Hoshino Gakki owns the Ibanez guitar brand in Japan. Hoshino Gakki was founded in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan, and was one of the first Japanese musical instrument businesses to achieve a large foothold in import guitar sales in the United States and Europe, as well as the first guitar brand to mass-produce the seven-string and eight-string guitars. In Japan, China, Indonesia, and the United States, Ibanez produces effects, accessories, amplifiers, and instruments (at a Los Angeles-based custom shop). In 2017, they sold roughly 165 bass guitar types, 130 acoustic guitars, and over 300 electric guitars.
The Hoshino Gakki Company began in 1908 as the Hoshino Shoten bookshop chain's musical instrument sales branch. In 1935, Hoshino Gakki decided to start making Spanish-style acoustic guitars, initially under the name "Ibanez Salvador" in honor of Spanish luthier Salvador Ibáez, and later just "Ibanez."
Ibanez guitars entered their modern period in 1957. Ibanez catalogues from the late 1950s and early 1960s feature guitars with various unusual designs made by Kiso Suzuki Violin, Guyatone,[model 1][model 2][model 3] and their own Tama factory, which opened in 1962. After the Tama factory stopped producing guitars in 1966, Hoshino Gakki used the Teisco and FujiGen Gakki guitar factories to create Ibanez guitars, and after the Teisco String Instrument factory closed in 1969/1970, Hoshino Gakki used the FujiGen Gakki guitar factory.
The Iceman and Roadstar series were presented by Hoshino Gakki as Ibanez models that were clearly not imitation of Gibson or Fender designs. Since then, the firm has created its own guitar designs. For the Ibanez brand, the late 1980s and early 1990s were crucial years. After the early popularity of the Roadstar and Iceman models in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Hoshino Gakki joined the superstrat market with the RG series, a lower-priced version of their JEM series, thanks to their association with guitarist Steve Vai.