In this listing of the 10 best Japanese businessmen, you will find the definition of “best” as a whole. It's not only limited to those that happen to be the richest Japanese businessmen, but this top ten list also considers those Japanese businessmen who, among their successful business career, had made time for charity and philanthropic projects. That being said, let’s point them out.
- Akio Nitori. This man is the founder of the Japanese furniture store chain Nitori, which has 146 stores all over Japan. It's now planning on expanding to China and South Korea, as well. Nitori also runs a scholarship program to help out Chinese, and other Asian students, at Japanese universities. Just in case this wasn’t enough, he has also made important donations to survivors of major earthquake disasters in the region.
- Tetsuro Funai. He managed to grow up on a self-made fortune by founding Funai Electric. His company is Wal-Mart's largest supplier of TVs, DVD players and several others audiovisual equipment. This is why it is in the U.S. where he generates two-thirds of his company's sales. Funai has no plans to retire anytime soon, and he takes active part in the Nippon Foundation, the largest charity in Japan.
- Yohei Sasakawa. Yohei Sasakawa is the chairman of the Nippon Foundation, so he basically runs the largest charity foundation in the country. He has used this position to initiate several humanitarian programs for social development, not only in Japan, but around the world.
- Soichiro Fukutake. He is the owner of the publishing firm Benesse Corp., which was founded by his father. This company is known for training children to pass entrance exams at prestigious schools and universities. Around four million Japanese children, between three and eighteen years old, enroll every year. Besides his work running the family business, he happens to be an art lover. Thus, he runs a contemporary art museum on a southern island facing the Sea of Japan inland.
- Tadashi Yanai. He is the founder and president of Fast Retailing, a discount clothing chain that has stores in New York, Paris and Shanghai. His store is one of the leaders worldwide when it comes to retailing. He manages to keep low prices by outsourcing production to China, Vietnam and Bangladesh, among other countries with cheap labor costs. He is actually one of the richest businessmen in Japan and worldwide.
- Nobutada Saji. This man runs Suntory, Ltd, a drinks firm that was first established by his grandfather, and happens to be the fourth-largest brewer and food manufacturer in Japan. They have big plans to expand overseas.
- Akira Mori. Mr. Mori is the top real state businessperson in Japan. He controls Mori Trust, which manages apartments, high class hotels and office buildings all over the country. He actually inherited a small fortune and made it grow, becoming one of the most powerful men in real estate in the country.
- Masayoshi Son. He's the top businessman when it comes down to online communication and telecom. He runs the telecom firm Softbank, and owns half of Yahoo! Japan.
- Kunio Busujima. Founder of Sankyo, he's one of the three major pachinko machine makers in Japan. By 2008, he resigned his chairman position, but continues to be a senior adviser for his son, the new CEO.
- Hiroshi Mikitani. Hiroshi Mikitani runs Rakuten, Japan’s most popular online mall. He has also expanded abroad in countries like Taiwan and Thailand. The upcoming and ambitious plan is to expand to even 30 different nations.
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