IMDb > Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings (2012)

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Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings -- Follow ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro over the course of a musical season.


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Release Date:
March 2012 (USA) See more »
This intimate documentary gives viewers a singular glimpse into Jake Shimabukuro, ukulele virtuoso, but also Jake, the young boy who grew up in a modest apartment to a single mother and unsuspectingly rose to international stardom. | Add synopsis »
6 wins See more »
User Reviews:
An incredible look at one of the world's most virtuosic musicians See more (1 total) »



Directed by
Tadashi Nakamura 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Tadashi Nakamura 

Produced by
Ruth Bolan .... executive producer
Stephen Gong .... executive producer
Donald Young .... producer
Original Music by
Jake Shimabukuro 
Cinematography by
Naalehu Anthony 
Jim Choi 
Tadashi Nakamura 
Film Editing by
Tadashi Nakamura 
Production Management
Tarô Gotô .... local production manager
Sound Department
Adriano Bravo .... sound mixer
Visual Effects by
Michael Velasquez .... visual effects
Daryn Wakasa .... animation director
Daryn Wakasa .... design director
Editorial Department
Marshall Plante .... colorist
Darrell Ah Yong .... thanks


Additional Details

54 min


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
An incredible look at one of the world's most virtuosic musicians, 21 May 2013
Author: angelofvic from United States

Jake Shimabukuro is not a "ukulele player" -- he's a world-renowned musical virtuoso who blows away anyone who hears his music. He is in the same pantheon as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Bela Fleck, and even great classical musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma and Hilary Hahn. Jake, more than any musician I know of, transcends his instrument and creates pure music, touching the souls of his listeners.

A well-kept (though award-winning) Hawaiian and Japanese secret until 2006, Jake burst upon the world stage when someone posted the now-famous video of him playing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on YouTube. The video instantly went viral, and Jake became a international star, receiving concert requests from around the world, and playing with and opening for such stars as Jimmy Buffett, Bela Fleck, Ziggy Marley, and Bette Midler, and being produced by Alan Parsons.

All while retaining his youthful humility and disarming openness and lack of pretense. This movie is a lovely look into his life, both for Jake fans, and for those who have never heard of him. The film is by turns fascinating, jaw-dropping, inspiring, funny, touching, and moving. It's a well-rounded and expertly done piece of cinema by a very experienced Japanese-American documentarian, who strives to bring the human touch to his work. The film should appeal to anyone, regardless of age, nationality, or musical interest (or lack thereof). Jake's life alone is fascinating, never mind his brilliant music (which we are given glorious exposure to).

Jake has a special connection with Japan, both through his heritage and because his longtime manager is from Japan. Thus, he's an even bigger star in Japan than in the U.S. Hopefully, this wonderful film will open the eyes of further music lovers in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world.

By the way, this hour-long documentary is viewable for free until August 8, 2013 on the PBS site. Go to their Video page, and click the drop-down Progams menu (or access it directly here: or

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