Joined Yamaha in 1988. After working on musical instrument and sporting goods designs, as well as in design publicity, Daizo Sato is now manager in charge of communication design, which includes such activities as webpage and promotion design, display and Visual Identity manuals, and design events.
A Budding Designer
I was a boy who was fascinated with mechanical constructions and liked building,
My family managed a store when I was small, so I was left to play by myself a lot. I liked Lego and building blocks, as well as TV, and had a fascination with space; I used to amuse myself by making Thunderbird bases! Of course, I used to make plastic models, and after going through a phase of using cardboard boxes for my construction projects, I often built mechanical contraptions using batteries, motors, and gears. I was just a boy who liked building things. From the time when I was in elementary school I wanted to join NASA, and later I enrolled in a senior high school that specialized in science and mathematics because I wanted to obtain a PHD in engineering. However, I wasn’t able to pass the entrance examination of the engineering university I wanted to attend, and so, in the autumn of my third year at high school, I took stock of my own abilities and my future for the first time in my life. Beginning with my love for making things, and for arts and crafts, I rethought my goals and quickly decided to try to get into a design school. My course at high school didn't offer any tuition in the arts so I changed to another course for tuition. Despite my late start, I somehow managed to enroll in the university I was trying for. After initially studying the general principles of design, we then had to decide on a major. I was a little anti-mainstream at the time, so I avoided product design, which in those days was perceived as being rather glamorous, and chose instead to major in spatial design. Even so, my university days weren’t all about study. I also fell in love with motorcycles, and spent weeks touring all over Japan. I was also making architectural models as a part-time job, all in all doing pretty much as I liked.
Hands-on experience at Yamaha
Despite specializing in spatial design, I wanted to work in product design at Yamaha, a company whose product design was not exactly mainstream. I chose Yamaha simply because the company appeared to offer the chance for me to try my hand at a variety of different things, something that was appealing to me. In those days, Yamaha made furniture and sporting goods as well as musical instruments and AV products. Another factor that contributed to my choice was that Torakusu Yamaha, the founder of Yamaha, had once repaired a reed organ at the elementary school I attended—an incident which prompted him to establish his company—so I had felt an affinity with the company from very early on. Design training at Yamaha involved a week during which students stayed on-site at the company, completing and giving presentations. Since I had spent my university days doing pretty much what I liked, I found this week of training to be quite difficult. I was influenced by the way that the other trainees—all art school students—painted and drew with both vigor and taste, and I learned a great deal from them about how to paint. It was a week of inspiration for me, and one from which I learned a great deal.