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Masayoshi Son: From chicken feed to Japan's richest tycoon

22 Comments
By Natsuko Fukue

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© 2017 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


22 Comments
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"My hair is not receding. I'm advancing."

Yeah, well earned place on the picture with the bestest quote generator of 2017.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can remember back around 1996... a lot of Japanese didn't like Son and said he'd not do well because many Japanese companies would not work with him due to his Korean blood. Hmmmm... it seems the opposite happened.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

@Saiko: It doesn't exist any Korean, Japanese or whatever blood. You should speak about nationality or ethnicity. We are in 2017, and people still speak about blood related to ethnicity.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I don't think his success is linked to any "blood", but to his personality and international education, that is always a plus.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

We call "Hagebank" instead of "Softbank."

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

you can call "hage" or anything you want, the simple fact is this guy achieved his status on his own by working hard , is on his top and anything negative you express here is pure jealousy of your underachievement and his status is too high to even nearly care ....

Well done Son!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I did not expect people get offended to my joke. "Hage" is not disparaging. I hear in France, if a person has a lot of hair while he is not young, the person is not respected. They think "hage" is a sign that he went through hardships of life. It is a

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Yet another high-flying Japanese CEO peddling the rags-to-riches, hard work is all you need to succeed, self-made-man fairy story. These guys would have you believe they were eating hand-to-mouth at an early age.

Don’t nt let it fool you - there is almost always a fairy godmother in the story somewhere.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Mr Son's hairline is what appearance obsessed Japanese might consider important.

However, his vision and hard work is what is responsible for his success.

At a time when corporate Japan is showing increasing ineptitude, Masayoshi Son's successes appear to be very significant!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I can remember back around 1996... a lot of Japanese didn't like Son and said he'd not do well because many Japanese companies would not work with him due to his Korean blood. Hmmmm... it seems the opposite happened.

In reality it had nothing to do with his ethnicity, as there are plenty of folks of Korean heritage that are successful here in Japan, it was all about how he runs his businesses. The entrenched farts that run the zaibatsu didn't like his methods and people grabbed on the ethnicity to make it an excuse.

He is what Japanese Zaibatsu need to copy

> Hage" is not disparaging. 

Yes it is...using the term is uncouth. Many men and women who lose their hair are very sensitive to the comment.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Alex80 - Um, you should read what Saiko said one more time. And maybe rewrite what you typed there, cause I don't get your point at all. What Saiko was saying was that there were many Japanese who never thought or wanted him to be successful. It was a little different feeling back then, even though that feeling does rear its ugly head at times even now. I remember a few Japanese people saying that very thing about him during that time here. Once again, different time.

@Schopenhauer - Tough crowd, huh? Yeah, I winced when I saw your attempt at humor there.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Bungle. No. This guy is the real deal. Jealous?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

So many jelly on here

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@sandiegoluv: and you should reread my post. I criticized the use of the word blood related to ethnicity. He said implied his "Korean blood" is the reason for his success, exactly how according to his post, some Japanese thought he couldn't be successful because of his "Korean blood". In Europe we don't accept this blood thing. Well, science don't accept this blood thing anymore.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If he accepts his "Korean blood" is the reason for his success, well he should also accept the idea his "Korean blood" would be the reason of his failure, in case of bankruptcy, or the fact that some people believe criminals of Korean ancestry are criminals because of their "Korean blood". This isn't acceptable, this is blatant racial theory.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's easy to take a skeptical view of Son and Softbank, He's acquiring a wild collection assets without any rhyme or reason, it seems, and his core business - where most of his revenue has come from - has long been an oligopoly. To top it off, the company is highly indebted, with his vision fund leveraged to the tilt. He's gonna have some serious debt servicing to deal with down the line.

As for transparency and governance, he fired his CEO after an extremely short tenure, because no one at Softbank is allowed to disagree with the boss.

Son is climbing out on a thinner and thinner branch, in my view.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

From the article:

His family scratched a living raising poultry and hogs in a country where Koreans have long faced discrimination stemming from the Japanese occupation of the peninsula between 1910 and 1945.

"I sat in a cart when I was small. It was so slimy that I felt sick. My grandmother, who is dead now, was pulling the cart," Son recalled in a 1996 speech when accepting a business award.

"We collected leftover food from neighbours and fed it to cattle. It was slimy. We worked hard," he said. "And I've worked hard."

Followed by:

Son went to the U.S. as a 16-year-old and later studied at the University of California at Berkeley where he began his business career.

From Wikipedia:

Berkeley is the flagship institution of the ten research universities affiliated with the University of California system and is ranked as one of the world's most prestigious universities and the top public university in the United States.

Son claims to be of peasant stock and yet from a young age he was fluent enough in English and rich enough to attend a prestigious US university. I'm not seeing any livestock in this picture, but I'm certainly smelling the manure.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yet, poor families manage to pay 3.000USD/lerson to get to Europe, etc.

Scratches head

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"blood" is not the word OK, but Saiko is right. He very certainly played the Zainichi Korean card a lot. He worked with other Korean businesses and customers in the first decades of his career in Japan. So when he reached the top in this market, people really wondered if he could expand into mainstream J-markets. He would probably have been kept aside (due to racism) during the Bubble, and he would not have been able to get Japanese citizenship earlier (Japan would reject nearly all application till the late 80's). He is accepted now because he happens to have money and valuable connections in Silicon Valley just when those once bragging "we are Nihon Ichi" are needing all that...

 poor families manage to pay 3.000USD/lerson to get to Europe, 

He certainly paid much more for 15 yrs of stay and education in California. His grandma was a farmer. When he was a teen, his father had become a gadzillionnaire owner of pachinkos, investor in banks, industries, etc.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Still haven't seen what he sees in Uber... the company is continually loosing ground in markets due to past and present business practices. And really, the Passenger Insurance side of things is very worrying...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Alex80 - Look more carefully. you guys are talking about different things here.

I can remember back around 1996... a lot of Japanese didn't like Son and said he'd not do well because many Japanese companies would not work with him due to his Korean blood. Hmmmm... it seems the opposite happened.

Saiko was saying that Japanese would not work with him because of his Korean blood, meaning that he is not Japanese so the companies would just refuse to do business with him. But many Japanese companies DID in fact work with him anyway despite his being Korean and not Japanese. He is NOT saying that because he has Korean blood that he was successful. He is saying that the Japanese companies ignored that and worked with him anyway.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Bungle - The manure that you are smelling might be from just cynicism. This is from the Japan Times. There are other reports that Son were not wealthy. His early days were quite poor.

Son was born in 1957 to Korean parents in a flood-prone area of Saga Prefecture, where poor Korean immigrants lived in a cluster of shacks, many by keeping pigs in the house and making bootleg alcohol, according to “Ampon,” a biography of Son by journalist Shinichi Sano.

In the book, interviews with Son’s relatives shed light on his upbringing. His cousin recounts how he often caught a preschool-age Son “studying like nobody’s business while he was soaked up to his knees in a shack full of floodwater smelling of feces.”

His early dwelling was miserable, and his Korean descent made him a target for discrimination, overshadowing his early years. But Son’s determination probably surfaced in his early teens, his biographers say.

Sano, for example, describes interesting episodes in which Son transferred, in the middle of his first semester in junior high school, to a more reputable school at his own wish and did all the paperwork himself. In another episode, a 15-year-old Son, now in high school, asked his third-year homeroom teacher from junior high to a restaurant and begged him to become the president of a cram school he planned to set up. The teacher turned him down.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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