INTRODUCTION: We all knew there had to be a reason....... IN THE BEGINNING: Yamaha is the world's second largest producer of motorcycles, but before making any motorcycles, Yamaha had become the world's largest piano maker, which explains their trademark "tuning forks" logo. So here's their story, which is also the story of your bike, and how it came about to be. MR. YAMAHA HIMSELF: Yamaha founder Torakusu Yamaha was raised in what is now the Wakayama Prefecture and received an unusual education from his samurai father, a surveyor with broad interests in astronomy and mechanics and a remarkable library. The Meiji Restoration, a government-subsidized effort to hasten the technological growth and development of Japanese society and industry during the late 19th century, put educated people such as Yamaha in a position to capitalize on the new growth. At age 20 Yamaha studied watch repair in Nagasaki under a British engineer. He formed his own watchmaking company, but he was unable to stay in business because of a lack of money. He then took a job repairing medical equipment in Osaka after completing an apprenticeship at Japan's first school of Western medicine in Nagasaki. As part of his job, Yamaha repaired surgical equipment in Hamamatsu, a small Pacific coastal fishing town. Because of their area's isolation, a township school there asked him in 1887 to repair their prized U.S.-made Mason & Hamlin reed organ. Seeing the instrument's commercial potential in Japan, Yamaha produced his own functional version of the organ within a year and then set up a new business in Hamamatsu to manufacture organs for Japanese primary schools. In 1889 he established the Yamaha Organ Manufacturing Company, Japan's first maker of Western musical instruments. At the same time, the government granted Hamamatsu township status, which provided it with rail service and made it a regional commerce center. Yamaha Organ used modern mass-production methods, and by 1889 it employed 100 people and produced 250 organs annually. During the 1890's the more inexpensive upright piano surpassed the reed organ in popularity in U.S. homes. Yamaha saw the potential of this market. In 1897 he renamed his company Nippon Gakki Co., Ltd., which literally means "Japan musical instruments". So the company that we today know as "Yamaha" began life in the music business, first producing organs in 1889. Within ten short years, it had become highly successful in this field and was renamed Nippon Gakki Limited and manufactured a wide range of reed organs and pianos. Although building string instruments may seem, at first thought, to be mostly a skill of woodmakers and the like, in a large, integrated manufacturer such as this company became, there are also the machines that form the wood, saw the wood, make the brackets, as well as all of the extensive research into the strong, lightweight metal alloys needed for acoustic pianos.......and all of these metal working, engineering, and other such manufacturing skills were eventually applied directly to the creation of metal motorcycle parts.........but that's a story we're not quite ready to tell.