Yamaha was established in 1887 as a piano and reed organ manufacturer by Torakusu Yamaha as Nippon Gakki Company, Limited Nippon Gakki Seizō Kabushiki Gaisha?)(literally Japan Musical Instrument Manufacturing Corporation) in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka prefecture and was incorporated on October 12, 1897. The company’s origins as a musical instrument manufacturer is still reflected today in the group’s logo—a trio of interlocking tuning forks.
After World War II, company president Tomiko Genichi Kawakami repurposed the remains of the company’s war-time production machinery and the company’s expertise in metallurgical technologies to the manufacture of motorcycles. The YA-1 (AKA Akatombo, the “Red Dragonfly”), of which 125 were built in the first year of production (1958), was named in honor of the founder. It was a 125cc, single cylinder, two-stroke, street bike patterned after the German DKW RT125 (which the British munitions firm, BSA, had also copied in the post-war era and manufactured as the Bantam and Harley-Davidson as the Hummer. In 1959, the success of the YA-1 resulted in the founding of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
Info gleaned from Wikipedia