Birthplace: Nagasaki, Japan
Location of death: Hamamatsu, Japan
Cause of death: unspecified
Race or Ethnicity: Asian
Executive summary: Founder of Yamaha Corporation
Torakusu Yamaha's father was a samurai warrior for the Kii clan, but Yamaha was raised with a very liberal education, studying astronomy and engineering. At the age of 19 he opened a watchmaking and repair company which soon failed, and thereafter he worked as a general handyman repairing medical tools and other gadgets. A school in the small town of Hamamatsu asked Yamaha to repair its prized American-made Mason & Hamlin organ, and in performing this task he taught himself the interior workings of the instrument. In 1887 he began making his own organs under the banner of Yamaha Fukin (Organ) Manufacturing Company, and ten years later the business was incorporated and re-named Nippon Gakki Co. (Japanese Musical Instrument Company). After Yamaha made a journey to America to study piano design, Nippon Gakki began building upright pianos in 1900, and introduced its first grand pianos in 1902. By Yamaha's death in 1916, Nippon Gakki was world-renowned for its keyboard instruments.
In subsequent decades, Nippon Gakki diversified into boat-making, home electronics, integrated circuits, and sporting goods, and opened the first Yamaha Music School in 1954. The Yamaha Motor Company, a maker of motorcycles, was established as a subsidiary in 1955. In 1987, to celebrate its centennial and honor its founder, the central business was re-named Yamaha Corporation.
Yamaha Corporation Founder & President (1887-1916)
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