1. Char, who celebrates the 35th anniversary of his recording debut in 2011, is considered one of Japan’s most influential guitarists and an elder statesman of the Japanese music scene. He is noted for playing a Stratocaster, and he has done much to popularize the Fender Mustang® guitar in Japan. Born Hisato Takenaka in 1955, he took up guitar at age 8 after hearing the Ventures and assembled his first band, Fox, at age 11. Regarded as something of a prodigy, he was heavily influenced by the Ventures and the U.K. blues-rock of the Yardbirds, Cream, Free and Led Zeppelin.