Storefront entrance of a Daiso shop in Singapore. Photo from Daiso

In a statement released on Monday, Daiso confirmed his passing on the 12th of February, 2024, due to heart failure in his hometown Hiroshima, Japan. A private funeral has been held by family members, and a commemorative gathering will be held in the near future.

Photo credit: EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award

History of Daiso

Childhood & background

Born as Koro Kurihara, Mr Yano was born in Beijing, China, in 1943, and moved back to Hiroshima after the end of World War 2. In his youth he enjoyed boxing and was selected for an Olympic athletes preparation, but did not pursue athletics further under his father’s insistence that he study science at a tertiary level.

He met his wife in university and subsequently took her name in marriage, deviating against Japanese customs, as he thought it would sound better for business purposes. Mr Yano graduated from Chuo University in 1967 with a degree in civil engineering, but initially struggled to find employment. His experiences with unsuccessful occupations was what reinforced his mental outlook and led to the flourishing of Daiso.

“I have failed many times, and I thought that whatever I tried, nothing was going to succeed. […] But I kept going because I thought there was nothing else I could do.”

Hirotake Yano

Start of Daiso Japan

After job hopping for five years, he established his first company, Yano Shoten (Yano Store), when he was 29 in 1972, selling items from the back of a truck. He renamed the company Daiso in 1977, and established a universal price of ¥100 for all items, making him a pioneer for the dollar store system in Japan.

In 1987, Mr Yano further developed the 100 Yen Daiso Company, going on to open its first permanent shop in 1991. This would go on to be the start of the chain stores that we know today.

Back to top

Daiso store in japan. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Daiso Outlets

Daiso Singapore

Daiso’s first venture overseas was to Taiwan in 2001, and soon came to Singapore a year later in 2002. The first flagship store was established at IMM, and now there are 32 stores island-wide, with 2 more opening soon in Great World City and Anchorvale Village.

Daiso has always been known for its affordable and stylish items. Despite recently changing its $2 SGD prices in 2022, Daiso still remains as one of the best stores for home decor needs. Now most items are available at a cost of $2.18 SGD as of 2024, though other items of different tiers may cost even more. Daiso even operates a concept store, THREEPPY, for a wider array of adorable fashion and home accessories. 

Daiso Malaysia

After its first outlet launched in 2008, Daiso has expanded to over 40 stores across the country. There 8 Daiso outlets in Johor Bahru alone, all within a one hour drive from Singapore, with the closest ones at KOMTAR JBCC, KSL City Mall, and Mid Valley Southkey Mall. Most items priced at RM $5.90.

Daiso Online

To be able to sell a wider array of items, Daiso expanded its store to their website for a digital shopping experience in 2021. Its diverse products are neatly catergorised into their many uses, and allows for an easy and quick process to those who know exactly what they want.

Back to top

Hirotake Yano’s Legacy

Ever since the start of Daiso’s operation, Mr Yano has been adamant on ensuring a good quality of products sold. He recognized that the affordability of their products might have led to a perception of lower quality, but consistently ensured that this was not the reality.

Nonetheless, even after such great success, he remained devoted to creating the best experience for customers. Throughout his time as President and Chairman of Daiso, his principles remained: humble, work hard and diligently. He stepped down as President in 2018, and Chairman in 2019, due to health reasons, and was succeeded by his son.

Back to top