Update: 30 April 2015: Team Japan has officially announced their challenge. Led by General Manager Kazuhiko Sofuku “Fuku” and sailing for Kansai Yacht Club. Fuku last raced with a Japanese team for the Cup 15 years ago as bowman for Nippon Challenge during the 1999/2000 Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series. A base level of technical assistance from ORACLE TEAM USA will be provided to Team Japan as it prepares for the 2015 America’s Cup World Series events.
The long-rumored Asian challenger will be sponsored by Softbank, led by Masayoshi Son, Japan’s richest man. Son has made multiple fortunes, betting correctly on internet and communications trends. He is extremely well connected. A daring entrepreneur and self-made man, he built a PC software distribution business in Japan before being one of the earliest investors in Yahoo.
Masayoshi Son later invested in Jack Ma’s Chinese internet company, Alibaba, which has become one of the most important internet companies in China and the world. In 2014 there were rumors that Larry Ellison had approached Ma about backing a Chinese America’s Cup challenger.
Masayoshi Son definitely “thinks different.” He persuaded Steve Jobs to give him exclusive distribution for the then-brand-new iPhone before he had even built a mobile communications company.