Nobutoshi Shimamura: the name might not ring a bell immediately. However, anyone with an interest in the Japanese business world would know who he is. Shimamura is not just a businessman, but he is also an innovator, an entrepreneur, and a trendsetter. His life story is filled with fascinating details and achievements, many of which remain unknown to the general public. Here, we uncover 10 things you likely did not know about Nobutoshi Shimamura.

1. Shimamura Was Not Born Into Wealth

One would naturally assume based on Shimamura’s current success that he was born with a silver spoon. But that is far from the truth. Shimamura comes from a humble beginning, born to a middle-class family in Japan. His parents could afford to provide for his basic needs but extras were not within their reach.

This upbringing plays a huge role in molding his perspective towards wealth and hard work. The lack of financial support meant he had to work harder than his peers to achieve his goals, and this is a trait that has not left him, even after amassing substantial wealth.

2. He Is A Self-Made Billionaire

Shimamura is a classic example of a self-made billionaire. He started from scratch, without a significant financial backing or inheritance. His journey to where he is today is a testament to his hard work and resilience. His wealth came from his business ventures, most notably his retail chain store ‘Shimamura.’

The ‘Shimamura’ store, established in 1953, is now one of the top five largest clothing retailers in Japan. It is his sharp and innovative business strategies that have elevated his store from a small family-run business to a multi-billion dollar retail empire.

3. He Prioritizes Affordability

Shimamura’s main goal has always been to make fashion affordable. Despite his company’s massive success, he is determined to provide the best quality clothing at the most affordable prices. This philosophy is reflected in his stores, where one can easily find both stylish and affordable clothing.

This focus on affordability reflects Shimamura’s upbringing. As someone who grew up without much, he understands the importance of accessible and affordable clothing. He aims to cater to everyone, including those with minimal income, challenging the common association between fashion and expensive clothing.

4. Shimamura’s Retail Strategy is Unique

Shimamura’s strategy in retail is unique in various ways. Firstly, he avoids opening his stores in shopping malls or large shopping districts. Instead, he prefers stand-alone buildings or small shopping centers. Secondly, while many retailers often outsource production overseas to cut costs, Shimamura maintains a significant level of domestic production.

This unique strategy has also been responsible for his company’s success. By locating stores outside the expensive shopping centers, he can afford to keep his clothes affordable and cater to the smaller towns and local communities. His commitment to local production also resonates with consumers, especially those who value the ‘made in Japan’ quality.

5. He Was An Early Pioneer Of Equal Pay

Shimamura was one of the earliest proponents of equal pay. His belief is that every worker should be paid fairly for their labor, regardless of their gender. He introduced an equal pay system in his company long before it became legally mandated or mainstream.

Today, equal pay is recognized as an essential factor for a company’s growth and stability. Shimamura’s early adoption not only highlights his business acumen but also his ability to recognize and advocate for social justice and equality.

6. Shimamura Believes in the Power of Advertising

While many business leaders undervalue the power of advertising, Shimamura emphasizes it. He believes that you cannot run a successful business without proper advertisement. Even with his low-price strategy, he does not shy away from investing heavily in advertising. His company is known for its creative and engaging advertisements that successfully attract customers.

This belief can also be connected to his background in economics. Shimamura understands that advertising plays a critical role in economic growth and development. It can create an emotional connection between the brand and the consumers, influencing their purchasing decisions.

7. He Is an Advocate for Sustainable Business Practices

Shimamura promotes sustainability in his business ventures. He emphasizes renewable energy and efficiency in his stores to reduce their carbon footprint. He also focuses on sustainable sourcing and production methods for clothing sold in his stores.

This commitment to sustainability reflects his understanding of the current global environmental crisis. By implementing sustainable practices, he ensures his business remains profitable, appeals to environmentally conscious consumers, and contributes positively to the environment.

8. He Has Authored a Book

Shimamura is not only a business tycoon but also an author. He has written a book, “The Secret of Store Location: A look at the Shinsei Shimamura,” where he shared his unique ideas about retail store locations that have contributed to his success.

Despite his busy schedule running his multi-billion dollar empire, he found time to pen down his thoughts. His book is regarded as an invaluable insight into his mind and business philosophy.

9. Shimamura is Known for His Charity Work

Shimamura’s success has not made him forget his roots, and he is known for his charitable endeavors. He has set up several scholarship programs and welfare institutions, especially focusing on underprivileged children in Japan. Giving back to society is a principle that Shimamura holds dear.

His charitable work is a direct reflection of his upbringing and personal values. Despite his wealth, he remains empathetic towards those who are less fortunate and actively contributes to creating a better society.

10. He is a Strong Advocate of Work-Life Balance

Even with the pressures of running a global retail chain, Shimamura encourages a healthy work-life balance. He believes that overworking reduces productivity and brings stress and unhappiness. He is one of the few business tycoons who openly criticize Japan’s infamous overwork culture.

Shimamura’s stand on work-life balance is not merely theoretical. He has implemented policies in his company that limit overtime and encourage employees to take regular breaks and vacation. He believes that a healthy and happy employee is more productive and contributes positively to the company’s growth.

More about Nobutoshi Shimamura on Bloomberg
Shimamura’s business philosophy explained on The Japan Times
Shimamura and his relationship with Anime and Manga on Manga.Tokyo