Minoru Mori
Charismatic Japanese real estate mogul -shunning luxurious retirement

October 31, 2008 Ko Nishikura

Mankind surely must be fundamentally an optimistic creature. That seems quite obvious from the lessons of history. How else can we explain all those failures we so often repeat? Economies’ bubble phenomenon is a case in point. From the great crash of the tulip market in the Netherlands in the 17th century to the recent “subprime loan” crisis, how many tragic dramas (or more like comedy?) have repeated themselves over and over?

Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, and Cornelius Vanderbilt…. There have been certain entrepreneurs in the world who know how to swim with the tide and create enormous fortunes in just one generation.

The prominent entrepreneurs who came to mind first were all Americans from the 19th century. Having achieved great success and gained fame, they spent happy and gracious retirement lives. In contrast, when it comes to Japanese entrepreneurs, it’s hard to remember those with such happy late lives. Kiichiro Toyoda, Yoshisuke Ayukawa, and Konosuke Matsushita… Apparently the “happily ever after” part of the story doesn’t quite fit in with these figures.