R.I.P. Korg Founder Tsutomu Katoh

BY Josiah HughesPublished Mar 16, 2011

Tsutomu Katoh (co-founder of the industry-leading keyboard and instrument manufacturer Korg) died Tuesday (March 15) following a long battle with cancer. Katoh founded the company with Tadashi Osanai in 1963, revolutionizing keyboards with a number of innovations, alongside the company's guitars and amplifiers manufactured under the Vox banner.

Katoh's death was announced in a statement from Korg [via Synthtopia]:

Dear Sirs and Madams,

I would like to inform you that our founder and chairman Mr. Tsutomu Katoh passed away early this morning (March 15, 2011) after a long fight with cancer.

Since he founded Korg Inc. in 1963, Mr. Katoh has led our company with great talent, vision and leadership. He was loved and respected by all the employees, all Korg family members and made a huge contribution to the lives of countless musicians around the world.

Plans for a memorial service will follow very soon.

I would appreciate your prayers for him and hope he can rest peacefully now.


Seiki Kato
Korg Inc.

Via a statement, Korg's U.S. president Joseph Castronovo added, "Chairman Katoh was a true visionary and a personal friend, and he will be missed by everyone at Korg and indeed, the entire music industry. Over the past 20 years, I have witnessed firsthand the ways in which Korg has flourished under his and his family's guidance and leadership. His passion and professional goals were one and the same: to provide innovative tools for musicians to help them grow their craft. And those goals remained the same throughout his life and career. He will be deeply missed."

Among Katoh's long list of accomplishments and innovations are the Prophecy monophonic synthesizer, Triton keyboard workstation, Kaoss Pad, Minikorg 700 monophonic synth and PolySix programmable polyphonic synth.

Katoh's funeral will be held in Japan on March 24.

Latest Coverage