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If you get a chance, go see Kazuma at NAMM in 2013. Once of the nicest and most passionate people on the planet. Fujigen makes some great gear, and if you haven’t seen some of your favorite artists playing it, the way this kid works, you’ll be seeing everyone playing a FGN.

How did the earthquake affect the Fujigen family at large?  How has the recovery been?

Luckily, Our factory had no damage after the massive earthquake and tsunamis. However, because of the shortage of some guitar parts made in Japan, the delivery date of our guitars was delayed around few month unfortunately.  Now it was recovered and now we’re still making around 2,500pc of high-end electric guitars including OEM products per month. Also we hope we can recover the disaster areas and tough economic situation of Japan very soon!!

Tell me a little bit about Fujigen’s history and the recent push toward global dominance.

We established the Fujigen Inc. in Nagano, Japan in May 1960. Our company is 51-years old. We have long experience and great skills about manufacturing high-end electric guitars.

From 1982, We started to work with CBS Fender Corp. and we had made all Fender Japan guitars until 1985-1986. Besides, In 1883, our OEM production capacity was max 14,000pcs/year, the world No.1 capacity at the time. Now it was decreased to around 2,500pcs/month including our original brand and few famous OEM brands because of the rise of Chinese and Asian guitar factories.

(We’re so sorry, but we can’t disclose about the details of our OEM business.) In 2009, we launched FGN Guitars for overseas market to make it the top of new generation guitar brand. Do you know why we changed the brand name to “FGN” instead of “Fujigen” for overseas? It was very hard for some countries people to pronounce the word “Fujigen”. But we understand some of overseas Fujigen fans and distributors are highly respect of “Fujigen” brand name. By the way, we could find the FGN exclusive distributors in 26 countries in the world from when we started the overseas FGN business 2 years ago. But unfortunately, we have not find any distributor in US market yet due to currency exchange problem between YEN and USD. Now we’re looking for some great distributors of Canada, UK, and US to help us huge amount of distribution business of FGN guitars in their markets. Also we’re going to have the FGN special booth at next winter NAMM 2012(19-22th January 2012). We’re so stoked that our many overseas FGN artists and fans will come and check out products there! Besides, we hope we can find a great distributor in US market very soon!! If you would like to know more details about Fujigen history, please check http://www.fgnguitars.com/history.html.

What would make a guitarist select a Fujigen? Is it your charm and svelte style or are the guitars great?

We actually focus on making the relationships with the young guitar/bass players from new generation bands like Asking Alexandria, Dance Gavin Dance, Bless The Fall, SAOSIN and Emarosa and more. As you know, lots of old age guys love to play with old-vintage stuffs like Fender and Gibson because those brands have tons of guitar heroes like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Slash etc. before. But the present young people including me don’t care about the brand name and guitar history. They prefer their favorite guitars which have good qualities, wonderful playabilities, nice design and beautiful sounds! I suppose we have some free rooms to make them happy with our FGN Guitars all over the world. Also we created several kinds of FGN original models named FLAME(FL), ODESSEY(OS), and ELAN(EL). Actually we don’t care about the music style for FGN guitars. Please check the artist lists of FGN official website, there has many kinds of professional guitar players including Chad Smith from Red Hot Chili Peppers. haha Personally speaking, I have a strong confidence that everybody can feel great playabilities and create beautiful and powerful sounds with FGN Guitars.

You’ve been a jet-setter as of late.  Followers of your Twitter will see you going to Europe, LA, Australia, all over Japan, and you have plans to come the the US for Warped Tour. What’s it like for you building a brand like Fujigen outside of Japan and what has been the most fun?  What has been the most difficult?

Honestly speaking, I also manage and design the FGN Guitar’s official homepage, Myspace, Twitter and Facebook on the other I’m a PIC of FGN overseas sales manager. Therefore, some friends told me in the admiring voices that I’m just a brand-creator of FGN Guitars, haha.  Also I have overseas business trip every month for the sales marketing, artists relations, and business meetings with the dealers. In Japan, when we started to sell our Fujigen brand guitars, it was very tough because very few people knew the brand and company name of Fujigen. But 5-6years later, we got lots of great reputations about Fujigen Guitars from famous domestic artists and customers. And now Fujigen guitars are one of famous guitar brand in Japanese guitar markets like Ibanez and PRS. I can believe that we can also make the FGN Guitars become one of a new generation famous guitar brands all over the world in near future with the same promotion way as Japanese market. Actually, I have no difficulties to promote FGN Guitars all over theworld because I always highly respect all musicians who loves to play their favorite music. Nowadays, almost musicians appreciate their FGN Guitars and our craftsmanship.

You’ve gotten some good artists on board – Beau from Saosin, the guys from I Killed The Prom Queen, members of Emarosa and Dance Gavin Dance?  What is attracting these artists to Fujigen and what are you attracted to in an artist?

At the beginning of the FGN Guitars, I’ve asked some of domestic friends who has well-known about overseas artists to introduce them FGN Guitars.

After that, I’ve bought lots of their records at record shops to check their band sounds. Also I’ve checked their reputation through the internet and magazines. If we’re interested in working with their artists, we’ll contact with the bands and make the good friendship through FREE internet tools at first. After that, if we can make the good friendships, we’re going to make their favorite FGN “Private Reserved”(like custom shop) guitars according their spec requests. Besides, some of FGN artists and their management companies will introduce us their favorite bands like Polar Bear Club and The Swellers. Now I have many friends who work with management company, The Artery Foundation, Good Fight Entertainment, Blood Company, and Outerloop Management etc.. And also I have tons of US band friends. Those companies and friends are very supportive for me to introduce their favorite great bands. On the other hands, we also help them to supply their favorite FGN guitars to the band members.  You can see lots of my friends will play with FGN guitars from the Warped Tour 2012. Please don’t miss it!!

If an artist is looking for an endorsement, what are some things you like to hear about?  What are some things that are expected of an artist that signs on with Fujigen?

We don’t have any strict contracts like Fender and Ibanez, etc. Also some artists has no endorsement contracts between Fujigen and them because we have strong confidence about FGN Guitars. You know, if the artist loves to play with our guitars very much, they’ll definitely play with their FGN guitars for the recording and tours. Also they’ll share the good reputation about their FGN guitars to their fans and friends via FREE internet adv. tools like Twitter, Facebook and You Tube etc.. We really have to appreciate those great FREE tools these days.

You have a lot of US-based As far as distribution in the US, what are the plans?  How can someone here get a Fujigen?

Now we got some distribution inquiries from big US and Canadian distributors. Also we’re going to have a FGN Guitars booth at next winter NAMM 2012. We hope we can find the good US/Canadian distributor which loves our guitars and can take care of FGN artists until the next NAMM show. I think we can make it!!!

When you go to shows, do you still wear a suit?

When I started to work with the Fujigen company in 2008, I had the business suit as a gentleman and went every rock shows and meetings at the first year. After that, I found that almost customers and musicians were very nervous when I had meetings with the business suit. From 2009, We’ve changed my mind to make much fun about the music business. And now you can see that I always wear Famous, Hurley, Drop Dead, or Trust Comes Tough shirt, etc. for every meetings and shows!! I think we have to enjoy our favorite music with great instruments to make our happy lives!

Best regards,

Kazuma

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