History of Kawai Piano

The second largest piano maker in the world, Kawai Musical Instrument Research Laboratory was founded by Kiochi Kawai in 1927. Kiochi Kawai, began his career as an engineer and designer of Yamaha pianos. When Yamaha went public Kawai left Yamaha to start his own company. For more than 80 years, Kawai and Yamaha have remained the top Japanese piano exporters.

Kawai introduced its very first grand piano in 1928. In 1929, the company changed its name to Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Company. In the 1930s, it expanded its business and began manufacturing reed organs and harmonicas. By 1935, Kawai was manufacturing 75 upright pianos and 10 grand pianos each month.

The Second World War steered Kawai toward the manufacture of military supplies, and in the 1940s, Kawai began making furniture and accordions for the forces. Its music program was established in 1956, and Kawai opened a piano technician school in 1961.

Electric organs were added to Kawai’s sales offerings in 1960. Shortly after, the company began a piano loan system. In 1963, the same year that Kawai officially started the Kawai Music Foundation, the company expanded overseas, opening Kawai America Corporation in Los Angeles, California.

In the 1970s, Kawai discontinued the manufacture of furniture to focus on musical instruments, a move which allowed them to produce more than 5,000 pianos a month. The company further expanded to different geographical locations, including West Germany, Canada, Australia, and Tokyo. By 1978, Kawai had manufactured one million pianos.

The year 1981 introduced Kawai’s Concert Grand Piano, “EX,” which became the official piano for the 11th Chopin Competition in Warsaw.

Today, Kawai also manufactures digital pianos, synthesizers, and drums and has an assembly plant in Lincolnton, U.S. and showrooms in Dallas and Houston, Texas. While the company has many subsidiaries, it remains most famous for its innovation and the design and manufacture of highly-popular upright and grand pianos across the world.


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