Wasabi Stories vol. 143: “The Effect of Making People Laugh”


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Today’s story-teller is Hirofumi Yano, president of Daiso Sangyo Corporation, the chain of 100-yen shops again.

The theme is: “puns”

Yano likes to use puns. He started to use puns after what happened to him in the late 70s.

Yano was in the early 30s at the time. He was making a living with a tailgate sale, going place to place, to sell products by a track.

He used to rent a small space in front of supermarkets and made improvised shelf to put products by putting a board on a carton box.



Yano was running the business with his wife first. Eventually, the business started to grow and it got to the point where they hired a few employees.

The tailgate sale work was tough. They had to work whatever the weather was.

In spite of the hard work, Yano could not pay enough to the employees since the sales was not great, which caused them leaving him frequently.

Yano said that he could not afford to give them a pay raise but he needed them. So he had been always anxious about them quitting the job.

One day, three of the staff had been in the stockroom and would not have come out for a long time.

Yano started to get worried: “Maybe they are discussing when to quit together.”

While Yano was anxious, he gathered his courage and walked into the stockroom to find out what they were doing. As he entered, he asked them to let him join and gave them a blue joke, using puns.

Then they burst into a laugh. After all, they were not discussing about quitting the job.

The joke loosened up the atmosphere and made a positive effect on their work.


Yano says, “I have realized how great the effect of making people laugh is. Since then, I have started to use puns frequently. People around me are getting palled with my puns lately though.”


The NIKKEI 11/19/2009 by Hirofumi Yano (President of Daiso Sangyo)



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