I also read from a variety of sources (maybe the same source?) that the master luthier behind these guitars was Kazou Yairi of Yairi guitar fame. I have some Yairis and they look similar, especially the neck and back of the headstock. Yairi was a big fan of laminate back and sides since he thought it stiffened up the guitar and better focused the sound. He even put laminate b/s on his professional models.