Mahalo, meaning “thank-you” or “gratitude in Hawai’ian, was the word chosen by Kikutani Music, a musical products distributor based in Nagoya, Japan as the brand name for their then, new range of ukuleles in 1999. Originally manufactured in China for Kikutani, Mahalo ukuleles were developed with a promise to deliver a “real musical instrument experience at an entry-level price point”. Prior to this, entry-level ukes were generally considered toys and most were musically unplayable. Initially, the range of Mahalo ukuleles was quite small, but as they were the first high-quality, inexpensive, playable instrument on the market, the quantity sold in Japan was extraordinary. At this point, the Chinese manufacturer of Mahalo began distributing the brand around the world under license to Kikutani Music and quite literally became an enormous overnight success.