“We’ve all heard the jingle, now let’s meet, the Don behind the Japanese Discount Store loved in Singapore.”
(Image Source: Forbes)
Takao Yasuda -安田 隆夫 (Born 7th May 1949- ) is a Japanese Entrepreneur and Businessman. Founder of Don Quijote (Don Don Donki), the Japanese chain of discount stores for general goods. He is a graduate of Keio University’s Faculty of Law.
Born in Ōgaki city, from the south-western area of Gifu prefecture, Japan. After graduating from Keio University in 1973, he found work at a real estate firm. Unfortunately for Yasuda, he found himself out of employment when the company went under due to insolvency. Picking himself up in 1978, Yasuda started up a small store for discounted general goods in the Suginami district of Tokyo naming it Dorobou Ichiba (泥棒市場), or “Thieves’ Market” in English, with the store having round-the-clock operating hours, Yasuda soon gained moderate success in his business endeavours.
((Image Source: https://ppi-hd.co.jp/social/)
In 1980, Yasuda founded Just Co., Ltd (with a name change in 1995, becoming Don Quijote Co., Ltd; expanding to become Don Quijote Holdings in 2013; and as of February 2019, the company is renamed as Pan Pacific International Holdings). Again founding wholesaler Leader Co. Ltd in 1982. It is in year 1989, which Yasuda and Just Co., Ltd opened their very first Don Quijote store in Fuchū City, Tokyo, establishing it as the now well known, Don Quijote Store Number 1.
After over more than a decade of growing business, including being listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1998; it is in 2004 when tragedy struck the now popular chain of discounted stores, when 4 Don Quijotes outlets were subjected to arson attacks, causing three store employees to sadly lose their lives in the first out of the 4 incidences. Taking responsibility over the loss of his employees’ lives, Yasuda stepped down from his position as CEO and Chairman of Don Quijote Co. It is only 8 years after the incidence when his succeeding CEO Junji Narusawa had to step down due to health issues in 2013, which Yasuda once again took on his role as Don Quijote Co.’s CEO, until the next year in 2014 when the next CEO has been decided for Kouji Ōhara to succeed the role. Since July 2015 after handing over to his second successor, Takao Yasuda has remained as advisor to Don Quijote Holdings (current: Pan Pacific International Holdings).
An aficionado of martial arts, Yasuda is also a known sponsor for the development of various martial arts organizations like Pride Fighting Championship, Women’s Wrestling, as well as being the sponsor of former professional boxer Daisuke Naito. Yasuda had also been the Vice-chairman of the now-defunct Japanese Mixed Martial Arts organization, World Victory Road, which promoted the Sengoku Raiden Championships in Japan.
Let’s Go Donki, the winning horse of year 2015’s Japanese Grade 1 flat horse race Oka Sho, was actually given it’s namesake from Don Quijote Co. by it’s owner, ASK Holding’s founder Toshihiro Hirosaki as a form of friendliness with Takao Yasuda.