IMUA Ukulele Inc. was started as an idea born in the late 2000’s by Jorma Winkler, Hawaiian Koa & Exotic Wood Supplier, and Shinji Takahashi, master luthier from Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan. After finally scrounging up some extra money and energy, construction started on the “upper deck” of unit 108 at 875 Waimanu St. in the Kaka’ako Commerce Center.
IMUA Ukuleles are all made in Hawaii by hand (we use tools of course) using production techniques from both Japan, Hawaii and around the world. Our specialty is the wood. Jorma is a 4th generation wood person who hails from Hilo, Hawaii and has been in the Koa forestry industry since he could walk. Having supplied musical instrument factories around the world with Hawaiian Exotic woods and veneers, he gained the valuable experience needed for the first part of building – the knowledge of the wood. Combining that with the expert technique and training by Shinji, the Imua ukulele is an instrument built as a legacy instrument. The quality is subtle as most of the details are on the inside of the ukulele and almost every technique used is generally only found on the higher-end models of factories, yet the same build technique is used on even the least expensive natural soprano. The artists who discover this subtle quality will be happy they did when their children are passing it along to their grand-children.
We are one of the few factories around the world that are part of the entire process from the salvage and reforestation of koa to the building of the instrument. We have worked directly with landowners to help them recover what they thought might have been unuseable, rotten koa that may have been lying on the grassy slopes of mauna kea for years. It is a long and arduous process, yet incredibly satisfying seeing an almost completely rotten log being turned into a beautiful instrument.
We welcome you to come visit our showroom and enjoy a factory tour where you can see the entire process from the milling and drying of koa to the final finish and setup.
E Komo Mai!
Jorma Winkler has been in the koa wood business all his life. After successfully supplying instrument manufacturers around the world with Hawaiian koa from the Big Island of Hawaii, he started an import line of ukuleles which grew successful enough that he was finally ready to make ukuleles in Honolulu Hawaii and by partnering with master luthier Shinji Takahashi from Japan.
Shinji Takahashi （高橋信治） has been building guitars and ukuleles for over 30 years in Matsumoto city near the Nagano mountain range. In this same area are many famous Japanese guitar manufactures. Shinji has been using his guitar luthiery skills to produce high quality ukuleles and his dream of being able transfer these skills to Hawaii, the birthplace of the ukulele.
Imua Ukulele Inc.
Hawaii Head Office
875 Waimanu St. #108 Honolulu, HI 96813
TEL: 1-808-691-9469 Fax: 808-356-0911
Koa Manufacturing and Sawmill
ukulele manufacturing and distribution; koa manufacturing and distribution; cultural relations between Japan and Hawaii
President & Owner
IMUA Ukulele Inc. formed and opened a factory. Producing Made in HAWAII IMUA Ukulele
Seilen (Seilen Stringed Instruments) was established for the purpose of a plan, a design, production, the sale of the acoustic instrument mainly on the ukulele in Matsumoto-shi, Nagano Japan by Shinji Takahashi
Office and warehouse moved to more central Honolulu location; now within walking distance to major shopping areas (Ward and Ala Moana)
Hawaii branch office and distribution started
HONU series of ukulele debuts and reception and demand is more than expected – thank you!
Big Island Ukulele Co. formed; early years R & D and many prototypes built!
Winkler Woods LLC chosen over many other companies by the State of Hawaii, Dept of Hawaiian Homelands to reforest over 100 acres of koa forested lands and harvest and market the koa
Winkler Woods LLC formed to supply koa to the instrument makers worldwide
Jorma Winkler began marketing Hawaiian lumber species worldwide
Shinji Takahashi started to make original brand “T’s Ukuleles”
Shinji Takahashi started to learn the production of the ukulele under "Nakanishi ukulele" Seiichi Nakanishi. At the same time , he skilled up his technique to started OEM production
Shinji Takahashi opened the studio of production and the repair of the electric guitar
The first Winklers relocated to Hawaii for forestry industry work
Our first experience with sawmilling and wood supply started generations ago in Northern California
Imua ukuleles are made in Hawaii from solid Hawaiian Koa wood. Imua ukulele make soprano, concert, and tenor sizes with the cutaway option and also MiSi and Fishman passive and active pickup options. Imua Ukulele also offers a Hawaiian koa curly optional upgrade in regular curly Hawaiian koa and master grade Hawaiian koa.
We encourage you to visit Hawaii and see our ukulele factory. While in Hawaii you should be sure to visit not only our Imua Ukulele factory, but also take the time to visit Kamaka Ukulele, KoAloha Ukulele, Koolau Ukulele, Kanilea Ukulele, G-string Ukulele, Kelii Ukulele, Sonny-D Ukulele and so many others.
Be sure to visit all the different ukulele dealers in Hawaii also who sell not only many local models but also Martin Ukuleles, Big Island Ukuleles, Pono, Anuenue, and many others. Some of the dealers are Easy Music Center, Island Guitars, Harry’s Music, Good Guys, PuaPua and PoePoe in Waikiki. If you are on Maui be sure to visit Lahaina where there are so many ukulele dealers such as Bounty Music and Lahaina Music. While on the Island of Hawaii, or the Big Island, be sure to visit Hilo Guitars and Agasa music stores as well as some of the Big Island manufacturers like Pegasus guitars and ukuleles or Moore Bettah Ukuleles. While on Kauai be sure to visit Scotty’s Music.
Be sure to come during one of the many events like the Ukulele Picnic in the Spring or the Roy Sakuma’s Ukulele Festival in July. If you are looking for lessons, there is the Ukulele Hale by Jodi Kamisato as well as the Roy Sakuma Ukulele School. You can also find free lessons at places like PuaPua Ukulele shop in the Sheraton and Moana Surfrider hotels.
There are so many manufacturers, dealers, schools, and event surrounding the ukulele you could spend your entire time in Hawaii just doing things ukulele related. So come, enjoy and Kanikapila! Mahalo.