Akira Tsumura

Akira Tsumura

People were recently inquiring on this site about the actual situation of Akira Tsumura, the person who had the world`s indisputably finest and most comprehensive gathering of banjos and who issued 3 very special and informative banjo books, as well as books about ukuleles, guitars and more. I came across this information about him recently.This is more or less as I read it

"Akira Tsumura always was and is a real straightforward guy and assumed that everyone else was that way. Unfortunately he believed a business partner who turned out later to be a crook from the Korean mafia. That guy used the good reputation of Akira Tsumura and his company to borrow funds from the banks and finally absconded with 80 million dollars which were guaranteed through the Tsumura corporation. That was in 1996. Akira Tsumura was arrested and spent months in jail before being convicted and given a three years suspended sentence.

Part of his large collection of antiquarian instruments were claimed by the corporation and eventually donated to a museum as a tax write off. The larger amount of banjos including the collection of the 1920 through 1940 period instruments were stored in a damp shed in the countryside of Tokyo. Some lightly wrapped, a lot just left in their cases." ( I don’t know how much of all this is 100% true but it seems whoever wrote it knew what he was talking about ) It goes on

"For a certain period nobody seemed to know where the remaining banjos were stored and if anyone knew where they were or who now owned them, they were not talking.

Mac Yasuda, a friend and business partner of Akira Tsumura finally located were the banjos were stored and made a deal to purchase them in 2007. He then spent thousands of dollars for shipping them to the US, storing and reviving the banjos.
Akira recently became 76. He lives a quiet and happy life, enjoying music and playing stringed instruments like banjo, guitar and ukulele. He also still got some top of the line banjos from his former collection.
After this unhappy period - not surprisingly - Akira is not interested in doing interviews or correspondence."

Re: Akira Tsumura

I appreciate and enjoyed the read. How very sad, but I’m glad he survives playing, and that some of those instruments were rescued and given a new life… There are some awful crooks in the world that will play on the weaknesses of others.

Are his books still in print?

Wow! I’ve only just seen a couple of pages from his book on banjos, though small and poorly shot, on Amazon ~ beautiful…

Re: Akira Tsumura

This info came from an article on Yasuda that appeared in issue # 16 of "Fretboard Journal" .

Here’s a short blurb on the piece:
http://www.fretboardjournal.com/magazine/big-plink

Good magazine, well worth checking out if you haven’t run across it before. Not cheap ($40/yr for 4 issues) but very high quality and well done, serious instrument porn.

Re: Akira Tsumura

I’ve only seen a couple of issues of "The Fretboard Journal", and right you are, a great magazine for anyone interested in the craft of making musical instruments with frets… I love the physical history of instruments, from their early origins to the present, with an equal interest in the makers too.

I’ve yet to hear a musical instrument, in the ‘right hands’, I haven’t appreciated…

Re: Akira Tsumura

Absolutely, ceolachan, even the harp - in the hands of Joanna Newsom, that is. And the melodica - in the hands of Agustus Pablo.

Re: Akira Tsumura

The only adversity that Joanna Newsom has faced is splitting up with the great Bill Callaghan………imagine what the offspring would have done!

Re: Akira Tsumura

I don’t know how she comes into this, but as far as I can see the only adversity that Joanna Newsom has faced is being a terrible writer with a grating voice about one chop on the harp.
How anyone can listen to her for longer than it takes to run screaming from the room, I’m not sure.

Re: Akira Tsumura

Well, Jon, maybe you should listen a bit longer. You could start with her new triple album. Needs a few listens, tho.

Re: Akira Tsumura

A triple album? I’d sooner take out my own appendix with a butter knife.

Re: Akira Tsumura

Jon, Have One On Me (that’s the album title). Maybe I could guide you to listening to some Iclandic stuff instead. múm, Sigur Rós etc, great stuff and mostly in single albums for easy digestion.

Re: Akira Tsumura

Sigur Rós is a great band, btw. 😎