Kunihiko Tanaka was peddling vinegar to sushi restaurants in western Japan when he spotted the opportunity that would change his life.

It was the 1970s, and the sushi industry was set to boom. But Tanaka thought it was seriously flawed in how it operated. Artisan chefs presided over restaurants with poor quality control. They charged different prices to different people for the same meal, and bills weren't affordable to the average person, except for special occasions.

Tanaka decided to establish his own sushi restaurant. But he would do it differently. And so, with ¥3 million that he'd borrowed, he opened his first restaurant in 1977, setting out on a path that would eventually lead to the founding of Kura Corp. in 1995. The firm embraced a range of modern technologies, aiming to bring sushi to the masses. Kura is now Japan's second-largest chain of kaiten sushi restaurants, where the food is delivered on revolving conveyor belts. It has a market value of about ¥130 billion and hundreds of outlets nationwide.