Former Shimano President, Yoshizo Shimano, Passes Away Age 85

Jul 9, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  
Shimano factory visit 2018

Yoshizo Shimano, the former president of Shimano, passed away last week at the age of 85. Yozisho was the third son of the brand's founder, Shozaburo Shimano, and started working for the company in 1958 before becoming president in 1995.

Yoshizo is credited with leading the global expansion of Shimano as a company as he first set up its US sales division in 1965 followed by its European sales department in 1972 while an employee of the company. He further globalised the brand in 1998 when he made English its official language and provided classes to employees. By positioning the brand as a global force he was able to capitalise on the mountain bike boom in the United States and position Shimano as one of the major drivetrain players. Overseas sales now account for 90% of Shimano's revenue.

He remained part of the company’s leadership as chairman emeritus since 2011. The company is now headed by Yoshizo’s nephew, Yozo Shimano, who is the company’s fifth president after its founder, Yoshizo and his two brothers.

Press Release: Shimano

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our Chairman Emeritus and former Chairman Yoshizo Shimano. Yoshizo died of chronic heart failure at the age of 85 on July 3, 2020.

The contributions he made to Shimano's business cannot be measured and his impact will be felt forever. On behalf of our management team and employees, we extend our deepest condolences to his family.

The funeral has been held by close relatives, with his surviving wife, Ms. Ikuko Shimano, representing the family.

Our condolences and thoughts are with Yoshizo Shimano's friends and family at this difficult time.

Author Info:
jamessmurthwaite avatar

Member since Nov 14, 2018
1,770 articles

  • 151 1
 I had the pleasure of working for Shimano, and was able to visit Japan a number of times. Yoshi was a driven manager and leader, his brother who took over leadership when he retired had some big shoes to fill. I was lucky enough to be invited to his home one December, while visiting Shimano with John Burke and Joe V. from Trek. We visited, sang Christmas carols and had a great time talking with him. I wish I still had the video footage of us all singing "If you're happy and you know it". Yoshi will be missed!
  • 31 0
 That's a great memory. Thanks for sharing it!
  • 2 0
 Amazing. Thanks for sharing this.
  • 67 0
 He created and maintained the superior empire. The brand has always been such a ingrained part of riding a bicycle that it is hard to imagine the sport without Shimano.
  • 46 1
 Easily one of the greatest and most influential brand in the entire cycling industry
  • 28 4
 They will forever be remembered as the premiere manufacturer of fishing reels throughout the world. Apparently they dabble in bike parts too...
  • 3 13
flag scott-townes (Jul 9, 2020 at 11:57) (Below Threshold)
 @Shred-BC: I dunno man, have you seen how many people have $25 Wald baskets strapped to their wal-mart cruisers?
  • 23 4
 @plyawn: their breakdown is like 80% bicycle equipment, 20% fishing gear, 0% sealed bearings.
  • 15 0
 Major respect to this man. I heard a story that when SPD was under development, Yoshizo would wear the shoes all day long, even attending meetings in his business attire with SPD shoes, in order to prove how comfortable and walkable they are.
  • 6 0
 @twozerosix: LOL....if it ain't broke.....
  • 1 0
 @twozerosix: What about that one time when XTR front hubs had sealed units? haha
  • 3 0
 @twozerosix: Deore rear hub now has sealed bearings. And they will be pumping out HUGE numbers of those for 2021 OEM.
  • 2 0
 I didn’t know that about XTR and wow about the Deore.
  • 5 0
 @twozerosix: That said, I'd still rather have the cup/cone design. Pretty much last until infinity if you re-lube and adjust them every couple of years.
  • 51 0
 The older I get, the more I appreciate Shimano and the company's ethos. Components that were made in the 1980s and 1990s and have tens-of-thousands of kilometres of use still function perfectly today and can easily be serviced. I'm saying this as I'm in the process of building a 1970's road frame with a 1990 Shimano 105 SC groupset that I've thoroughly taken apart and serviced. Not only have the aesthetics stood the test of time, but also the components exude quality. Godspeed Shimano-san.
  • 13 0

XT/XTR gear from the 90s still work like clockwork with a bit of maintenance.

I expect the same will happen to my gear today. I know some retrobike builder will want my old stuff in 20 years time and it will still work as expected.
  • 4 0
 @FurryCrew: could not agree, m95 series is amazing stuff
  • 1 0
 @boostin: I pretty much horde M950/952 now.

It will always be worth something to someone eventually even if I don't end up using it on a bike myself.
  • 20 1
 Japanese people are hands down the friendliest, most polite people I have ever met, and build some killer stuff too.
  • 7 0
 Shimano as an entity reflect that level of respect and honor. you can see it in their employees, marketing, and ultimately the quality of their products.
  • 7 1
 @cuban-b: Quality is off the charts. I work in manufacturing as an engineer and we ship to a few customers in Japan. The amount of time the Japanese spend on incoming inspection is crazy. So meticulous. They will catch any little thing that's out of spec.
  • 11 0
 I always appreciated Shimano’s leadership, customer care and product output, no doubt attributed to the person in charge. i hope the Shimano torch continues to be carried high and burn bright.
  • 14 0
 Shimano forever.
  • 8 0

(kono tabi ha makotoni goshoushousama deshita, kokoro yori okuyami moushi agemasu)

  • 7 0
 I just love riding bikes. Mountainbikes are most fun but just getting on a bike cheers me up, always. I still end up riding most on the cummuter bikes. Nexus dynamo hub, internal geared hub. And unlike Sachs/SRAM geared hubs, these Nexus hubs just work. Always. Shopping, getting the kids around, to work and back. Whether it is a good day or a really bad one, riding bikes always makes it a better one. So often do I find myself cracking a stupid grin when stomping away in the rain.

So I surely appreciate that Shimano produces high end stuff for the athletes and enthusiast. But even more do I love that they produce proper workhorse stuff for the workhorse bikes. Stuff that keeps up even under people who hardly know what a bicycle hub is but still rely on it, every day.

So thank you mr Shimano. For all those amazing days, the excitement, the stupid grins. Rest in peace. Your contribution to riding bikes, to our lives, will live on.
  • 9 0

Shimano, inventors of the greatest ever invention in cycling (imho)

  • 2 0
 Almost good enough to forget about the worst ever, and second worst inventions (Rapid Rise Shifter/Mech and Dual Control Brakes). But yeah, I've always been a Shimano guy.
  • 5 0
 Rest in peace
  • 3 0
 "Dad, why is my sister called Rose? "
"Because your Mum loves roses"
"Thanks Dad"
"No problem, Shimano"
RIP ❤️????????
  • 3 0
 Domo Arigato, Mr. Shimano.
  • 1 0
 Pretty amazing accomplishments,Bikes and fishing gear my two fav. Hobbies .Thanks to all the Mr. Shimano’s ???? if only there was a beer made by Shimano ?
  • 2 0
 Rest in peace. Prayers for his soul.
  • 2 0
  • 2 0
 Shimano is the example. Still waters run deep. Faith in a blue box.
  • 2 0
 Rest in peace
  • 2 0
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