Musical Instrument Industry
The musical instrument industry in Hamamatsu began when Yamaha Torakusu established Yamaha Fukin, an organ manufacturer. The manufacturer later became Nihon Gakki, and then Yamaha Corporation. Kawai Koichi established Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing. As pianos of Yamaha and Kawai earned popularity in the world, Hamamatsu grew into a major manufacturer of musical instruments, especially pianos.
*It is supposed that a piano first came in Japan during the Edo period, according to a record that states pianos were gifted from the Netherlands and Germany in the era.
In 1914, production of harmonicas, xylophones, and toy organs started. The industry in Hamamatsu rapidly expanded after 1958 with popularization of music education in schools and mechanization in factories. This growth continued until the late Showa 50s (1975-1980) with the successes on the developments of electronic musical instruments. Although the Industry experienced a long-term stagnation as its production volume peaked, the silent piano released in 1993, which marked a big hit, boosted the industry. Furthermore, the computerized music technology, which allow user to create or play music on computer, earned huge attentions. Roland Corporation moved its head office to Hamamatsu in 2005, making the city home of the three biggest music instrument manufacturers in Japan.
Adding to piano, Hamamatsu is also the largest manufacture of wind instruments in Japan. According to the Musical Instrument Manufacturer' Association of Shizuoka, the city produced more than 80% of its total production in 2007. This shows that the companies in the city succeeded to apply skills of piano manufacturing to build other kinds of instruments.
Nevertheless, the production of piano is being shifted to outside the city. Yamaha closed its grand piano factory in Hamamatsu and moved the production means to the factory in Kakegawa. Kawai also shifted its major production point to Iwata. Hamamatsu is now exploring the further development of the industry by holding projects that stimulate musical activities such as international piano contests and trainings of young musician.