Takara Toy Company Founder Yasuta Sato Passes Away at 94
posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
The NHK news service reported on Friday that Takara toy company founder Yasuta Sato passed away on February 26 from senility. He was 94. His close family held a funeral for him, and there will be a farewell event for him at a later date.
Sato was born in Fukushima prefecture, and he founded the company that was the predecessor to TAKARA Co., Ltd. (Satoh Vinyl Industries, Ltd.) in 1955. The company changed its name to Takara in 1967. The company had hits with its "Licca-chan" series of dolls, the "LIFE" board game, and the "Choro-Q" (Penny Racers) mini car line. Takara went public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1986.
After Sato's final retirement from the company in 2002 (he retired once in 1994 but came back to serve as president and CEO again from 1999-2000), he received a Doctor of Engineering degree from Yamagata University, and he was a guest professor at the school teaching about business management.
Takara merged with similar toy giant Tomy in 2006 to become Takara Tomy (known as Tomy Co. overseas). At the time of the merger, Tomy was the second largest toymaker in Japan behind Bandai, and Takara was the third. The merged company manages such brands as Transformers, Zoids, the Duel Masters Trading Card Game, WIXOSS, and Pokémon. The company also collaborated with syn Sophia to produce the Pretty Rhythm franchise. The anime production studio has worked as a subsidiary of Takara Tomy since the merger in 2006. Takara Tomy is also the creator of the Shinkalion and Tomica Hyper Rescue Drive Head Kidō Kyūkyū Keisatsu toy and multimedia franchises.