The path of the well-known Yamaha brand is a demonstration that success is sure to await the resilient and hardworking. The founder of Yamaha, Thorakusu Yamaha, is a watchmaker who has been fond of the most complex mechanisms and jewelry precision in detail since childhood. The company, known to the world under the name YAMAHA Motor, was officially registered in 1955. But in reality, this is the successor of the Nippon Gakki corporation.
Thorakusu Yamaha, the third son in a samurai family, from early childhood, was interested in machine mechanisms and the latest developments. In 1868, advanced technology from the West began to spread throughout Japan, and Torakusu took this as a unique opportunity for development. After learning the craft of watchmaking, he switched to sophisticated medical equipment. In 1886, on the outskirts of a large city, Thorakusu opened his own business: he was engaged in the repair of medical equipment and clockwork. Since there was no narrow-profile master in the small town, when the harmonium broke down at the school, they turned to Yamaha for repairs. He found a snag, examined the “innards” of the tool and independently made a similar one, spending 2 months on work.
The first product was rejected by the professors of the Faculty of Music at the University of Tokyo. Yamaha did not give up but sat down to study music theory. New knowledge helped create an updated version of the tool, which was considered a good analog, capable of being a worthy replacement. After that, Yamaha began to receive stable orders. Things went uphill, and in 1887 he registered his own trademark Nippon Gakki. A year later, Thorakusu built a state-of-the-art factory with state-of-the-art assembly lines.
In 1889, it was Yamaha who was entrusted with the maintenance of musical instruments in Japanese schools, and Nippon Gakki wholesaled 250 harmoniums. This inspired Thorakusa to expand his business: to produce saxophones and even pianos. The founder of the company died in 1916, but his business continued.
Wartime and a new round of development
During the Second World War, Nippon Gakki’s activities were re-profiled, the plant was engaged in the production of high-precision equipment. At the end of the war, the activities of the corporation were suspended until 1953. The company’s management could not choose in which direction to move and what should be produced in the post-war country. Sewing machines, three-wheeled cars and motorcycles were considered as options. The last one was the final choice. The German motorcycle DKW was chosen as the prototype for the manufacture of the pilot model.
It took 10 months to create the “firstborn”, the Yamaha 125cc YA-1 model. After a series of successful tests, the production of the model was put on stream. The launch of the new line led to a number of transformations – Yamaha Motor became a separate division, the original business was renamed after the name of the founder to Yamaha. He, as the successor, also left the main capital of Nippon Gakki. Since then, the two companies have developed in different ways. Yamaha has transformed itself into the most recognizable manufacturer of musical instruments. In addition to keyboards, other musical instruments of the highest quality appeared in the assortment.
Even the corporation’s flagship building in Tokyo houses a huge musical instrument store. There are also several recording studios equipped with modern equipment and a performance hall. Since the 50s of the last century, a unique Yamaha music school has been operating.
Yamaha Motor is also successfully working in the chosen niche. The first motorcycle model took three prizes at once in the first motorcycle race in Japan. In 1958, the first foreign branch of the company was opened in Mexico, and 2 years later – in the States. In 1960, Yamaha ventured into a new sector with boats and an innovative outboard engine. Yamaha spent the 60s expanding into new territories, opening branches in Brazil, India, Taiwan, the Netherlands, and others.
The range of the company is constantly expanding – golf carts, new models of motorcycles, industrial equipment, snowplows, all-terrain vehicles, jet skis, unmanned aerial vehicles for sowing, and more.
Yamaha these days
Today, the brand has 61 representative offices and 4 subsidiaries around the world, except for those that operate in Japan. In addition, Yamaha owns unique recreation areas throughout Japan.
The Yamaha Music Foundation was founded in 1966. Since its inception, it has been actively involved in music-related activities: opening music schools, holding thematic festivals, popularizing music.
The main task that the corporation sets for itself is the creation of products that were 100% satisfied by a potential buyer. The company makes a lot of efforts to increase its market share, search for new non-standard solutions, expand the range and improve product quality.