Yanagisawa has become known for their high reputation for quality and hand craftsmanship. The family legacy dates back to 1893 with Tokutaro Yanagisawa repairing woodwind instruments in Japan for military band members. In 1921, Yanagisawa established their first factory making trumpets and cornets. During this time, Tokutaro would mentor young instrument makers including Kouichi Muramatsu, who would eventually build his own flute company.
In 1951, Takutaro’s son, Takanobu Yanagisawa followed in his father’s footsteps to build his first prototype saxophone. During the 60’s and 70’s, Yanagisawa developed and built new models of saxophones including the mode B-6 bari saxophone and the S-6 soprano saxophone, the first ever of their type to be built in Japan.
Since 1969, Yanagisawa has become most well known for their innovations in soprano and sopranino saxophones. The first sopranino SN-6 ever built in 1972 now belongs to Sonny Rollins. In 1985, Yanagisawa released the S-880, the first soprano saxophone with a detachable neck. In 1990 this innovation continued with the S-990, the first saxophone to have a high G key.
In 1981, the G. Leblanc Company became the exclusive US distributor of Yanagisawa saxophones.