Genichi Kawakami, former president of Yamaha Corp., died of old age at a hospital in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, on Saturday afternoon, according to his family. He was 90.

Kawakami joined the firm in 1937 and replaced his late father as Yamaha’s president in 1950. He is credited for expanding the firm’s operations to make it the world’s largest manufacturer of musical instruments.

He also pursued diversification of the group’s business, including the creation of motorcycle maker Yamaha Motor Co.

Sometimes called the “emperor” of Yamaha, he effectively remained at the helm of the group for more than 40 years. He quit as adviser in 1992, citing his age.

After once retiring as president, he came back to the post in 1980. He also continued to exert powerful influence over the group’s management for more than a decade as chairman or adviser.

After a funeral for family members, a memorial service will be held on May 29 at his home in Hamakita, Shizuoka Prefecture.

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