Is the Yamaha U1 made in Japan?

I’ve been stocking Yamaha U1 pianos for about 7 years now and I am often asked whether they are made in Japan, Indonesia, China… or Milton Keynes! So I thought I’d make this little page to help other people find the answer to this common question.

I’ve given a slightly waffly, long-winded answer below so I thought I’d give a quick summary to start with just in case you are in a hurry. Here you go:

Summary: The Yamaha U1 has been made in Japan for decades but more recently Yamaha have started to use local factories all over the world for their U1 production. Up until a couple of years ago, your brand new Yamaha U1 would have been made by Kemble for Yamaha in the Kemble factory in Milton Keynes. But Kemble have now closed that factory and moved their production out to Indonesia (oh dear!) so I’m not exactly sure where the new UK ones are made any more. I suspect/hope it is Japan but I need to do more research. What I am certain of is that all of my own reconditioned Yamaha U1 pianos which I have in stock are 100% genuine Japanese made pianos.

There you go. That’s your quick summary. I’ll now waffle on a little bit about issues relating to this question in general.

The manufacture location of a piano is much more important than the name written above the keys. For instance, the names Gors & Kallman or Weber might suggest that those pianos were made in Germany. However, the truth is that a Chinese manufacturer bought up the name and started making pianos bearing that brand. This is typical of the piano industry at the moment. They will use a German brand, they will ask a German man to put his name to the design, throw in a few German action parts for good measure et voila you have a “German Piano”, yeah right! What they don’t tell you is that the entire piano is made with budget parts, in a budget factory , cutting every corner possible and paying horrendously low wages so that the pianos can be sold to distributors brand new for about £600. Yep, that’s right, they come off the production line and are sold to distributors for about £600. If you’ve ever wondered why antique pianos have lost all of their value these days, there is your reason: dealers can buy brand new “German pianos” for £600. Ouch!

I’ve gone a bit off topic there so just to confirm, YES all of my Yamaha U1 pianos in stock were made in Japan but many of the more recent brand new U1s being sold in the UK (and all over the world) were not made in Japan.

This information is true to the best of my knowledge. If you have any extra info that can help me improve this page then please email me at markgoodwinpianos@gmail.com so that I can include your information.

Many thanks for your interest
Kind Regards,
Mark