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How one man's 'so what?' attitude changed the way Japan travels

HIS founder and CEO Hideo Sawada struck gold by ignoring 'common sense'

H.I.S. founder and CEO Hideo Sawada (Photo by Nozumu Ogawa)

TOKYO -- There was a time not so long ago when Japanese tourists had basically two options when it came to overseas travel: go on a group tour or stay home. If it weren't for Hideo Sawada, that might never have changed.

The founder and CEO of H.I.S., now one of Japan's biggest travel agencies, can be credited with shaking up the entrenched industry standard of exorbitant air fares and inflexible itineraries. A globetrotter himself, Sawada was inspired by his own early travels -- and a brush with death -- to question "common sense" practices and embrace a bit of risk.

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