-5. Amazing sound and never saw over here
 
I'm curious. What about defective or damaged instrument you might get. What's the return policy?
 
Well heck, that's an impressive lineup you've got there. I'm glad you've had such good experiences with this process, and such great ukuleles to add to your stable as a result. Congratulations!
 
Hi all. So the opportunity to buy directly from Japan caused a serious bout with UAS. To meet it I had to part with 3 ukes in my possession and I have one more for sale in the Marketplace (Bruko spruce/ovangkol soprano). But I bought all four of these ukes pictured from Japan with good value pricing and excellent shipping. Left to right I have the Famous FLS-KK, which is a prototype version of the Kobayashi version of the long neck soprano FLS-1 which has a solid mahogany top and laminate sides and gold UPT tuners with the cutaway body. I have been after this one since the anniversary model came out in 2019. It’s really a joy to play. Next is the Famous FLS-2G which is the long neck version of the FS/KS-5 in Koa laminate. It has the best overall tone of the group. Then comes the Luna (by Kiwaya) LS-4G soprano which is all solid mahogany and goes toward the artist series KTS-4 but as a much older model. Finally a Nakanishi soprano PM-10 which is a thin body on what looks like rosewood. If anyone has good source where I can learn about it would appreciate. Of course which I have 3 ukes that are domestic versions of Kiwaya, I still don’t have a Kiwaya branded uke……View attachment 144086
Congrats on the excellent haul! It’s a lovely collection.

I’ve been down the same rabbit hole and gotten myself some very nice ukes including a Kiwaya, Famous, Luna and KoAloha. I’ve slowed down quite a bit recently as I’ve gotten most of the ukes that I wanted to try.

How’s the tone, quality and playability of the Nakanishi compared to the other Japanese ukes? I’ve been always curious about Nakanishi ukes.
 
So what's the process- shopping with Buyee.jp? I've looked at their site- and searched 'Kiwawa' and pull up no results. Do you enroll with them/create an account- and then go to one of the other linked sites to shop/search?
 
So what's the process- shopping with Buyee.jp? I've looked at their site- and searched 'Kiwawa' and pull up no results. Do you enroll with them/create an account- and then go to one of the other linked sites to shop/search?
Search "Japan" and "buyee", lots of recent posts. You can also check out the second half of my post here:
 
So what's the process- shopping with Buyee.jp? I've looked at their site- and searched 'Kiwawa' and pull up no results. Do you enroll with them/create an account- and then go to one of the other linked sites to shop/search?
When you get to the site at the top you have buttons for auctions and shopping. In auctions you have yahoo auctions and search there. You can save your searches. Unde shopping there ar wawvwral
Listing a -mercari rakutan etc. you search each one. Eventually you need to set up an account if you wish to transact.
 
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