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Yako Musical Instruments


Established in 1953 by the late Xu Xichou, is the earliest local musical instruments manufacturer in Taiwan with her own brand name of YAKO Hamonica, YAKO organ and YAKO piano. Mr. Xu Xichou was enthusiastic with music culture and education for all his live. We continue his passion with purpose to upgrade the art of instrument manufacturing and music education through innovations and creative designs.


            


Autobiography of Founder Mr. Xu Xichou


I was born into a poor family on Shi Ying, a tiny island of the Penghu an islands of Taiwan, sometime after 1911. As a child I loved music, I was also deft with my hands, so I collected old junk, harmonicas, watches, clocks, and other items. I spent every day of my childhood playing music, creating and fixing things to play with, and simply enjoying myself; I was never ever bored even for a single moment.


I graduated from Chihkan Public School in 1927 and because of my love of music, my gracious Teacher Wu Di generously gifted a small thirty-nine key organ to his favorite pupil fulfilling a long-cherished wish of mine. Face to face, Teacher Wu said:"Since you were little you have loved music so much and you are so good at fixing things, so this broken organ is for you, once you fix it.' Overjoyed, I immediately took the organ home, opened it up, examined every part of the inside structure, and except for two small parts that were more difficult to fix, the rest I could fix, myself; I then dedicated all my time to fixing the organ even forgetting to eat or even sleep, but sure enough within a few days, the organ was as good as new; finally the organ could play beautiful music again, music that I enjoyed listening to and playing, there was nothing better than the music that came from it.


After that experience with organ repair, I had confidence enough to begin to contemplate what I would do later in life and decided that if there was a chance in my future after I grew up, I would do everything in my power to build handmade organs, myself; this way I would be able to save the foreign customs fees of fifty dollars per organ, in order to serve my homeland and contribute to society. With this rationale, I took the old organ I had just fixed to Wa Tong Christian Church, sought out the pastor's wife, Buo Dao Huang, for music lessons to play the organ, starting initially with the notes, scales, and progressing finally to organ music which I enthusiastically and tirelessly practiced for nearly a year. After seeing progress, I started on the one hand to go from school to school and from church to church fixing organs, while also fixing watches and clocks for the common people. On the other hand I also assisted my father teaching at his school, The Tsun Yang Shen School, thus earning enough for my livelihood.


During World War ll, I opened a timepiece shop in Ma Gong for nearly seven years. But due to bombing by American planes my shop was destroyed, however, my life was spared and reluctantly my family evacuated to Ali Mountain on the island of Taiwan for refuge, looking back on all this I can only remember the agony of being displaced and the indescribable suffering.


After the retrocession of Taiwan, one mainland Chinese after another came to Taiwan and Taiwan was full of joy; there was singing everywhere and there was a shortage of harmonicas and organs which were in extreme demand. Coupled with music education starting at all levels of school, I was the first to recommend to the provincial education minister that the opening to tax free organ importing is urgently needed. So in 1950, I began a tax-exempt educational agency import business for organs and church organs.


Subsequently due to the start of a little bit of expansion by the company in the provincial market outcomes, I was invited in February 1952 by the Japanese Music Association to study musical instrument manufacturing practices in Japan.

                                                     

The following year after my studies, I returned home to Taiwan with Japanese musicians from Ching Shan to help in the manufacture of harmonicas; we made history as the ones producing the first homemade harmonica in China, momentous. In 1955 we began making organs that were inexpensive and high-quality, so we received high praise, people loved us. (Note: The author was 39 years old when he interned in Japan to study Japanese Musical Instrument Manufacturing.)


In 1957 I again went to Japan to negotiate with the Kawai Musical Instruments Company; I became their proxy representative in Taiwan for nineteen years. Business thrived, our performance was satisfying, and our goals were attained. (Note: The author went to Japan in 1957 to negotiate and on March 9, 1958 he started importing Kawai pianos.)


Given the rapid growth of Taiwan's economy that I saw then, cultural music standards have hugely grown along with an increased demand for musical instruments; the growth for the demand of instruments will surely ardently surpass the others. If one only considers the piano, the monthly sales volume has reached more than 1,000 and in the future there will be additional surge trends, therefore, the real potential of market sales is limitless. In response to the government's "economic road towards independence and strength" requirement, I consider the manufacturing of pianos to have matured and having reached this maturity period last year, we seized the opportunity with one of Japan's three largest piano manufacturers, Apollo Piano Manufacturers Music Company (Japan Instrument Corporation), to cooperatively produce a technologically high quality "Song of Solomon Piano" to market, contributing to the country and society. (Note: In 1976 the author began production of the Song of Solomon Piano and brought it to market.)


                              

Since I was a teenager I have been engaging in this field, living a life where the production of musical instruments is my career, I have done this every day for five decades; I have never been slack and I have been diligent and sincere, as long as the cultural level of the country favorably increases, whether the profits are great or small is not a concern. I believe exporting guitars in exchange to earn foreign capital to be wealthy enough to consolidate Taiwan's anti-communist base, while domestically marketing pianos will promote ritual music and make us prosperous enough to boost national noble patriotic movements, while exchanging music through culture, have more contact with the feelings of other countries to enhance citizen diplomacy and communication with other nationalities, this will bring about the early realization of the end of communism and the founding of the Republic, this is also what I hope and wish for.


1979 New Year's promise Xichou's book (Note: The author was 64 years old.)