Origins of the Yamaha Brand
The Yamaha brand trademark, YAMAHA, comes from the name of our founder Torakusu Yamaha who pioneered the production of Western musical instruments in Japan. Born to a family of a Kishu Tokugawa (today's Wakayama Prefecture) clansman, Torakusu was captivated by Western science and technology from early on. Fascinated by the watches that were gaining popularity in Osaka at the time, he took up watchmaking, studying business along the way. Over time, Torakusu began repairing medical equipment and was invited to visit a hospital in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture.
On one occasion, the principal of Hamamatsu's Jinjo elementary school (currently Motoshiro Elementary school) asked him if he would try to repair a reed organ. He agreed and was able to repair it successfully, marking the first step toward the birth of the Yamaha brand. Recognizing its business potential, while repairing the organ, Torakusu created a blueprint for the inside of the organ, later creating his own prototype organ. To deliver it to the then Music Institute (today's Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music), Torakusu slung his creation over his shoulder on a carrying pole and crossed the mountains of Hakone. This historic trek was later immortalized as a bas-relief.
The organ, however, was criticized harshly for its poor tuning. Undaunted, and starting from zero, Torakusu began studying music theory and tuning. After four months of seemingly endless struggles from early morning to late at night, he was finally able to complete the organ. It is easy to see how he came up with the concept of the tuning fork mark, inspired by the difficult experience of studying tuning while holding a tuning fork in his hand.
Kando is a Japanese word used by Yamaha to describe their corporate mission. Kando in translation describes the sensation of profound excitement and gratification derived from experiencing supreme quality and performance. Some reasonable English synonyms are "emotionally touching or "emotionally moving".
Yamaha Music Foundation
The Yamaha Music Foundation is an organization established in 1966 by the authority of the Japanese Ministry of Education for the purpose of promoting music education and music popularization. It continued a program of music classes begun by Yamaha Corporation in 1954.
- 1897 Keyboard instruments (reed organ, pianos in 1900)
- 1903 Furniture
- 1914 Harmonicas
- 1922 Audio equipment (crank phonograph first)
- 1942 Guitars
- 1955 Yamaha Motor Company (motorcycles and vehicles/watercraft, YA-1 motorcycle first)
- 1959 Sporting goods (starting with archery)
- 1959 Music schools
- 1961 Metal alloys
- 1965 Band instruments (trumpet first)
- 1971 Semiconductors
- 1984 Industrial robots
- 2001 Yamaha Entertainment Group (record company)
Synthesizers and Samplers
Yamaha announced the singing synthesizer Vocaloid for the first time at the German fair Musikmesse on March 5-9, 2003.
Yamaha also began to get involved with the sale and production of Vocaloid applications themselves with Lily being the first; Lily 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 September 1, 2010. 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. VY1 saw 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. Later, this version of the software was released using the VY1 voice. VY2 will also be released for this version of the software.
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