Did you know that for two hundred years Japan was completely closed to the outside world? The execution threatened not only uninvited visitors - even their fishermen, whom the hurricane threw into foreign lands, could not return home under pain of death. But in the end, the barbaric outside world came to the land of samurai - in 1853, when the American Commodore Matthew Perry, under the threat of the guns of his squadron, forced the Japanese to sign a humiliating and unequal trade agreement.
The expansion of the Americans ultimately came to their side - but it will be later. And then, in the middle of the 19th century, a “revolution from below” broke out: the Japanese, dissatisfied with the humiliation, overthrew the old shogun regime and rushed enthusiastically to master all the western novelties. Considering that the whole world is from Japan to the west, there are many new products. Classical European education also quickly became fashionable - with the teaching of ancient languages and music.
Just in this the poor but enterprising peasant Taraguchi Yamaha saw his chance. Having obtained an old piano on occasion, he made an improved copy of it and almost 200 km per instrument to the nearest town - straighten permission. It was not possible the first time - I had to repeat the “piano run” … But the notorious eastern patience can grind even the eastern bureaucracy - and Taraguchi received the coveted permission to organize production. Yamaha's ingenious company was simply called Nippon Gakki ("Japanese Musical Instruments"). And the logo for his offspring chose a simple one - three crossed tuning forks. He made cool tools, and soon his company became a leader in the local market.
World War II broke out. It would seem, well, what place does the musical instrument factory have in it? Do drums and horns do? No, military officials found her a more useful activity. You gentlemen, wood processing specialists? And we just need wooden propellers for airplanes. Soon, however, it became clear that modern aviation needed metal propellers. I had to buy a fleet of metalworking machines and learn new technologies.
After the war, the company returned to its peaceful activities (more and more, as you know, in wood - the time for electronics has not come yet), and metalworking machines were gathering dust in a half-abandoned building. Such extravagance haunted Genichi Kawakami, then president of Nippon Gakki. What to release? Yes, motorcycles - the demand for this equipment in post-war Japan was huge. And which ones? Also not a question - Kawakami, an avid fisherman, just bought a small German DKW RT125 for his sorties. Great machine!
This is not to say that everything went smoothly right away. It turned out that making motorcycles is not at all like making pianos or even aviation propellers! (It is interesting that at about the same time, our defense specialists were puzzling themselves, mastering the production of scooters). It was a monstrously difficult task to master the secrets of casting cylinders and pistons. But, in the end, at the beginning of 1955 it was possible to build a batch of motorcycles. Inspired by Kawakami, it seemed that he decided to turn all his employees into motorcyclists - he sent them on a motorcycle race. And only after making sure that his brainchild was working, he dared to establish a motorcycle company Yamaha Motor. Her date of birth is July 1, 1955. Happy anniversary!
Nippon Gakki entered a new market for himself in the midst of a motorcycle boom, and by no means to an empty place. In the mid-50s, motorcycles in Japan produced more than a hundred factories! How to survive? The company's specialists decided to rely on three pillars: firstly, the workmanship (which many rivals had … well, without offending anyone, let us express ourselves: at the Asian level). Secondly, an urgent expansion of the model range: after a few months, sales of the 175-cc modification of the YC-1 started (imagine, it was designed to carry a “stroller”!). Third, innovation: inventions followed one after another!