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Founder of Daiso, Dies at 80: A Life Dedicated to the 100 Yen Bargain

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ByThe Counter Journal
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Hirotake Yano, the visionary founder of the popular Japanese retail chain Daiso, passed away on February 12, 2024, at the age of 80. While details of a private funeral remain with close family, Daiso announced plans for a commemorative gathering in his honor.

Yano’s entrepreneurial journey began humbly. After navigating unsuccessful ventures in his father-in-law’s fish business and encyclopedia sales, he embarked on his own path in 1972, selling goods from a street stall. This marked the initial steps towards a retail empire.

Five years later, Yano Shoten was born, later evolving into Daiso in 1977. This pivotal moment saw the introduction of the company’s signature single-price model: 100 yen (around $0.67 today). Yano himself attributed this to realizing the impracticality of individually tagging countless products.

Daiso’s success transcended borders. Starting with Taiwan in 2001, the chain steadily expanded across Asia and beyond, with 990 stores currently operating outside Japan. This global reach is a testament to Yano’s vision and dedication.

Driven by a spirit of perseverance, Yano embraced failures as stepping stones. “I have failed many times,” he stated in 2001, “But I kept going because I thought there was nothing else I could do.” This unwavering determination fueled his journey.

For Yano, it wasn’t just about affordability; it was about experience. He believed in the intrinsic value and enjoyment customers found in the 100 yen price point, emphasizing the “mental satisfaction” derived from the shopping experience.

Singapore joined the Daiso family in 2002, boasting over 30 outlets today. This local success exemplifies the brand’s global appeal and enduring legacy.

Yano’s legacy extends beyond financial figures. His net worth, estimated at US$1.9 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, pales in comparison to the impact he made on countless lives through accessible and enjoyable shopping experiences.

Hirotake Yano’s life reminds us that success often starts small, fueled by resilience, innovation, and a focus on customer value. His pioneering spirit will continue to inspire generations of entrepreneurs and delight shoppers worldwide.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hirotake Yano, founder of the popular Japanese retail chain Daiso, passed away at the age of 80.
  • Started small, achieved big: Began with a street stall in 1972, grew into a global chain with over 5,350 stores.
  • Signature 100 yen model: Revolutionized retail with his single-price concept, offering value and fun to customers.
  • Global impact: Daiso stores operate in Asia, North America, and the Middle East, with over 990 outside Japan.
  • More than just affordability: Yano emphasized the enjoyable shopping experience customers get from the 100 yen price point.
  • Legacy beyond finance: Net worth estimated at US$1.9 billion, but true impact lies in the countless lives touched by Daiso.

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