Masaya Yamaguchi was born as a second son in Nagano at birth and bred in Tokyo, Japan. During the mid-80's, he started playing the guitar in rock/pop style (the ridiculous affair still comes to his mind now and then). Yamaguchi became interested in jazz through a TV commercial [of Suntory White] by Japan's renowned distiller, which misleadingly featured the jazz bassist, Ronald Carter.
Afterwards, Yamaguchi made his first purchase of a traditional 4-beat jazz album, which was John Coltrane's Giant Steps. At the age of 20, Yamaguchi changed his guitar style completely into jazz under the strong influence of John Coltrane--developing his own guitar style by the perfect 4th tuning (E, A, D, G, C, F- from the bottom to the top). He also began to explore the imaginative formation of musical scales while majoring in English at Meikai University, Chiba, Japan (B.A. 1994). At the age of 26, he decided to study in the jazz program at the City College of New York where his idol, Ron Carter, directed; however, Yamaguchi was distressed about power harassment from some faculty members. During his college years, he performed with Chico O'Farrill's son, Arturo O'Farrill in the Graduate Jazz Ensemble. Whereas he was tormented by tendonitis, he professionally began to transcribe the recorded performances by John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. In the end of 20th century, Yamaguchi became the first native Japanese who completed their Master program in jazz performance from the City College of New York (M.A. 1999).