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YAMAHA inverter

YAMAHA inverter

"I want to carry out trial manufacture of motorcycle engines." It was from these words spoken by Genichi Kawakami (Yamaha Motor's first president) in 1953, that today's Yamaha Motor Company was born.

"If you're going to do something, be the best." Genichi Kawakami Genichi Kawakami was the first son of Kaichi Kawakami, the third-generation president of Nippon Gakki (musical instruments and electronics; presently Yamaha Corporation). Genichi studied and graduated from Takachiho Higher Commercial School in March of 1934. In July of 1937, he was the second Kawakami to join the Nippon Gakki Company.--- He quickly rose to positions of manager of the company's Tenryu Factory Company (musical instruments) and then Senior General Manager, before assuming the position of fourth-generation President in 1950 at the young age of 38.--- In 1953, Genichi was looking for a way to make use of idle machining equipment that had previously been used to make aircraft propellers. Looking back on the founding of Yamaha Motor Company, Genichi had this to say. "While the company was performing well and had some financial leeway, I felt the need to look for our next area of business. So, I did some research." He explored producing many products, including sewing machines, auto parts, scooters, three-wheeled utility vehicles, and…motorcycles. Market and competitive factors led him to focus on the motorcycle market. Genichi actually visited the United States many times during this period. When asked about this decision, he said, "I had my research division chief and other managers visit leading motorcycle factories around the country. They came back and told me there was still plenty of opportunity, even if we were entering the market late. I didn't want to be completely unprepared in this unfamiliar business so we toured to German factories before setting out to build our first 125cc bike. I joined in this tour around Europe during which my chief engineers learned how to build motorbikes. We did as much research as possible to insure that we could build a bike as good as any out there. Once we had that confidence, we started going." The first Yamaha motorcycle... the YA-1.--- "If you are going to make it, make it the very best there is." With these words as their motto, the development team poured all their energies into building the first prototype, and ten months later in August of 1954 the first model was complete. It was the Yamaha YA-1. The bike was powered by an air-cooled, 2-stroke, single cylinder 125cc engine. Once finished, it was put through an unprecedented 10,000 km endurance test to ensure that its quality was top-class. This was destined to be the first crystallization of what has now become a long tradition of Yamaha creativity and an inexhaustible spirit of challenge.

Then, in January of 1955 the Hamakita Factory of Nippon Gakki was built and production began on the YA-1. With confidence in the new direction that Genichi was taking, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. was founded on July 1, 1955. Staffed by 274 enthusiastic employees, the new motorcycle manufacturer built about 200 units per month.

That same year, Yamaha entered its new YA-1 in the two biggest race events in Japan. They were the 3rd Mt. Fuji Ascent Race and the 1st Asama Highlands Race. In these debut races Yamaha won the 125cc class. And, the following year the YA-1 won again in both the Light and Ultra-light classes of the Asama Highlands Race.--- By 1956, a second model was ready for production. This was the YC1, a 175cc single cylinder two-stroke. In 1957 Yamaha began production of its first 250cc, two-stroke twin, the YD1.--- The first Yamaha to compete in America (1957).

Based on Genichi's firm belief that a product isn't a product until it can hold it's own around the world, in 1958 Yamaha became the first Japanese maker to venture into the international race arena. The result was an impressive 6th place in the Catalina Grand Prix race in the USA. News of this achievement won immediate recognition for the high level of Yamaha technology not only in Japan but among American race fans, as well. This was only the start, however.

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