In 2012, Yamaha Corporation has marked the 125th anniversary of the commencement of its operations. The history of Yamaha began in Hamamatsu, Japan. Over the years, Yamaha has experienced several major currents of the times.
Early Years: Japan Develops a Passion for West European Music
During the early years of Yamaha's history, Japan was consumed with admiration for West European culture and technology. The Japanese people became obsessed with classical and other genres of West European musical culture. They also became intensely interested in the attention to detail in the making of musical instruments in Europe and with the precise manufacturing technology and skills that Europeans had developed for making these instruments.
The drive to fully absorb and catch up with these advanced technologies became the driving force for our activities. Despite much trial and error, and, at times, even after experiencing abject failures, we made unceasing, relentless efforts to make this culture and technology our own.
The 50s to the 80s: The Flowering of Genres and Instruments
The next major trend that Yamaha confronted took place from the 1950s through the 1980s. During these decades, the power of music spread throughout the world. New musical genres, including jazz and rock music, sprang from the mainstream musical culture of the times. New kinds of musical instruments––including electric, electronic, digital, and others––showed an unprecedented flowering and growth. Progress in technology gave birth to new instruments, and these, in turn, widened the horizons of music making and became forces unto themselves, propelling and accelerating the evolution of the musical arts.
By drawing on the experience and know-how accumulated from the time of its founding, Yamaha continued to develop its musical instruments businesses while aggressively diversifying into a wide range of other businesses, including audiovisual products and activities to promote music education and culture.
During this era in its development, Yamaha expanded its business activities into countries around the world, thus become a truly global enterprise. At the same time, Yamaha grew and developed into a company focused on "sound and music" unlike any the world had ever seen.
Today: Entering a "New Century"
Yamaha has now entered a new century for the second time since its founding.
We might describe the changes experienced in moving from the 19th into the 20th century as a sea change in industrial capabilities that made mass production possible. Today, the changes before us in transitioning from the 20th to the 21st century are best symbolized as a quantum leap in the information delivery capabilities of individuals and groups. Anyone can deliver his or her message to the world.
In the midst of this change, people's sense of values, including what is considered affluence and happiness, is gradually, but steadily undergoing change.
Over the 25 years since Yamaha commemorated its 100th anniversary, its operations have now crossed over into a new century. We believe this interval was necessary to set a course for the new era of the 21st century.
Today, the outlines of the 21st century are gradually taking shape. As we experience the good fortune of being able to celebrate our 125th anniversary, we want to express our gratitude again to the many people who have walked with us, accompanying Yamaha on its journey of more than a century.
What have we inherited from our many precursors? What have we created together with our customers? What should we transmit to the generations to come after us? We would like to use this very special year as an opportunity to think of these questions as we plan and present many anniversary-related events.
The deep sense of inspiration that music gives us, which we often describe using the Japanese word kando, does not change from one era to another. However, in the midst of changing times, to continue to create new inspiration and richness of culture for the peoples of the world, we will continue to treasure the passion and performance that Yamaha's history has fostered over the years.
We have positioned this anniversary year as a historical turning point for Yamaha. As we advance toward the next generation, we want to make this a year when Yamaha will take major steps toward becoming a company that is both trusted and admired.