The Hoshino Gakki company began in 1908 as the musical instrument sales division of the Hoshino Shoten a bookstore company. The Ibanez brand name dates back to 1929 when Hoshino Gakki began importing Salvador Ibáñez guitars from Spain. When the "Salvador Ibáñez" workshop was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, the "Ibanez Salvador" guitars were no longer available, so Hoshino Gakki bought the "Ibanez Salvador" brand name rights and started making Spanish acoustic guitars in 1935, at first using the "Ibanez Salvador" brand name, and then later using the "Ibanez" brand name.
The modern era of Ibanez guitars began in 1957 and the late 1950s and 1960s Ibanez catalogues show guitars with some wild looking designs. Japanese guitar makers in the 1960s were mostly copying European guitar designs and some of the late 1960s Ibanez designs were similar to Hagström and EKO guitar designs. Hoshino Gakki used the Teisco and FujiGen Gakki guitar factories to manufacture Ibanez guitars after they stopped manufacturing their own guitars in 1966 and after the Teisco guitar factory closed down in 1969/1970 Hoshino Gakki used the FujiGen Gakki guitar factory to make most Ibanez guitars.
In the 1970s Japanese guitar makers started to mainly copy American guitar designs and Ibanez branded copies of Gibson, Fender, Dan Armstrong and Rickenbacker models started to appear. This resulted in the so called Ibanez lawsuit period. After the lawsuit period Hoshino Gakki introduced Ibanez models that were not copies of the Gibson or Fender designs such as the Iceman and Ibanez Roadstar. The company has produced its own guitar designs ever since. The late 1980s and early 1990s were an important period for the Ibanez brand. Hoshino Gakki's relationship with Frank Zappa's former guitarist Steve Vai resulted in the introduction of the Ibanez JEM and the Ibanez Universe models and after the earlier successes of the Roadstar and Iceman models in the late 1970s/early 1980s, Hoshino Gakki entered the superstrat market with the RG series which were a lower priced version of the Ibanez JEM model.
Hoshino Gakki also had semi acoustic, nylon and steel stringed acoustic guitars manufactured under the Ibanez name. Tama acoustic guitars were made from 1974-1979 at the Tama Drum factory. In 1979 the Tama acoustic guitars were renamed as the Artwood Series and were also made at the Tama Drum factory. Most Ibanez guitars were made for Hoshino Gakki by the FujiGen guitar factory in Japan up until the mid to late 1980s and from then on Ibanez guitars have also been made in other Asian countries such as Korea, China and Indonesia. During the early 1980s the FujiGen guitar factory also produced most of the Roland guitar synthesizers, including the Stratocaster-style Roland GR-505, the twin humbucker Roland GR-202 and the Ibanez X-ING IMG-2010.
Sometimes stencil (template) guitar designs were shared by Japanese guitar companies and distributors so an early Hoshino Ibanez branded guitar might look the same as another brand name guitar produced by a different Japanese distributor but only Ibanez, Cimar by Ibanez and Maxxas branded guitars were made for Hoshino Gakki and are the only guitar brand names that have appeared in Hoshino Gakki catalogues. Cimar guitars were not produced by Hoshino Gakki but "Cimar by Ibanez" guitars were produced for Hoshino Gakki by Cimar.
The Starfield guitar brand was also owned by Hoshino Gakki. In the 1970s, Hoshino Gakki and Kanda Shokai shared some guitar designs and so some Ibanez and Greco guitars have the same features. The Kanda Shokai Greco guitars were sold in Japan and the Hoshino Gakki Ibanez guitars were sold outside of Japan. From 1982, Ibanez guitars have also been sold in Japan as well as being sold outside of Japan.
Guitar brands such as Antoria shared some Ibanez guitar designs. The Antoria guitar brand was managed by JT Coppock Leeds Ltd England. CSL was a brand name managed by Charles Summerfield Ltd England. Maurice Summerfield of the Charles Summerfield Ltd company contributed some design ideas to Hoshino Gakki and also imported Ibanez and CSL guitars into the UK with Hoshino Gakki cooperation from 1964-1987. The Maxxas brand name came about because Hoshino Gakki thought that the guitar did not fit in with the Ibanez model range and was therefore named Maxxas by Rich Lasner from Hoshino USA