July 24, 2021

Introducing Tadashi Yanai, the richest man in Japan and founder of Uniqlo

Tadashi Yanai is the richest person in Japan. The businessman would have a fortune estimated at 24.8 billion dollars (about 22.1 billion euros), according to Bloomberg. This money comes from his role as chairman and largest shareholder of Fast Retailing, Asia’s largest clothing retailer and parent company of Uniqlo. Tadashi Yanai opened the first Uniqlo store in 1984 and has expanded the brand to over 2,000 stores in at least 20 countries around the world.

Uniqlo’s clothing is “suitable for all types of people: whether they are billionaires, middle class or working class,” Tadashi Yanai told Vault magazine in 2011. “We have to meet everyone’s expectations, everything like Marks & Spencer, Gap or even H&M and Zara. If we don’t cover all segments of life and all types of customers, we will never be successful. “

The Japanese billionaire lives in a $ 50 million (€ 44.6 million) house in a wood outside Tokyo and owns another house in an upscale part of the city. He also owns two golf courses in Hawaii, which he visits for several weeks each summer, according to Bloomberg.

Here’s a glimpse into the life of Japan’s richest person:

Tadashi Yanai is the richest person in Japan and the president of Fast Retailing.

Fast Retailing

The Japanese businessman is the head of Fast Retailing and with his fortune estimated at $ 24.8 billion, he is $ 6 billion (€ 5.4 billion) ahead of Takemitsu Takizaki, the second most successful person. richest in Japan, according to Bloomberg.

Tadashi Yanai’s wealth comes from his role as chairman and largest shareholder of Fast Retailing, the largest clothing retailer in Asia. The 70-year-old billionaire owns 46% of the company’s shares.

Fast Retailing is the parent company of Uniqlo and other brands including Theory, Comptoir des Cotonniers and J Brand.


Fast Retailing has thousands of stores around the world and reported annual sales of $ 16.9 billion (€ 15.1 billion) as of August 2017, according to Bloomberg.

Tadashi Yanai was born in southern Japan in 1949, he is the son of a clothing seller.

The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

Tadashi Yanai’s father owned a men’s clothing store called Men’s Shop Ogori Shoji. The store was downstairs and the family lived upstairs. In the 1970s, the company had several sites.

After graduating from college in 1971, Tadashi Yanai started selling men’s clothing and kitchenware in a Jusco chain supermarket, but he quit after a year and started working for his father. .

Waseda University/Facebook

Tadashi Yanai holds a degree in economics and politics from Waseda University.

Tadashi Yanai said he was not very motivated to work.

Yamaguchi Haruyoshi / Corbis via Getty Images

“I’d rather not work my whole life, that’s what I thought,” he told ABS-CBN. “My father asked me to find a job at Jusco. So unfortunately I found a job.”

He said he joined his father’s business because he had nowhere to go, but ended up finding the job fun.

In 1984, in Hiroshima, Tadashi Yanai founded Unique Clothing Warehouse, which would later become Uniqlo.

Koichi Kamoshida / Liaison

A few years later, he changed the name of his father’s clothing company to “Fast Retailing”.

The company grew rapidly in the years that followed. In 1996, Tadashi Yanai had more than 200 stores in Japan.

Kurita KAKU / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Uniqlo’s $ 15 (€ 12.90) fleece jacket was the brand’s most popular product. One in four Japanese would have bought one in 1998.

The Japanese billionaire, married with two children, lives in a 16,000 m² house in a wood outside of Tokyo.

REUTERS / Yuriko Nakao

The property, which includes a guardhouse, cabinet and tea room, was valued at around $ 50 million (€ 44.6 million) in 2017. Tadashi Yanai bought the land in a sale. auctioned for $ 78 million (70 million euros) in 2001.

Tadashi Yanai also owns a house – estimated at $ 74M (€ 66M) – in the upscale Shibuya district of Tokyo.

Getty Images

According to the Japan Times, Shibuya is an exclusive area of ​​Tokyo where many government officials and CEOs have made their home. Living there is “a status symbol,” Yukiko Takano of the Sotheby’s company told the Japanese newspaper in 2014.

The billionaire is said to be passionate about golf. Every summer, he spends 3 weeks in Hawaii, where he owns 2 golf courses that he bought for a total of $ 74.1M (€ 66.1M).

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Tadashi Yanai bought the Plantation Golf Course in Hawaii from the Maui Land & Ananas company for $ 50 million (€ 44.6 million) in 2009, according to Bloomberg. In 2010, he bought another golf course, Kapalua Bay, for $ 24.1 million (€ 21.5 million).

Between 2013 and 2018, the expansion of Tadashi Yanai’s company caused his net worth to rise from $ 15.5bn (€ 13.8bn) to $ 24bn (€ 21.4bn).


Fast Retailing is now the third largest clothing retailer in the world, after H&M and Inditex, Zara’s parent company, according to MoneyWeek.

Today, Fast Retailing has more than 2,000 Uniqlo stores in at least 20 countries – not counting the group’s other brands.

Fast Retailing

Uniqlo – Fast Retailing’s most successful brand – has more than 2,000 stores worldwide, including 825 in Japan.

Only 50 of them are in the United States, and the vast majority are scattered across Asian countries including Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and the Philippines.

Uniqlo is known for its relatively affordable and timeless basics. ‘Uniqlo is not trying to follow the trend,’ writes Gillian B. White in The Atlantic.

Fast Retailing

“Uniqlo’s essentials – like their black pants, their famous street shoes, their cotton socks – are available month after month, year after year,” wrote Gillian B. White.

Tadashi Yanai himself said Uniqlo’s clothes are “suitable for all types of people,” according to MoneyWeek.

Tadashi Yanai has made it clear that he wants Fast Retailing to be the world’s largest clothing retailer.

Kyodo News via Getty Images

Tadashi Yanai has always referred to H&M and Zara as the main rivals of Fast Retailing. He told Forbes Asia in 2017 that his goal was for the company’s revenue to reach $ 29 billion (€ 25.9 billion) by 2020.

“Information and digital innovation will determine the winner,” said Tadashi Yanai. “And the geographic location.”

In addition to its more than 2,000 stores worldwide, Uniqlo plans to open its first stores in India, Vietnam, Denmark and Italy later in 2019.

Uniqlo was the first brand to use artificial intelligence in its stores to improve the shopping experience for its customers.

A woman shows off her avatar displayed on her smartphone at GU Style Studio in Tokyo in November 2018. Kyodo News via Getty Images

“Some stores have UMood AI-based kiosks that offer customers a variety of products and measure their reaction to color and style through neurotransmitters,” Blake Morgan writes in Forbes. “Based on each person’s reactions, the kiosk then recommends products. Customers don’t even have to press a button; their brain signals are enough for the system to know what they think about each item.”

And last year, Uniqlo launched GU Style Studio stores, specialty stores where customers can try on clothes and place orders online for later delivery, according to the Japan Times.

Tadashi Yanai’s two sons are both board members of Fast Retailing.

Jason Binn / WireImage

“This means that the governance of the company will work even in my absence,” Tadashi Yanai said when announcing their promotion in October 2018. “But that doesn’t mean they are going to take over the management of the company.”

Tadashi Yanai’s sons Kazumi Yanai and Koji Yanai were both senior vice presidents of Fast Retailing before being promoted to the board, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

In 2017, Tadashi Yanai told the Nikkei Asian Review that he would step down as CEO of Fast Retailing at the age of 70, but would still remain chairman.


Tadashi Yanai turned 70 in February 2019 and has so far made no official announcement saying he will step down as president or appoint a replacement.

Version originale : Katie Warren/Business Insider