Yoshihiro "Hiro" Arita
Yoshihiro "Hiro" Arita, a native of Osaka, Japan, graduated from Berklee in 1988 as a guitarist. However, he is best known as Japan's finest five-string banjoist. While at college in the 1980s, he was a founding member of Off Center and Boston City Limits, and also performed with the David Grisman Quartet, Bela Fleck, Mark O'Connor, Matt Glaser, and John McGann. He was the first non-American to win the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship in Winfield, KS in 1985. Currently, as a versatile session guitarist and a multi-style string player in Japan, Arita has worked with many artists in diverse genres, such as nationally known pop singer Ryoko Moriyama, virtuoso classical violinist Iwao Furusawa, and top bossa nova singer Lisa Ono, whose album for which Hiro arranged music got the Best Jazz Album of the Year in the 2007 Japan Gold Disc Awards.