Kazuo Kashio, co-founder of G-Shock watchmaker Casio, dead at 89

Kazuo Kashio helped popularise G-Shock, which has grown into an internationally recognised brand since its 1983 debut

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 June, 2018, 5:25pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 June, 2018, 7:00pm

Kazuo Kashio, one of four brothers who founded Casio Computer Co, the Japanese firm behind pocket calculators and later G-Shock watches, has died aged 89.

Kashio, who was chairman and served previously as president, died at a Tokyo hospital on Monday from aspiration pneumonia, which is set off by breathing in food or liquids, the company announced on Tuesday.

Kashio is credited with making the calculator an everyday product through Casio Mini.

He also helped popularise G-Shock, which has grown into an internationally recognised brand since its 1983 debut.

Kazuo Kashio succeeded his older brother Tadao, who served as Casio’s second president. The first president was the brothers’ father.

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G-Shock still commands a following 35 years later, despite the advent of smartphones and other devices that tell time and are making watches less of a must-have item. It is still favoured by people who praise its durability and accuracy.

Kazuo Kashio’s favourite motto was that a company must keep reinventing itself to survive, pursuing “continual change”.

“By breaking free from preconceptions and conventional notions, we have conceived products that are truly needed and used our digital technologies to make them a reality,” he said in one of his messages as chairman. “Products based on new ideas create new markets.”

Kashio had a reputation for being passionate but also tough, said company spokesman Kazuhiko Ichinose.

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“He always set high goals and went after them,” Ichinose said.

Kashio also worked on popularising the digital camera QV-10, which went on sale in 1995. It introduced a screen on the back for previewing photographic images, now a standard feature in digital cameras.

A machine shop set up in 1946 by Tadao Kashio later evolved into Casio. But Casio had big ambitions, eying foreign markets from its early years. It started to export calculators in 1966, and overseas reception was positive.

Kazuo Kashio is survived by his wife Soko and two daughters and a son, Casio President Kazuhiro Kashio.

The Tokyo-based company said it is still making funeral arrangements and will release details when they are ready.