Mahalo History


On April 9th, 1999, Mahalo was first registered in Japan by Mr. Toshi Kikutani, president of a famous musical instrument company, Kikutani Music. Mahalo means thanks in Hawaiian language. It's chosen for the brand name cos' we should always be thankful to our customers.



In the same year, Mr. Kikutani arranged for Team International (China) Co., Ltd to manufacture Mahalo ukuleles for him on an OEM basis. At that time there were only a few designs and they were only sold in Japan.


Greatly interested in the ukulele, we asked Mr. Kikutani whether Team China could use the Mahalo name to sell to other markets except Japan. Mr. Kikutani agreed immediately without hesitation, since he and Team have a very long standing relationship both in business and as friends and Kikutani Music has no interest for other markets outside of Japan. So began Mahalo’s venture into the world market.



Looking back at this history, we are very grateful to Mr. Kikutani and we will never forget his friendship. There is no doubt that Mahalo's great success today owes a lot to the good name registered by Mr. Kikutani.


Mahalo released a full range of colored ukuleles with matching color bags (Model#: U30).



People were so surprised to find that these colorful, inexpensive ukuleles sounded and played so well. Never before had there been such a low price ukulele that was actually playable. The Mahalo name spread in the ukulele community overnight, and the colored ukuleles wereimmediately a huge success. Even now the U30 colored ukuleles are still the biggest sellers in the Mahalo range.



Today, there are numerous brands selling colored ukuleles in the market. It’s arguable whether Mahalo was the first company to make colored ukuleles, but it’s certain that Mahalo started the trend and is the driving force in the world markets.



The popularity of the ukulele has boomed in recent years. It’s interesting to wonder whether it’s the ukulele resurgence that has driven the boom in ukulele sales, or if it’s the availability of inexpensive but playable ukuleles that lit up the resurgence. No matter which it is, we are happy that Mahalo plays an important roll in it..


Mahalo started to sign endorsement deal with Miss Hawaii, the ambassador of Hawaii. Since then, every Miss Hawaii becomes ambassador of Mahalo ukulele as well.


Mahalo started to use Nubone saddles made in Canada. It's a costly investment to use such good parts on low cost ukuleles, but worthwhile in the pursuit of better sound. The improvement was quickly recognized by players, and sales increased hugely soon after the upgrade, a great reward to our never ending pursuit of better sound.


After much testing, Mahalo changed the U30 body to a slimmer shape. The reason was simple – to get the best sound out of the wood.



In the same year, Mahalo released the first ukulele kit (U1K) and the Mahalo DVD. One thing we have to mention about the DVD is that it helped to develop several markets that were completely new to the ukulele. The ukulele is so easy to learn that you can quickly strum many songs decently well just by learning from our DVD.


Mahalo released the sparkle kit (U2K) at the 2007 NAMM show in January.



In October the same year, the Rock series, ULP1 and UTL1 were released during the Music China show in Shanghai.


In October during the Music China show in Shanghai, the Art series was released. This is a complete new line of ukuleles featuring cool and lovely designs on the top board. One of which we feel we must mention here is the U/SMILE 'Smiley Face' ukulele. With the novel design we are sure it will become one of the most classical ukuleles in history.


After more than 2 years of improvement and modifications, the Surf series was officially released at the 2012 January NAMM show. They are Mahalo’s first solid body ukuleles, and Mahalo also released their first non-ukulele instrument – a surfboard shaped lap steel guitar.


Recorded from the 1st Mahalo ukulele which was sold in 1999, as the day of July 20th, 2013, 2,000,000 (2 Million) pieces of Mahalo ukuleles have been sold worldwidely. Mahalo (Thanks) for all the support from Mahalo ukulele players.


PT AKT INDONESIA, a brand new factory 100% owned by Mahalo ukulele, grandly open in Pasuruan, Indonesia (2.5hour drive from Surabaya, the 2nd biggest port of Indonesia.). 3 new lines (Kahiko Series, Rainbow Series and Java Series) produced in our new factory were released in the 2014 Winter NAMM Show.


Mahalo (Thanks) for spending time to get some ideas of our history! Enjoy your visit to this site.

**Special Presents: History of the Ukulele