5 Interesting Things About Japan's First Self-Made Female Billionaire Yoshiko Shinohara joins the list of only 26 other self-made female Asian billionaires.

By Rose Leadem

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Temp Group
Yoshiko Shinohara

Four decades after launching her business, 82-year-old Yoshiko Shinohara has been deemed Japan's first self-made female billionaire.

Shinohara initially launched staffing agency Temp Holdings in 1973 out of her one-bedroom apartment in Tokyo. From risking everything to start her company to putting her happiness first, there's a lot to be learned from this self-made billionaire who has been on Fortune's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Global Business.

Related: 10 Inspirational Quotes From Women Business Leaders

1. She was willing to risk everything.

Uninspired by the jobs available to her in Japan, Shinohara moved to Europe where she was introduced to the idea of temporary jobs. Upon her return to Japan in the 1970s, Shinohana launched her own temp agency, but at the time, temping was illegal in the Asian country. Instead of changing her business idea, she chose to risk it all.

"I used to ask myself: I wonder what it's like in jail. How big are the rooms? Is there a toilet or a window?'" she told Harvard Business Review in 2009.

2. She never intended to become a billionaire.

Unlike many self-made millionaires and billionaires, Shinohara never intended to become a member of the 1 percent. Rather, she "want[ed] to contribute to society through business," she said. Simply put, Shinohara just wanted to make her mark on the world.

3. She put her happiness before her marriage.

Quickly after Shinohana got married, she got divorced. "I realized that I would rather not be married, that this was not the right person for me," she told HBR. Angering her brother and mother with the divorce, Shinohana decided she needed to do more with her life than become a housewife like most other women at that time.

Related: 4 Inspiring Stories of Women Entrepreneurs From Around the World

"After the divorce, I said, 'I have to do something with myself.'"

4. She provided opportunity for Japanese women.

"The importance of women being able to work as well as raise children left an indelible impression," she told Forbes Asia. After marrying and having kids, it was the norm for Japanese women to just be housewives and it was difficult or uncomfortable for them to jump back in the workforce. On top of that, there was also few opportunities for them.

Shinohara's company addressed this issue. "Our company was able to grow by matching Japanese women's underlying motive," a spokesperson for the company said.

5. Hiring men saved her business.

In the beginning, the company was proud to employ only women -- it seemed like an action that aligned with the core values of the company. But when she noticed a sales slump, Shinohara decided to explore the idea of hiring men.

Related: 6 Unlikely Characteristics Common Among Billionaires

In 1988, she asked her managers, ""How about if we put some men in here?' The managers said, "No, thank you, we don't need any of those creatures.'" But Shinohara listened to her instincts, brought in men and immediately saw an increase in sales. She found that a balance between men and women was the backbone to her company's success.

Wavy Line
Rose Leadem is a freelance writer for Entrepreneur.com. 

Editor's Pick

A Father Decided to Change When He Was in Prison on His Son's Birthday. Now His Nonprofit Helps Formerly Incarcerated Applicants Land 6-Figure Jobs.
A Teen Turned His Roblox Side Hustle Into a Multimillion-Dollar Company — Now He's Working With Karlie Kloss and Elton John
3 Mundane Tasks You Should Automate to Save Your Brain for the Big Stuff
The Next Time Someone Intimidates You, Here's What You Should Do
5 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health and Regulate Your Nervous System for Sustainable Success

Related Topics

Business News

You May Have Fewer Options to Wade in the Water This Summer as Thousands of Lifeguard Chairs Are Left Unoccupied

A national lifeguard shortage has been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Business News

'I Am Just Floored': Woman Discovers She Won $1 Million Lottery Prize While Checking Her Email at Work

Initially, she thought the email was a scam, but went to lottery headquarters and walked away with a six-figure check after taxes.


How I Raised $2 Million Without Knowing Any Venture Capitalists

Without having built a network of VCs, I successfully raised $2 million in six months by using the strategies I outline in this article.

Growing a Business

10 Growth Strategies Every Business Owner Should Know

Effective growth strategies are vital for businesses aiming to achieve sustainable growth and long-term success.

Growing a Business

In a Downturn, It's Not Enough to Have Good Financials — Brand Visibility Is the New Currency.

Visibility has proven to be tied to making more money and being more successful. I've been asked by many founders how they can generate visibility successfully and quickly, so here are my tips.