Fender Japan is the Japanese division of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation.
Fender Japan was officially created in March 1982 and consists of two Japanese Music companies that handle the ordering and distribution. The two companies are Yamano Gakki (Gakki means musical instrument) and Kanda Shokai. Yamano are a musical instrument wholesaler/retailer with their own retail outlets and Kanda Shokai are a musical instrument wholesaler with no retail outlets of their own. These two companies do not manufacture guitars, they order them from Japanese guitar factories such as FujiGen Gakki and then they distribute them through retail outlets. Yamano distributes them through its own retail outlets and also various other retail outlets and Kanda Shokai distributes them through various retail outlets including the Ishibashi chain of music stores in Japan. The Japanese guitar factories that have made Fender Japan guitars at various times are FujiGen Gakki, Tōkai and Dyna Gakki.
The Fender Japan guitar manufacturing contract was originally going to go to Tōkai in 1981/1982, but at the last minute Fender chose FujiGen Gakki instead. Some FujiGen Gakki made Fender models between 1982 and 1996 have necks made by Atlansia. Tōkai and Dyna Gakki took over the making of the Fender Japan models from FujiGen Gakki in 1996/1997. The Tōkai made Fender Japan guitars are not exported from Japan but some of the Dyna Gakki made Fender Japan guitars are exported. Dyna Gakki have made various guitars for Kanda Shokai's Greco brand. Terada made the Fender Japan acoustic guitars such as the Fender Catalina.
"Made in Japan"
According to a Fender representative it was in the Fender Japan contract that if there was a change of manufacturer from FujiGen Gakki to another guitar factory then the logo would be changed from MIJ ("Made in Japan") to CIJ ("Crafted in Japan"). The first CIJ Fenders start around 1992 but most of the Japanese Fenders up till 1996/1997 are MIJ Fenders. In 1991/1992 FujiGen Gakki were expanding their factory operations by establishing FujiGen Hirooka Inc ((Japanese) フジゲン広丘（株）) to be able to take on additional set neck (Gibson like necks) contracts (such as the Orville by Gibson contract) and so Dyna Gakki (one of Kanda Shokai's main guitar makers) took over some of the making of the Japanese Fender models which resulted in a CIJ logo being used on some Japanese Fenders instead of an MIJ logo. CIJ is mostly used on Fenders from 1996/1997 until recently due to Tōkai and Dyna Gakki taking over the Fender Japan manufacturing contract from FujiGen Gakki in 1996/1997. The Fender Squier range was also brought into line with the Japanese Fenders at around the same time (1996/1997), with "Crafted" rather than "Made" being used.
1982: Fender Japan starts production with FujiGen Gakki having the manufacturing contract. The "Made in Japan" (MIJ) logo is used.
1984: CBS sells Fender to its current owners and while waiting for a new USA factory to begin production, Fender Japan models and leftover USA stock were mostly sold in the USA for a few years.
1992: The first "Crafted in Japan" (CIJ) models start appearing due to Dyna Gakki taking over some of the manufacturing while FujiGen Gakki were expanding their operations.
1996/1997: "Crafted in Japan" (CIJ) is used instead of "Made in Japan" (MIJ) because Tōkai and Dyna Gakki take over the manufacturing contract from FujiGen Gakki.
- 2005 Interview with Mr Shohei Adachi president of Tōkai Gakki
- 1986/1987 tour of Fujigen factory, Rainer Daeschler
- (Japanese) FujiGen Gakki History
- (Japanese) Atlansia