Pearl Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Pearl Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Following World War II, Japan was in a national period of reconstruction. It was during this time a new company was born. On April 2, 1946, Katsumi Yanagisawa founded Pearl in a small backyard workshop in Sumida-Ku Tokyo. Today this leading drum companies headquarters is 50 kilometers away in Chiba, Japan.

Katsumi Yanagisawa founded Pearl.

The first products produced by Pearl were music stands made for the local Japanese market. As his reputation for quality craftmanship grew, Katsumi was urged to begin building drums. By 1953, the company made drum sets, marching and concert drums, timpani, cymbals, and Latin percussion instruments.

Images from Japan Factory 1956

From such humble beginnings, this fledgling company would progress to become a dominant leader in musical instrument manufacturing, holding scores of patents the world over. The gearless tilter, the drum rack, and the interchangeable cam system are just a few of the innovations from Pearl. Drum set series like Masters, Session, and the fully customizable Masterworks Series have all become legendary. Pearl’s hardware staples like the Eliminator and Demon Drive pedals plus its concert and marching series drums have become the standards by which all others are measured. Add a few of the many dynamic electronic innovations like Mimic Pro and eMerge it has been a very busy 75 years.

1961 Chiba Japan Factory

In 1961 Pearl built a 15,000 square foot factory in Chiba, Japan, to handle the increasing demand for its products that exemplified superior Japanese manufacturing. In the beginning, this factory produced drums for over 30 OEM brands to be distributed by others throughout the world. These kits carried various brand names, and many drummers started their careers playing Pearl and never knew it.

1967 President Series Advert

For twenty years, Pearl would continue to build drums for other companies.  In 1966, Pearl introduced the “President Series,” the first professional drum set to carry the Pearl logo. From that point forward, the name Pearl would become synonymous with the finest drums the world had to offer. In celebration of Pearl’s history of quality and craftsmanship, President Series makes a triumphant return in a Limited Edition, 75th Anniversary drum set. “The President Series Phenolic drums feature the tonal articulation and feel of the original with a modern classic retool” states Terry West, President of Pearl Corporation USA.

For generations, Pearl master artisans have developed unique proprietary manufacturing techniques that separate the company from others. With strict Japanese manufacturing preciseness and accuracy, every process has been perfected to produce the finest instruments possible. These exacting standards have also been applied to the production of Pearl’s handcrafted flute lines for over 50 years.

In 1973, Pearl expanded its manufacturing capabilities with a 93,000 square foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility located within the export zone of Taichung, Taiwan. In 1980, this factory would be responsible for introducing the legendary Export Series drum set to the world, and to this day, Export remains the number one selling drum set of all time.

Due to its Japanese advantage, many innovations have followed the Export series, with Pearl developments elevating the art of quality drum making. As these skills are defined by one generation of master artisans, they are refined and passed down to the next, staying true to Katsumi’s mantra to build lasting value and prestige.

Max Iishi new President and Chief Executive Officer

“After 75 years, our commitment remains the same, to build instruments that have lasting value and prestige. Today, our challenge is to continue to work just like a new start-up company and to possess the same spirit and drive that began 75 years ago with Katsumi Yanagisawa,” said Max Iishi, President and CEO, Pearl Musical Instruments.

 Pearl Musical Instruments, (PMI) is a worldwide leading manufacturer of acoustic and electronic drums, concert and marching percussion instruments, hand percussion, and flutes. Pearl maintains company-owned factories in Japan, Taiwan, and China and works with manufacturers in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Netherlands. PMI owns distribution arms in the U.S. and Europe and Pearl products are distributed in over 90 countries worldwide.


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