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Iwasaki Yataro

Born: 9-Jan-1835
Birthplace: Aki, Japan
Died: 7-Feb-1885
Location of death: Tokyo, Japan
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: Asian
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business

Nationality: Japan
Executive summary: Founder of the Mitsubishi companies

His family had been samurai but his grandfather sold their samurai status to settle debts many years before Iwasaki Yataro was born, so he worked as a low-level clerk for the Tosa feudal fiefdom. Apt with numbers, he was promoted to head Tosa's Nagasaki offices, and took control of their Osaka operations when the Tosa clan was forced to disband in the late 1860s. Honoring his family and former employer, in 1870 he reorganized the operation as the Mitsubishi Trading Company, naming it after the Mitsubishi -- a crest designed by Yataro to merge the three-leaf emblem of the Tosa clan with his own family's stacked-diamond crest. Originally a shipping concern, under his leadership Mitsubishi quickly diversified into high finance, mining, and shoe repair (a lucrative line of work in the 19th century).

In more than a century since its founder's death the business has evolved into the vast interlocking Mitsubishi group of companies, including Mitsubishi Chemical, Mitsubishi Construction, Mitsubishi Corporation Capital, Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Materials, Mitsubishi Motors, Mitsubishi Oil, Mitsubishi Plastics, Mitsubishi Rayon, Mitsubishi Steel, hundreds of other companies that include Mitsubishi in their titles and use the Mitsubishi crest as their trademark, and several hundred more companies that do not, including The Bank of Tokyo, Nikon Corp., NYK Line, and Union Bank of California.

Brother: Iwasaki Yanosuke (Mitsubishi executive)
Son: Iwasaki Hisaya (Mitsubishi executive)
Daughter: Iwasaki Masako (married Japanese Prime Minister Kijuro Shidehara)

    Mitsubishi Founder and President (1870-85)
    Japanese Ancestry

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