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How Pornhub’s Founder Has Become One Of The Richest People In Japan While Staying Socially Conscious

Keishi Kameyama was recently called to talk to undergraduates at Japan's most prestigious university about how to run a socially responsible business.

By Ryan Velez

Keishi Kameyama was recently called to talk to undergraduates at Japan's most prestigious university about how to run a socially responsible business. This doesn’t sound like much news, until you learn that Kameyama is the founder and publisher of Pornhub.com. Yes, Japan is less puritanical than the U.S. on the subject of pornography, but how Kameyama and his company, DMM.com managed to go from running a porn site to what is now into a large array of sites and a start-up incubator is a story worth reading no matter where you live. Celebrity Net Worth chronicles his rise as an entrepreneur.

Growing up in a small seaside town in Japan, Kameyama dropped out of accounting school in 1980, moving through several jobs including a partially nude dancer at a gay male strip club and washing cadavers at a hospital before opening a video rental shop. By his late 20’s he opened several shops, but when the Japanese equivalent of Blockbuster came to town, he saw the writing on the wall, and decided to make movies rather than sell them. He would end up making porn films because they were cheaper to shoot, and showed a shrewd business sense even then, with innovations like a cash register that looked like today's iPads. By giving it to stores for free as long as they shared sales data with him, Kameyama got precious info on people’s porn preferences.

In 1998, he took his business online, at a time where only 1 in 5 people in Japan had internet. Fast forward to a decade later, and DMM.com now sells half of the $1 billion in adult videos purchased annually. But Kameyama realized that with this massive audience, there was a chance to sell other items they would be interested in.

In 2009, he brought a struggling online brokerage, and turned it into Japan’s most popular platform for trading foreign currencies. He has also managed to diversify his business into more family-friendly areas, like video games, an online English school, and solar farms. In fact, in 2016, porn was less than one third of DMM's $1.7 billion in sales.

Despite what fueled his wealth, and being the ninth richest person in the country, Kameyama lives simply and privately with his wife and two children, even riding a bike to work. In fact, he refuses to have photos taken that do not obscure his face, and only started giving interviews to quell rumors that he was actually a member of the Yakuza. Despite these quirks, none can question Kameyama’s savvy in business.

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