Born in Osaka in 1930, KAKEHASHI Ikutaro taught himself to repair wristwatches and in 1947, at age 16, opened the Kakehashi Watch Shop, followed by Kakehashi Radio, an electrical appliance shop, in 1954. In 1960, when he was 28, he committed himself to what had been a hobby, the manufacture of electronic instruments, and founded Ace Electronic Industries. He left the company in 1972 and founded Roland Corporation that same year. He co-developed the MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) global standard for electronic music, which was announced in 1983. His immense contributions over many years to the development and spread of electronic instruments led to his receipt of an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in 1991 and an invitation to leave his handprints on Hollywood’s RockWalk in 2000. In 2013 he founded a new musical instrument and video equipment maker, ATV Corporation, and in the same year received his first individual award, a Technical Grammy. In 2015 he announced ATV’s first product, the aD5 electronic drums, followed by the “electrorganic” percussion aFrame, and continued to offer innovative new instruments to the world until his death on April 1, 2017.
Whatever we build is determined by the functions of our tools and constrained by their limitations. In the realm of music, people have drawn creative inspiration from their instruments since the drums of ancient times. KAKEHASHI Ikutaro was engaged in the production of electronic instruments from their very inception, providing our era with the latest tools and means of sound-making, and creating new opportunities for people everywhere who want to make music. He was also a leader in developing the MIDI standard used worldwide for connecting electronic instruments. Today’s open music-making environment was built upon the foundation he created, a significant achievement indeed. (HIGASHIIZUMI Ichiro)