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Shigeru Kawai

The Sound Heard Around The World

“Making Kawai the sound heard around the world was our vision, but making Kawai the sound preferred around the world is our ultimate goal.”   – Shigeru Kawai

Koichi Kawai died suddenly in October of 1955 at the age of 70. Succeeding him at the helm was 33-year-old Shigeru Kawai who would lead his family’s company into the realm of modern manufacturing.  With Japan’s economy improving, Shigeru foresaw rapid growth in the musical instrument industry.  He correctly reasoned that the company could not continue to rely solely upon traditional “hand work” production methods and still meet growing demand.  The future, he believed, would combine hand-craftsmanship with the finest technology. Therefore, Shigeru began construction of two new factories, one a wood processing plant and the other a piano assembly plant using the company’s first modern production line. Kawai’s production capability and manufacturing expertise grew exponentially in the years that followed.

Next, Shigeru began to focus on ways to stimulate market demand for pianos.  Believing that music education was the key to any instrument purchase, he built a network of Kawai Music Schools.  Since these schools would require teachers, he created the Kawai Academy of Music to train qualified music teachers to staff the newly established schools.  At the same time, Shigeru originated the Kawai Piano Technical Center to train qualified service technicians in the art of caring for pianos.

Finally, to take the Kawai message to the people, he initiated a unique door-to-door sales program to encourage music education through piano study.  Working synergistically, these programs flourished.  During the 1960’s, Kawai had nearly 2,000 door-to-door salesmen in the field and over 300,000 people participating in Kawai Music Schools across Japan.

With domestic business now firmly established, Shigeru turned his attention toward making Kawai “the sound heard around the world.”  Ready and able to meet worldwide demand, Shigeru launched Kawai America in 1963… followed by Kawai Europe, Kawai Canada, Kawai Australia and Kawai Asia.  Today, Kawai Musical instruments enjoy recognition in every major market in the world.

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