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The success secrets of self-made billionaire Kazuo Okada |

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The success secrets of self-made billionaire Kazuo Okada

BULL MARKET, BULL SHEET - Wilson Lee Flores - The Philippine Star
The success secrets of self-made billionaire Kazuo Okada
Kazuo Okada: A tough-minded world-class entrepreneur

Like industrial pioneer John Gokongwei Jr. of JG Summit Holdings, Inc., “Juice King” Alfredo Yao of Zest-O/RC Cola, Hong Kong’s wealthiest billionaire taipan Li Ka Shing and many of the world’s rags-to-riches entrepreneurs, Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada, the Philippines’ biggest resort-casino complex owner and an art collector with his own museum of Japanese, Chinese and Korean art, lost his father in his youth.

Hardships during his youth helped make him a tough-minded, world-class entrepreneur with an estimated net worth of US$1.74 billion.

During a recent exclusive interview at his newly built Okada Manila resort-casino in Manila Bay’s Entertainment City area, the 74-year-old Okada told me through a young lady interpreter that yes, his father died when he was just about to enter the sixth grade.

Okada turned pensive and said, “Of course, it’s sad to have lost my father, at the same time it made me see how my mother had to work hard for our family. This inspired me to strive to become a better person, to make myself successful. This loss made me stronger, it made me want to make something out of my life.”

With the hardships of his family, the young Okada dropped out of high school to enroll in an engineering vocational school. He then started out repairing broken jukeboxes that came from America and became technically proficient at making things.

From fixing and then renting out jukeboxes, Okada went into manufacturing gaming machines, eventually becoming Japan’s biggest pachinko machine supplier and in 1999, became the largest individual taxpayer in Japan. His company developed the first computer-generated slot machine. At one point, Okada controlled almost 75 percent of the slot-machine market in Nevada, USA.

His business career was not devoid of difficulties, struggles and even near bankruptcy, but Okada persevered and became even more successful. The biggest investment and business venture in his career is Okada Manila, because he said he is very bullish not only on the Philippines’ positive economic growth prospects and President Rody Duterte’s visionary strong leadership, he shares many Asians’ optimism about the new independent and balanced foreign policy that has normalized Philippines ties with the world’s biggest source of affluent tourists: China.

I asked the normally media-shy tycoon what top success secrets he could share with young entrepreneurs and professionals. He said he hopes that his investments and faith in the Philippine economy will inspire the youth of this country. These are Okada’s tips on attaining success, distilled from our exclusive interview:

Have a positive attitude. “Of course, life has so many disappointments, but those are just temporary,” Okada says. “When we stumble or fall to the bottom, there’s nowhere else to go but up, so I always have a positive attitude. I always look forward and I always think that there’s a way. Having a positive outlook is not only beneficial for our goal of attaining success in our career or life, it is also one secret to enjoying good health.”

Never give up. “Everybody has failures; no one is 100-percent-successful in everything they do. What is very important, instead of giving up, continue to fight!”

Be grateful. “I believe one of my success secrets is my feeling of gratitude. We should be grateful and thank others. Nobody can achieve true success only on one’s own or without the support of others, so we should always express our gratitude and sincere appreciation for other people.”

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