I recently met an Asian American who was more familiar with Yamaha home entertainment and outdoor recreational products than their musical instruments. When I pointed out that the company logo was comprised of tuning forks he had an “ah hah” moment. Yamaha has become synonymous with fun “all the way around” but music was their first and remains their deepest passion.
The manufacturing expertise developed by this piano maker has been focused on delivering the most consistent quality piano in the world. It has been their passion but this passion didn’t manifest itself recently. Yamaha specializes in recreational products of many kinds. That being said, the first thing the founder ever built was a reed organ and the first product ever mass produced was a piano! Take a peek at the benchmark history of the largest instrument maker in the world.
Torakusu Yamaha builds his first reed organ
Nippon Gakki Co., Ltd. (current Yamaha Corporation) is established with capital of 100,000 yen
Begins production of upright pianos
Lists its shares on Tokyo Stock Exchange
Establishes Yamaha Music School and holds pilot classes.
Establishes Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. (Splits off the motorcycle division)
Begins production of sports equipment
Begins production of electronic organ
Establishes Yamaha International Corporation (current Yamaha Corporation of America)
Begins recreation business
Begins production of lifestyle-related products
Begins production of wind instruments
Yamaha Music Foundation is established
Issues shares at market price for the first time in Japan
Begins production of semiconductors
Changes company name to Yamaha Corporation to mark the 100th years in business
Establishes Yamaha Music & Electronics (China) Co., Ltd.
Acquires Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH
Establishes music entertainment business holding company
Acquires L. Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik GmbH
Renews Yamaha Ginza Building, a complex including shopping area, concert hall, music studio etc.
Completes integration of Japanese wind instrument factories to Toyooka
You can see from the impressive history of this well-managed company, who built its first upright piano in 1900 and made a reed organ before any other product, that music was at the source and was inspirational to this company. All the other fun, recreational stuff came later. As the tuning forks in the company logo remind us-music is at the heart of this company and that passion shows in the way they build all things.