In a lengthy and revealing interview with Business of FashionUniqlo chief and Japan's richest man Tadashi Yanai has deciphered the key elements of his brand's "soul" that helped transform it from a single men's tailoring store to a global fashion giant.

After taking over the business from his father, Yanai built Uniqlo — then called Ogōri Shōji — into a business empire with revenues of 1.68 trillion yen (about $15.5 billion). In the process, he has written 23 "management principles” which he believes represent the “soul” of his company — and the reason for its success. “They are the company's most important foundation, its judgment criteria and its spirit,” he told professor Hirotaka Takeuchi of Harvard Business School, “A soul is the most precious thing we have in life. Without a soul, a company or a person is nothing more than an empty shell.”

BoF distilled these 23 principles into eight key themes:

1. Put Customers First

2. Contribute to Society

3. Embrace Optimism

4. Learn From Failure

5. Focus on the Details

6. Be Your Own Critic

7. Connect to the World

8. Disrupt Yourself

Head over to Business of Fashion to find out exactly what Yanai means for each theme, along with his plans for the future of Uniqlo.

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