2008 Masatomo Takahashi

Masatomo Takahashi had a dream: To bring Disneyland to the children of Japan. It was a bold idea when he first presented it 30 years ago, but in making Tokyo Disneyland a reality he not only built a world-class attraction for the people of Japan but showed that Disney magic is universal. It was as President/Representative Director of the Oriental Land Company that he first approached Walt Disney Productions with the concept of building a Disneyland theme park in Tokyo. In April, 1979, Disney and the OLC signed contracts to create the park. Takahashi-san and other project leaders felt that the Japanese market did not want an Asian version of Disneyland, but a park that reflected the American original. Though some questioned whether a Disneyland-style of entertainment would succeed outside the United States, Takahashi-san diligently guided the development of the multi-million dollar theme to its opening in 1983 and was proven right: The park, designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, continues to draw more than 17 million guests each year. Beginning in the late 1990s, as Chairman of OLC, Takahashi-san expanded his vision to include Tokyo DisneySea. Sadly, Takahashi-san did not live to see the dream of Tokyo DisneySea come true; he passed away on January 31, 2000, before the 2001 opening of the park.
 
 
Masatomo Takahashi

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