1921 (Taisho 10) Tuesday, October 25 Tokuma Yasuyoshi, the founder of Tokuma Shoten, was born in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from local Zushi Kaisei Junior High School, he entered Waseda University’s Faculty of Commerce. He joined the Japanese Communist Party in his youth. In 1943 (Showa 18), he graduated from Waseda University and joined the Yomiuri Shimbun. However, immediately after the end of the war, he left the company due to the Yomiuri Dispute, which occurred twice. In 1948 (Showa 23), the company went bankrupt, and after that, Tatsuhiko Nakano became a senior managing director of “Shinzenmi-sha”, but this also went bankrupt soon.
In 1953 (Showa 28), he took over Asahi Geino Shinbun founded by Hirotomo Takei who had been his friend since Yomiuri Shinbun, and developed it into Tokuma Shoten, a book store. He also succeeded Minoru Fon, a record company run by composer Minoru Endo, and entered the music business successfully.
In 1974 49, he took over the business of Daiei, a bankrupt major film company, and became successful with the film Kimi yo Iru no Kawa wo Watare starring Ken Takakura. In 1985 (Showa 60), the top craft producing Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind was taken over and Studio Ghibli was established. Later, in collaboration with Hayao MIYAZAKI and Isao TAKAHATA, he released a series of hit films such as “Castle in the Sky”, “My Neighbor Totoro” and “The Witch’s Delivery,” and in 1997 “Princess Mononoke” recorded the highest box office revenue at the time.
He is also known for serving as the chairman of his alma mater, Zushi Kaisei Junior High School, from 1984 (Showa 59) until his death. He died in 2000 at the age of 78.