Tsutomu Katoh, the founder and chairman of Korg passed away on March 15, 2011. Mr. Katoh founded Korg in 1963, and went on to lead the company to become one of the major manufacturers in the field of electronic instruments. Information about Katoh’s early life is scarce, but he was born in Nagoya, Japan, and moved to Tokyo to work for the Odakyu train company in his 20s.
In the 1960s, he owned a nightclub and music store in Tokyo, where he was a strong supporter of live music. In 1962 he joined forces with Tadashi Osani to build a rhythm machine to compete with the Wurlitzer Sideman. In 1963, their new company, Keio Gijyutu Kenkyujo, launched the DA20 DoncaMatic Disk Rotary Electric Auto Rhythm Machine.
Over the next few years, the company produced more rhythm machines, changed its name to Keio Electronic, and also began making an organ under the name “Korg.” (A contraction of Keio and organ.) A lng line of new products followed under the Korg name, including the 700S MicroKorg mono synth, the WT10 tuner (the world’s first electronic tuner), the PS3300 poly synth, the MS10 and MS20 mono synths, and many, many more groundbreaking keyboards and other types of gear, including the current Kronos, Kaoss Pad, MS2000, and many more.
Our condolences to all of our friends at Korg.