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Former President of Yamaha Dies

May 27, 2002

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TOKYO (AP) _ Genichi Kawakami, a former president of Yamaha Corp., who was nicknamed the ``emperor″ after he built his father’s company into a major manufacturer of musical instruments, electronic goods and motorcycles, has died. He was 90.

Kawakami died Saturday in a hospital in central Japan, his wife Tamiko said Monday.

A graduate of a trade high school, Kawakami joined Nippon Gakki Co., the predecessor of Yamaha Corp., in 1937. He became Yamaha’s president in 1950, succeeding his father.

As head of the Hamamatsu-based company, Kawakami aggressively expanded Yamaha’s operations to become the world’s largest piano maker. He also led the company into new fields, and in 1955 set up Yamaha Motor Co., now a major motorcycle manufacturer.

Kawakami retired from his post in 1976 and became chairman a year later. He was asked to assume the presidency again from 1980-1983 after Hiroshi Kawashima was fired for the company’s poor performance.

Kawakami has been a top adviser to the company since 1992.

He helped start the Yamaha Music School in Japan in 1954. The school, which offers classical music instruction to beginners and virtuosos, now has 7,500 branches in 40 countries.

Kawakami is survived by his wife, a son and daughter.

A family service was planned at Kawakami’s hometown in Hamakita, near Hamamatsu, about 145 miles west of Tokyo.

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