Steel Trappings

Spotlight ON! Feature

Spotlight ON! Matt Kobayashi

September 15, 2022 • Addison ChingEntertainment

Masami "Matt" Kobayashi is from Tokyo, Japan, and currently resides there. He lived in Waikīkī from April, 2010, to March, 2016.

Matt recently returned to Honolulu where he participated in the first annual Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival which featured Hawaiian steel guitarists from Japan. The event, in the planning stages for several years, was held as a part of the 2022 Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week.

"My childhood era was just after World War II," says Matt. "And I enjoyed a lots of American Pops that were broadcasted through U.S. military Broadcasting Station FEN, the Far East Network."

Matt continues, "In Far East Network programs, I especially loved 'The Hawaii Calls Show' and enchanted by steel guitar sound that was played by Jules Ah See, Billy Hew Len, etc."

Matt has one favorite Japanese steel guitar player. He is Mr. Harukiko (Yukihiko) Haida, a Hawai‘i-born Japanese. Haida subsequently moved to Japan and formed a Hawaiian music group called the "Moana Glee Club." This group was the first professional Hawaiian music group in Japan. Haida passed away in 1986.

In 2012 Matt participated in what was planned to be an attempt at setting a Guinness World Record for the most steel guitarists performing at the same time. Unfortunately, Guinness did not differentiate the steel guitar from conventional guitars so the attempt was thwarted. However, a collection of 24 steel guitarists including Matt convened anyway and performed at the same time at the annual Ke Kula Mele Spring concert on May 13, 2012, playing a four-part arrangement of Nani Waimea by Alan Akaka.

Matt continues to share his music talents. In Japan, he performs with many of his friends at various venues close to Tokyo. When in Hawai‘i, Matt has performed at the Royal Grove Waikīkī and at the Barefoot Beach Cafe with an assortment of musicians including Leonard Jenkins, Charles K. Tilton, Ernest Kanoa, Steve Maii, Poki‘i Vaughan, Hovey Lambert, Ganor Kalima, Ernie Morikubo, Ronson Asuncion, and Keola Kaeo.

This video is of Matt playing "Mele of My Tutu E" at the 2022 Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival in Waikīkī. Matt is accompanied by Hovey Lambert, Leonard Jenkins, and Ernie Morikubo with hula by Caroline Alfonso and Kela Cuban.

The video can also be seen on YouTube.

This feature is a snapshot of the complete tribute that is posted on the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase website. See the complete tribute here.

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2022 Festivals and Workshops

Maui Steel Guitar Festival
October 15, 2022 – The Shops at Wailea, Wailea, Maui, Hawai‘i
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM HST
October 16, 2022 – Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, Kahului, Maui, Hawai‘i
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM HST

Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Experience at Mauna Lani
December 8-11, 2022 – Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, Kamuela, Hawai‘i Island

2022 Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase Livestream Broadcasts

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Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday

November, 2022 TBA – 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Experience at Mauna Lani

December 10, 2022 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – 5:30 PM - 9:30 PM HST
December 11, 2022 Saturday Twilight at Kalāhuipua‘a concert – 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM HST

2023 Festivals and Workshops
Kona Steel Guitar Festival   
March 24-25, 2023 – Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa, Keauhou, Hawai‘i

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week   
July 10-15, 2023 (tentative) – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival   
July 14, 2023 (tentative) – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival   
July 15, 2023 (tentative) – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī

2023 Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase Livestream Broadcasts
Facebook LiveYouTube
Kona Steel Guitar Festival

March 25, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – 12:00 Noon - 3 PM and 5 PM - 8 PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival

July 14, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert (tentative) – 4PM - 6:30PM HST


Facebook LiveYouTube
Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival

July 15, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert (tentative) – 11AM - 2PM and 4:30PM - 6:30PM HST

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