Kawai is one of the leading Japanese piano manufacturers, with headquarters in Hamamatsu. The firm was established in 1927 as the Kawai Musical Instrument Research Laboratory. Koichi Kawai (1885-1955), the founder, had been an employee of Torakusu YAMAHA (1851-1916) since 1897. He worked with Yamaha in building Yamaha's first piano. In 1929 the Kawai firm was renamed the Kawai Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company. During the early tears Kawai produced UPRIGHT PIANOS, GRAND PIANOS, and reed organs. Kawai was the first Japanese piano manufacturer to design and build piano ACTIONS rather than importing them.