Tadashi Yanai

The native form of this personal name is Yanai Tadashi. This article uses Western name order when mentioning individuals.

Tadashi Yanai
Born7 February 1949 (age 73)
Ube, YamaguchiAllied-occupied Japan
Alma materWaseda University
Years active1972–present
Known forFounder of Fast Retailing, parent company of Uniqlo
TitleChairman and president, Fast Retailing
Spouse(s)Teruyo Nagaoka

Tadashi Yanai (柳井 正, Yanai Tadashi, born 7 February 1949) is a Japanese billionaire businessman, the founder and president of Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo (“unique clothing”). As of October 2021, he was the richest person in Japan, with an estimated net worth of US$33.4 billion & 40th wealthiest person in the World according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.[1]


Early life and education[edit source]

Yanai was born in Ube, Yamaguchi in February 1949.[2] He attended Ube High School and later Waseda University, graduating in 1971 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science.[3] His uncle was an activist for the minority group known as Burakumin, who have continued to suffer caste-based discrimination in employment and marriage in modern Japan.[4]

Career[edit source]

In 1971, Yanai started in business by selling kitchenware and men’s clothing at a JUSCO supermarket.[5] After a year at JUSCO, he quit and joined his father’s roadside tailor shop.[5] Yanai opened his first Uniqlo store in Hiroshima in 1984,[3] and changed the name of his father’s company Ogori Shoji to Fast Retailing in 1991.[5] 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.”[6]

In 2019 Yanai stepped down from the board of Softbank after 18 years as an independent director at the Japanese technology conglomerate.[7]

Published works[edit source]

  • One Win, Nine Losses (1991)[8]
  • Throw Away Your Success in a Day (2009)

Awards and honours[edit source]

  • 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.[9]
  • In 2012 he was included in the 50 Most Influential list of Bloomberg Markets Magazine.

Philanthropy[edit source]

In March 2011, Yanai donated 1 billion yen to victims of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.[10]

Personal life[edit source]

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.[11] He lives in a $50 million, 16,586-square-foot house outside of Tokyo and owns two golf courses in Hawaii.[12]

See also[edit source]

References[edit source]

  1. Jump up to:a b “Bloomberg Billionaires Index: Tadashi Yanai”Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  2. ^ 代表取締役会長兼社長 柳井 正 [Managing Director & President Tadashi Yanai]. Nippon Shacho (in Japanese). Japan: Ishin. 2003. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  3. Jump up to:a b “Fast Retailing Lives Up to Name With Global Gains”Forbes. 2009-06-22. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
  4. ^ 『週刊現代』2014年8月30日号、藤岡雅「ユニクロ・柳井が封印した『一族』の物語」
  5. Jump up to:a b c “Uniqlo Billionaire’s Drive for Global Crown Fuels J.Crew Talks”Bloomberg. 2 March 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  6. ^ Monocle magazine, April 2009
  7. ^ Simon Duke Uniqlo founder Tadashi Yanai quits Softbank boardThe Times, 28 December 2019
  8. ^ Finnigan, Kate (2016-03-12). “The plain truth: Uniqlo boss Tadashi Yanai explains his plans for world domination”The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
  9. ^ Kensuke Kojima (2011). Uniqlo Syndrome. Toyo Keizai Shinpo Sha. ISBN 4-492-76191-8 Tenkai Japan. ASIN: B004PYDPOK.
  10. ^ “Uniqlo operator to donate 1.4 billion yen to quake victims”Mainichi Shinbun. 2011-03-15. Archived from the original on 2011-03-18. Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  11. ^ “Forbes profile: Tadashi Yanai & family”Forbes. Retrieved 18 Feb 2021.
  12. ^ Warren, Katie. “Meet Tadashi Yanai, the richest person in Japan and the founder of Uniqlo, who’s worth nearly $25 billion and owns 2 golf courses in Hawaii”Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-10-07.

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