Sicilians are furious that an eccentric Japanese billionaire has hired several cultural institutions in Palermo for a three-day birthday extravaganza.
Kaoru Nakajima managed to rent several of Palermo’s oldest and most famous landmarks, including opera houses, theaters and centuries-old hotels, to celebrate his 73rd birthday.
The billionaire rented the Teatro Massimo, Italy’s largest opera house and one of the largest in Europe.
He also rented out the Politeama Theater and even went so far as to order custom-made seating so his guests could dance and dine at the 132-year-old institution, which reportedly cost 37,000 euros (£32,244).
Nakajima, who was once pictured with pop superstar Mariah Carey, will accommodate his 1,400 guests at both the five-star Villa Igiea on Palermo beach and the Grand Hotel et des Palmes just a few kilometers away.
He is said to have treated her to a banquet prepared by a celebrity chef and entertained her with a performance of Don Giovanni conducted by the celebrated Riccardo Muti, who was reportedly a close friend of the birthday boy, and last night a concert by Matteo Bocelli , the son of the legendary tenor Andrea Bocelli.
Kaoru Nakajima (pictured) made his fortune by rising through the ranks at AmWay, the American multi-level marketing company
The 73-year-old billionaire was once pictured with pop legend Mariah Carey in 2013
The billionaire managed to rent out several of Palermo’s oldest and most famous cultural institutions
He was seen interacting with several local politicians before and after the performance
His guests will stay in the luxurious Villa Igiea, located on the coast of Palermo
His guests will also stay at the Grand Hotel et des Palmes, located just a few kilometers from Villa Igiea
Nakajima has hired the Teatro Massimo, one of Palermo’s most famous cultural institutions, for a private performance of Don Giovanni
He even went so far as to spend over €30,000 on additional custom-made seating in the Politeama Theater so his guests could dance and dine
Several close friends and family members were seen posing for photos outside the Teatro Massimo
The billionaire, carrying an ornate walking stick, was led to an exclusive box at the Teatro Massimo with the assistance of several people.
He was seen interacting with several local politicians before and after the performance.
Meanwhile, his friends and family were seen posing for photos outside the venue.
Shortly after the performance, he told an Italian media outlet: “Palermo is beautiful.”
Despite his cheerful attitude, not everything went according to plan.
Preparations for a major banquet on Sunday were derailed after it emerged that the celebrity chef he had hired to entertain his guests was under house arrest for allegedly selling drugs at his Palermo restaurant.
Its plans, originally scheduled to take place in 2020 for his 70th birthday but canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were so disruptive that the Sicilian Symphony Orchestra was moved to a smaller, less prestigious venue to accommodate its extravagant Concert to make celebrations.
His birthday plans were originally scheduled to take place in 2020 on his 70th birthday, but were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Nakajima was seen carrying an ornate cane as he was escorted into an exclusive box at the Teatro Massimo
He was seen grinning as he told local reporters: “Palermo is beautiful.”
Renato Schifani, the governor of Sicily, was not happy about the billionaire’s commitment to so many cultural institutions, telling an Italian news agency: “I am a liberal person who has always been open to the private sector, but there is a limit to everything. “’
He added that he feared that Nakajima could hire so many institutions so quickly that other super-rich people could do the same.
“In this way, we are opening an unprecedented window that could lead to other private individuals requesting similar treatment,” he said.
Nakajima is not only a billionaire, but also a singer and composer. He won a top prize at the seventh Tokyp pop festival, Japan’s version of the Eurovision Song Contest.
He has written several motivational books, including “Important Life Lessons I Learned from the Super Elite” and “Destiny Waits for You to Choose.”
He sold his stake in AmWay and later founded two of his own MLM companies
He entertained his 1,400 guests with a concert by Matteo Bocelli, son of the legendary tenor Andrea Bocelli
His extremely extravagant plans were originally supposed to be put into action in 2020 on the occasion of his 70th birthday
He rose through the ranks of multi-level marketing company AmWay when it expanded into Japan in 1979, making his fortune after selling his shares in the company before later starting his own companies.
AmWay sells household and beauty products and convinces customers to become paid distributors of the products.
Nakajima was one of the company’s best sellers when he worked for them.
In the 1990s, he made Amway history by doubling the sales of his group of approximately 750,000 distributors, and was reported to have once brought in 40% of the company’s business in Japan and 12% of the company’s global business.
“My future is so bright it’s almost scary,” he told interviewers at the time.