Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.


“The things you consider luxuries and the things you find enjoyable should
not be kept only for yourself, but shared with others. This goes for design
as well. If you want to monopolize all the things you find beautiful, you are
no designer. I’d say it’s only once such things are shared among others that
it can be called ‘design.’”

Genichi Kawakami

*From the memoirs of Kenji Ekuan (Chairman of GK Design
Group at the time) for the 2002 Genichi Kawakami memorial exhibition.

YA-1 YA-1

An Era of Trial and Error in the
Pursuit of Originality

The opening of Tokyo Tower, the beginning of Shinkansen bullet train operations, the first Olympic Games to be held in Japan—the era of the country’s period of rapid economic growth drew ever closer, and the Japanese government’s economic white papers now read “We are no longer in a ‘post-war period.’” In the United States, the looks of futuristic concept cars were reflected in their production models, while in Germany, a logical approach to engineering and design gave birth to numerous sports cars. In Japan, the world of design was based around the shared themes of “compact,” “simple” and “modern.” In addition to studying the aspects of German functionalism and American commercialism in product design, Japan pursued design expressions that communicated both function and feeling.



An Energy-Filled
Era of Expressionism

The Izanagi economic boom boosted mass-production in Japan. A TV, washing machine and refrigerator were considered the must-have “three sacred treasures” for a home before, but the “new three sacred treasures” now had cars on the list, and consumers began to take design into account as a standard when making a purchase. However, after peaking with the Japan World Exhibition held in Osaka under the theme of “Progress and Harmony for Mankind,” the Japanese economy’s period of rapid growth reached its climax. Now faced with a trying time of slow growth, Japanese industrial designers were forced to devise innovations and creative methods to achieve products with reliability, compactness, light weight and an attractive exterior.



A Global Era Taking on a
More Cultural Perspective

As the era of computerization progressed, Japan’s technologically advanced and highly precise engineering and manufacturing (Monozukuri) won much praise, and the country’s export industry flourished with cameras, cars and more being sent overseas. Domestically, a boom in supercar popularity and the like brought much attention to Italian car designers and renowned Italian car design house Carrozzeria, and many designers from overseas were called on to help create Japanese products. Japan had turned its antenna to the diverse cultures throughout the world and gave birth to numerous pioneering designs in all-new fields.



An Era of Branding Based on

After the burst of the bubble economy, almost all Japanese companies began clearly establishing their corporate identity and focusing efforts on branding. The break up and privatization of Japan National Railways and other restructuring of the country’s industrial economy progressed and unusual designs seeking to emphasize differentiation from others became very common. It was at that time that design concepts full of originality and not influenced by the latest trends became desirable in the world’s developed markets.



The IT Revolution Leads to an
Era of Paradigm Shifts

The growth of information technology and the spread of the internet gave consumers far greater information-gathering capabilities on a global scale. This led to customers having a more discerning eye as well as a more diverse range of preferences. The advent of personal computers during this time changed the way housing interiors were thought about and caused a paradigm shift worldwide. With its motorcycles, Yamaha searched for concepts not bound by preconceived ideas and aimed to reconstruct its design identity.



An Era Where Products Have
Stories to Tell

Design trends were no longer simply put into different categories based on preferences for certain shapes or forms, and even gained a new role to give users an all-new experience by communicating a story or message based on their tastes. Also, the inclusion of various digital tools in design work made high-precision shapes and forms possible, and concurrent model development programs meant designs in line with them were now required.


2015 Or later

An Era of Pursuing Authenticity
Delighting the Mind and Body

“Design” as a word has come to be used in a broader sense. Even the very awards aimed at bestowing recognition for superior design have moved from simply evaluating “the fusion of form and function” to considering entirely abstract proposals for social structures as falling under the realm of “design.” In other words, what constitutes a design is quickly expanding in scope, precisely because we live in a time when what the future holds is difficult to see. And so the times call for a re-examining of what stirs people at the core, and creating value that is not only timeless, but truly delights both the mind and body.


Show & Concept Models
Communicating Original Ideas and
Design Studies to the World

Our Original Ideas and Design Studies propose things that still do not exist. By embedding messages within boundless and dynamic concepts and shapes, Yamaha has sought and given birth to new value.