Hisashi Yasuda, the First “Money Tiger” and the Tiger of Food and Drink, Talks About his Life After “The Man Who Became a Tiger” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Hisashi Yasuda, the First “Money Tiger” and the Tiger of Food and Drink, Talks About his Life After “The Man Who Became a Tiger”

He appeared on the show and reached the peak of his career, but the show eventually ended and his company went bankrupt, leaving him penniless. ...... Now that the reality show "Reiwa's Tiger" is so popular, we want to hear more about it!

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Mr. Yasuda was interviewed at his luxury apartment in Minato-ku, Tokyo. In the window is an objet d’art showing the consulting firm he runs, Gaishoku Tora Juku.

To be honest, “Reiwa no Tora” doesn’t come close to the original “Money no Tora,”” Yasuda said. It’s hard to generate that kind of passion.

“Mr. Hisashi Yasuda, 60, who gained popularity on the legendary reality TV show “Money Tiger” broadcast in the early 2000s, says so. As the “Food and Beverage Tiger,” Yasuda sometimes beat up applicants and sometimes engaged in heated discussions among the tigers. Yasuda recalls the excitement of those days.

“There were probably 40 to 50 tigers, and they were all desperate to stay in the competition as long as possible. Mr. Hiroshi Kawahara of “Nanden Kanden” and Mr. Tatsuki Minamihara, the president of an automobile import company, were talking forward and forward, but they were almost cut off (laughs). (Laughs.) I kept the first half of the story short and used technical terms in the second half. Both the tigers and the volunteers were all very determined to leave their mark. That’s why it was so interesting and couldn’t be done in a scheduled manner.”

After appearing on the program, sales at the restaurants he was involved in exploded, and he received an endless stream of requests to give lectures. However, those good times did not last long. After the program ended in 2004, Yasuda’s company went bankrupt in 2011 due to the Lehman Shock and the Great East Japan Earthquake. He lost his fortune in one fell swoop.

He said, “We were trying to expand our business by going public, but that fell through, and everything but my family left at once. I did everything I could cash in, including cars and watches, but it still wasn’t enough. I was being chased by creditors and people walking the streets seemed to be chasing me. It was also around this time that I started wearing hats all the time to hide my face. I was always worried that my children would be bullied and that my family would not be able to make a living. But I was determined not to go bankrupt and maintain my family’s standard of living.”

With the help of his colleagues in the restaurant industry, Yasuda’s business has gradually improved, and the consulting company he runs, Gaishoku Tora Juku, has grown to annual sales of 300 million yen. Although the business is no longer as big as it once was, “I still feel more alive every day,” Yasuda says.

He has also resumed giving lectures, and even nearly 20 years after the program ended, “Money no Tora” is still very well known.

The theme that is particularly popular is failure. There were times when I benefited from being on the show, but there was also the pain of being the center of attention in my case. I think some of the tigers at the time had the same kind of hardships. Strangely enough, Mr. Kawahara and Mr. Minamihara, whom I hated at the time, are now the closest of friends (laughs).

Because “Reiwa’s Tiger” is now so popular, the life of the original tiger afterwards touched my heart deeply.

Thumbnail of the YouTube channel Tiger of Reiwa. The tiger’s financial troubles and other issues have been discussed and are attracting attention.

From the February 17, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Takayuki Ogawauchi

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