Yamaha Corporation

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Yamaha Corporation
Native name
Romanized name
Yamaha kabushiki gaisha
FormerlyNippon Gakki Co., Ltd. (1887–1987)
Company type Public KK
FoundedOctober 12, 1887;136 years ago (1887-10-12)
Founder Torakusu Yamaha
Headquarters10-1, Nakazawacho, Naka-ku, ,
Area served
Key people
Takuya Nakata  [ jp ], President and Representative Executive Officer
Products Musical instruments, audio equipment
RevenueIncrease2.svg ¥ 408.2 billion (2017) [1]
Increase2.svg ¥ 44.3 billion (2017)[ verification needed ] [1]
Increase2.svg ¥ 46.7 billion (2017)[ verification needed ] [1]
Number of employees
28,112 (including temporary employees) (2017) [1]
Website yamaha.com

Yamaha Corporation (ヤマハ株式会社, Yamaha Kabushiki gaisha , /ˈjæməˌhɑː/ ; Japanese pronunciation: [jamaha] ) is a Japanese musical instrument and audio equipment manufacturer.


It is one of the constituents of Nikkei 225 and is the world's largest musical instrument manufacturing company. [2] The former motorcycle division was established in 1955 as Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., which started as an affiliated company but later became independent.


Torakusu Yamaha, founder of Yamaha Corporation Torakusu-yamaha.jpg
Torakusu Yamaha, founder of Yamaha Corporation

Nippon Gakki Co., Ltd. (日本楽器製造株式会社, Nihon Gakki Seizō Kabushiki gaisha , lit.'Japan Musical Instrument Manufacture') was established in 1887 as a reed organ manufacturer by Torakusu Yamaha (山葉寅楠) in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture and was incorporated on 12 October 1897. In 1900, the company manufactured its first piano, the first piano to be made in Japan, [3] and its first grand piano two years later. In 1987, 100 years after the first reed organ built by Yamaha, the company was renamed Yamaha Corporation in honor of its founder. [4] The company's origins as a musical instrument manufacturer are still reflected today in the group's logo—a trio of interlocking tuning forks. [5] [3]

After World War II, company president Genichi Kawakami repurposed the remains of the company's war-time production machinery and the company's expertise in metallurgical technologies to the manufacture of motorcycles. The YA-1 (AKA Akatombo, the "Red Dragonfly"), of which 125 were built in the first year of production (1954), was named in honour of the founder. It was a 125cc, single cylinder, two-stroke street bike patterned after the German DKW RT 125 (which the British munitions firm, BSA, had also copied in the post-war era and manufactured as the Bantam and Harley-Davidson as the Hummer). In 1955, [6] the success of the YA-1 resulted in the founding of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., splitting the motorcycle division from the company. Also, in 1954 the Yamaha Music School was founded. [3]

Yamaha has grown into the world's largest manufacturer of musical instruments (including pianos, "silent" pianos, drums, guitars, brass instruments, woodwinds, violins, violas, cellos, and vibraphones), and a leading manufacturer of semiconductors, audio/visual, computer related products, sporting goods, home appliances, specialty metals, and industrial robots. [7] Yamaha released the Yamaha CS-80 in 1977.

In 1983, Yamaha made the first commercially successful digital synthesizer, the Yamaha DX7.

In 1988, Yamaha shipped the world's first CD recorder. [8] Yamaha purchased Sequential Circuits in 1988. [9] It bought a majority stake (51%) of competitor Korg in 1987, which was bought out by Korg in 1993. [10]

Yamaha Ginza Building in Tokyo is the largest musical instrument store in Japan. The complex includes a shopping area, concert hall, and music studio. Yamaha Ginza.jpg
Yamaha Ginza Building in Tokyo is the largest musical instrument store in Japan. The complex includes a shopping area, concert hall, and music studio.

In the late 1990s, Yamaha released a series of portable battery operated keyboards under the PSS and the PSR range of keyboards. The Yamaha PSS-14 and PSS-15 keyboards were upgrades to the Yamaha PSS-7 with short demo songs, short selectable phrases, and sound effects. [11]

In 2002, Yamaha closed its archery product business that was started in 1959. Six archers in five different Olympic Games won gold medals using their products. [12]

In January 2005, it acquired German audio software manufacturer Steinberg from Pinnacle Systems. In July 2007, Yamaha bought out the minority shareholding of the Kemble family in Yamaha-Kemble Music (UK) Ltd, Yamaha's UK import and musical instrument and professional audio equipment sales division. It was renamed Yamaha Music U.K. Ltd in late 2007. [13] Kemble & Co. Ltd, the UK piano sales & manufacturing arm, was unaffected. [14]

On 20 December 2007, Yamaha made an agreement with the Austrian Bank BAWAG PSK Gruppe to purchase all the shares of Bösendorfer, [15] with Yamaha intending to continue manufacturing at the Bösendorfer facilities in Austria. [16] The acquisition was announced on 28 January 2008, after the NAMM Show in Los Angeles. As of 1 February 2008, Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik GmbH operates as a subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation. [17]

Yamaha electronics have proven to be successful, popular, and respected products. For example, the Yamaha YPG-625 was awarded "Keyboard of the Year" and "Product of the Year" in 2007 from The Music and Sound Retailer magazine. [18] Other noteworthy Yamaha electronics include the SHS-10 Keytar, a consumer-priced keytar which offered MIDI output features normally found on much more expensive keyboards.

Other companies in the Yamaha Corporation group include:

Corporate mission

Kandō (感動) is a Japanese word used by Yamaha Corporation to describe its corporate mission. Kandō is the sensation of profound excitement and gratification derived from experiencing supreme quality and performance. [19] Some reasonable English equivalents are "emotionally touching" or "emotionally moving".

Yamaha Music Foundation

Yamaha Corporation is widely known for its music teaching program that began in the 1954. In a continuation of that program, the Yamaha Music Foundation was established by the authority of the Japanese Ministry of Education for the purpose of promoting music education and music popularization In 1966. [20]


Yamaha expanded into many diverse businesses and product groups. The first venture into each major category is listed below. [21]

Living room business

The company began by manufacturing high-end furniture based on its expertise in wood processing for piano manufacturing, and was spun off into a separate company in 1991 with the establishment of YAMAHA Livingtec (YLT). The company manufactured and sold unit baths, system kitchens, and other products. In 1992, the company decided to stop selling system furniture, and after narrowing down its product lineup, it terminated orders and production in 2005 March. [22]

In 2010, Yamaha sold its 85.1% stake in YLT to Japan Industrial Partners and three foreign investment funds as part of a restructuring. At this point, the YAMAHA brand and company name continued, but the company essentially withdrew from management. Subsequently, YLT conducted a MBO of the investments of Yamaha and the investment funds, and the company name was changed as of 1 October 2013 [23] [24] and withdrew from the housing equipment business in both name and reality.

Synthesizers and samplers

Yamaha announced the singing synthesizer Vocaloid for the first time at the German fair Musikmesse on 5–9 March 2003. [25]

Yamaha began the sale and production of Vocaloid applications, starting with Lily which was later sold via Internet Co., Ltd.'s website. Their involvement continued with the VY series, with VY1 being the first, released in deluxe and standard editions on 1 September 2010. [26] The VY series is a series designed to be a high quality product for professional musicians. The series is also designed with the intention to set a new standard for the Vocaloids for having no face, sex, or set voice, but are designed to complete any song. [27] VY1 has a new approach to how the software handled the database of samples and improved the performance of the Vocaloid 2 engine.

Yamaha announced a version of the Vocaloid 2 software for the iPhone and iPad, which exhibited at the Y2 Autumn 2010 Digital Content Expo in Japan. [28] [29] Later, this version of the software was released using the VY1 voice. [30] [31] VY2 will also be released for this version of the software. [32]

Factory locations

In Japan, the company maintains three factories for musical instrument manufacture, engine and various vehicle manufacture (motorcycles and marine products), with all factories located in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Sports teams

See also

Related Research Articles

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