Kiyoshi "Lion" Kobayashi is recognized as Japan's premier steel guitar player. Lion began his musical dictation (hearing) training at age 4, followed by piano training at age 5. At age 15 he was an accomplished pianist and ‘ukulele player and began learning the steel guitar. He made his first pedal steel guitar — an 8-string, 4-pedal steel with his own changer system — at age 19, and four years later he recorded some Japanese pop songs. This marked the beginning of his professional recording career.
His musical accomplishments include participating in steel guitar ho‘olaule‘as since 1983, releasing many LP and CD recordings, writing over 550 steel guitar tabs, developing instruction books and 28 volumes of correspondence course instruction CDs, and jazzy tab arrangements of 14 songs of Jules Ah See, Barney Isaacs and Jerry Byrd.
Lion has participated in steel guitar festivals all over the world including most Maui Steel Guitar Festivals, Scotty's International Steel Guitar Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association's Joliet (IL) convention, the Maui Steel Guitar Festival, and The Lei of Emeralds International Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival in The Netherlands.
Lion's ambition is to build a steel guitar orchestra. His orchestra made its first appearance at the 2014 Maui Steel Guitar Festival.