February 18, 2014
  • Rakuten, Inc.

Hiroshi Mikitani awarded
French Legion of Honour

Hiroshi Mikitani, Founder and CEO of Rakuten,
receives France’s most prestigious award
at the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs

PARIS, February 18, 2014 — The government of France announced that it has bestowed The Legion of Honour upon Japanese entrepreneur Hiroshi Mikitani, founder, CEO and Chairman of Rakuten, Inc., one of the world’s leading internet service companies and owner of the French companies PriceMinister, Alpha Direct Services and Aquefadas.  This recognition is awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to French culture and business. Previous Japanese recipients of the Legion of Honour include the former Japanese Minister of Defence, Yoshinori Ohno and President of Toyota Boshuku Corporation, Shuhei Toyoda.

Laurent Fabius, Minister for Foreign Affairs, delivered a speech in which he discussed Hiroshi Mikitani’s remarkable journey to receive this award, covering both his personal and professional achievements. 

On receiving the award, Rakuten CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani, commented:

"First of all, I’d like to thank the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for honoring me with this award, it is truly humbling. This distinction is testament to those individuals who have consistently supported me throughout my life. To this end, I encourage all entrepreneurs to follow their passions and strive to change the future. Once you have a big idea, do not be afraid of failure. I will continue to drive Rakuten as a global pioneer of the e-commerce revolution and I am looking forward to what the next few years will bring,” concluded Hiroshi Mikitani.

Laurent Fabius, Minister for Foreign Affairs, commented,

"Mr. Mikitani is among the most successful entrepreneurs of his generation. His contribution to the French business ecosystem shows just how important France can be for a global company like Rakuten. I hope this award encourages more entrepreneurs to follow in Mr. Mikitani’s footsteps.”

About Hiroshi Mikitani

Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani is the founder, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten – one of the world’s largest Internet companies. He began his career as an investment banker at Industrial Bank of Japan and left in 1995 to start his own consulting firm, Crimson Group. Two years later and with just a handful of employees, he launched “Rakuten Ichiba” – the Rakuten marketplace. In Japanese, rakuten means optimism.

Rakuten, which was founded on a mission of empowering people through the Internet, is one of the world’s largest Internet Services companies with operations in 27 countries and customers all over the world. Beyond e-commerce it has expanded to encompass a dynamic ecosystem of nearly 40 different Internet services as diverse as travel, banking, credit card, eReading, and professional sports.

In keeping with his conviction that a low-cost and open Internet environment empowers businesses and individuals to innovate, which leads to economic growth, Mikitani co-founded the Japan Association of New Economy (JANE), where he serves as Representative Director. JANE’s mission is to strengthen Japan’s competitiveness through the expansion of the Internet and e-business.

Born in Kobe, Mikitani was educated at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo before earning his MBA at Harvard Business School in Cambridge, MA.  In 2012, he was awarded the HBS Alumni Achievement Award, one of the school’s highest honors. In 2013, he published his first book for the English-language audience: MARKETPLACE 3.0: Rewriting the Rules of Borderless Business (Palgrave Macmillan). He lives in Tokyo with his wife and two children.

About The Legion of Honour

The Legion of Honour is the highest national decoration established after the French Revolution. It rewards the outstanding merits of citizens in all walks of life, regardless of social, economic or hereditary backgrounds. Other notable Japanese recipients include Mr. Sadayuki Sakakibara, Chairman of Toray and Mr. Akio Toyoda, CEO of Toyota Motor Company.

About Rakuten

Rakuten, Inc. (4755:TSE), is one of the world's leading Internet service companies, providing a variety of services for consumers and businesses, including in the areas of e-commerce, eReading, travel, banking, securities, credit cards, e-money, logistics, portal and media, online marketing and professional sports. In both 2012 and 2013, Rakuten was ranked among the world’s ‘Top 10 Most Innovative Companies’ in Forbes magazine’s annual list. Rakuten is expanding worldwide and currently operates throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 10,000 employees and partner staff worldwide. For more information: https://global.rakuten.com/corp/.

Photos from the event can be downloaded from the following link:

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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