Daiso Founder, Hirotake Yano, Dies at 80 Due to Heart Failure


Advertisements
 

Daiso, our favourite $2 shop-

Wait, it’s not $2 anymore.

Since 1 May 2022, Daiso has been following a tiered price system as shown below:

Image: Instagram (@daiso_singapore)

After the GST hikes in 2023 and 2024, the lowest price of an item from Daiso was raised to $2.16 and $2.18 respectively.

The tiered system has allowed Daiso to bring in even more items from pots and bags to even showerheads, allowing many to buy plenty of essentials from one place.

Although the tiered system caused us to grieve the loss of $2 items, there is another loss that Daiso fans are grieving right now.

Death of Daiso’s Founder, Hirotake Yano

On 19 February 2024, Daiso announced that its founder, Hirotake Yano, had passed away a week ago on 12 February due to heart failure. Yano passed away at the age of 80 in Hiroshima, Japan.

This announcement came a week after his passing as his wake and funeral were private, held only for his family.

Daiso added that “a gathering to commemorate him” will be held “sometime in the near future”.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Yano had a net worth of about US$1.9 billion at the time of his death.

Unbeknown to many, Yano is the pioneer of the Japanese 100-yen shop which Daiso started from.

Hirotake Yano’s Road to Success

Success did not magically land in Hirotake Yano’s lap. In fact, his journey was filled with many difficulties and challenges.

Yano graduated from the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Chuo University in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree majoring in civil engineering.

During his schooling years, he married Katsuyo Yano and adopted her last name as he thought it sounded better than his last name (Kurihara) for business transactions.

After facing difficulties in finding employment post-graduation, Yano and his wife took over her father’s aquaculture business rearing yellowtail fish. Unfortunately, the business did not do well and Yano became bankrupt within three years.

Yano left Hiroshima with his wife and young son and headed to Tokyo. There, he tried various jobs such as selling encyclopedias, working in a bowling alley, and working in a garbage recycling company.


Advertisements
 

The family of three eventually moved back to Hiroshima at the request of Yano’s father.

In 1972, Yano established his own store – Yano Shoten – where goods were displayed on a wooden stand. Five years later, he changed the company’s name to Daiso Industries and introduced the universal price of ¥100 (S$0.90 today).

Since Daiso is so successful today, you may be wondering what kind of super strategy Yano had. Did he think that selling everything for one price would be the secret to success? What was the rationale behind selling everything for ¥100?

Well, the answer is much simpler than that. There was no mega business strategy or psychology at play, he simply did not want to tag a number of products with different prices. He felt it was too time-consuming and hence sold everything at one price.

Basically he was just lazy lah.


Advertisements
 

Reader: Sounds like me sia.

As for why he sold everything at such a low price, he said “the ¥100 coin is the minimum limit that the economy and corporate activities can be maintained at.”

Thanks to Yano’s decision, we were able to save money and enjoy $2 goods from Daiso for many years.

Today’s $2.18 is still quite close to $2 also.

Yano stepped down as president in 2018 and his son, Seiji Yano, took over.

Daiso Overseas

Daiso opened its first overseas franchise in Taiwan in 2001.


Advertisements
 

A year later, Singapore welcomed Daiso and its $2 knick-knacks. In May 2022, Daiso started to include GST in its pricing, resulting in the increase of its minimum price from $2 to $2.14.

As of the end of 2023, Daiso operated 4,360 stores in Japan and 990 stores overseas, with 33 stores in Singapore.