Tadashi Yanai, born on 7 February 1949, is a Japanese billionaire businessman, the founder and president of Fast Retailing, of which Uniqlo (“unique clothing”) is a subsidiary. In June 2019, he was ranked as the 31st richest person in the world by Forbes, and the richest man in Japan, with an estimated net worth of US$24.9 billion.
Yanai was born in Ube, Yamaguchi in February 1949. He attended Ube High School and later Waseda University, graduating in 1971 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science. His uncle was an activist for elimination of the settlement of discriminated lower-class people, called Burakumin (minority group of Japanese society).
In 1971, Yanai started in business by selling kitchenware and men’s clothing at a JUSCO supermarket. After a year at JUSCO, he quit and joined his father’s roadside tailor shop. Yanai opened his first Uniqlo store in Hiroshima in 1984, and changed the name of his father’s company Ogori Shoji to Fast Retailing in 1991. He has stated: “I might look successful but I’ve made many mistakes. People take their failures too seriously. You have to be positive and believe you will find success next time.”
Tadashi Yanai is stepping down from the board of Softbank after 18 years as an independent director at the Japanese technology conglomerate.
I might look successful but I’ve made many mistakes. People take their failures too seriously. You have to be positive and believe you will find success next time.
Tadashi Yanai has two published works, namely:
- One Win, Nine Losses (1991)
- Throw Away Your Success in a Day (2009).
Yanai won the International Retailer of Year award for 2010 from the National Retail Federation in the US. He was the fourth Japanese national to win it, and the first since 1998, when it was won by Masatoshi Ito, owner and honorary chairman of the Ito-Yokado retailing group. He was also chosen as best company president in a survey of Japanese corporate executives by Sanno Institute of Management in 2008 and 2009.
He is the son of Kanichi Yanai and Hisako Mori Yanai. Yanai is married and has two sons, Kazumi and Koji, and lives in Tokyo. He lives in a $50 million,16,586-square-foot house outside of Tokyo and owns two golf courses in Hawaii.
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