Rancho Dominguez, CA • January, 2012 – Eighty-five years ago in Japan, a young inventor left his prominent position as chief engineer for a piano manufacturer to begin his own quest for perfection. Koichi Kawai created the Kawai Musical Research Laboratory in 1927 with a small team of supportive colleagues in his hometown of Hamamatsu. Known today as the Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Company, the company that bears Koichi’s name has grown into one of the largest and most respected piano builders in the world.
Only three men have led Kawai over its long history. Koichi Kawai was the engineering genius behind the company’s steady progress until his passing in 1955. Shigeru Kawai, then a young man of 33 years, succeeded Koichi at the helm and oversaw the company’s rapid growth and the expansion of its distribution to 88 countries around the world. Shigeru also embraced the use of modern materials and manufacturing techniques, laying the groundwork for Kawai to become an industry leader in these areas for decades to come.
In 1989, the third generation of family leadership began as Koichi’s grandson, Hirotaka Kawai, became president of the Kawai Global Group. During Hirotaka’s tenure, Kawai has experienced great success in both the acoustic and digital piano categories. Evidence of this success is seen in recognition given to company products by many outside entities. Examples include: three consecutive “Acoustic Piano Line of the Year” awards for the RX Series Grand Pianos, four consecutive “Acoustic Piano of the Year” awards for the K-3 Professional Upright Piano, and four “Digital Home Keyboard of the Year” awards presented to various Kawai digital pianos. Since 1999, Kawai instruments have garnered an impressive collection of 20 “top product” awards from music industry media and organizations.
As the company looks forward to its centennial celebration, its founder’s commitment to excellence lives on. Summarizing the philosophy of his grandfather Koichi, company president Hirotaka Kawai states: “At Kawai, the quest for perfection is not just an ideal—but a duty.”
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