Q&A: Yasuhiro Yamazaki, founder and president

How did get into the chocolate business?
I was a salesman selling food manufacturinng equipment to local confectioners. We were selling a lot of chocolate-making machinery, as there was a huge boom in white chocolate, which became synonymous with Hokkaido’s image of purity and snow.

What made you set up your own firm?
The climate was right for milk and dark chocolate. We’re almost on the same latitude as Switzerland and Belgium.

Why the apostrophe on Royce’?
Royce’ is Yasuhiro backwards in Japanese, more or less. A friend who’s into numerology told me it would be better luck for the name to have 21 strokes, so I added some.

**1970s:* Yamazaki notices Hokkaido’s boom in white chocolate production.
**1983:* Yamazaki quits his job and establishes Royce’ with capital of ¥10m (€80,000).
**1998:* Royce’s’ capitalization expands sixfold to ¥61m (€500,000).
**1999:* Opens new production facility, with floor space of 35,800 sq m.
**2001:* Royce’ Confect International is established to serve international markets.
**2005:* Diversifies into other business areas, such as arts and crafts and coffee.

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