Birthday boy billionaire buys up Sicilian city for the ultimate party for his 1,400 closest friends: Palermo’s hotels, theatre and opera house are booked out for Japanese businessman’s three-day event that’s angered locals
- Kaoru Nakajima hired several of Palermo’s most iconic locations for his birthday
- The eccentric billionaire is housing 1,400 of his closest friends for three days
- He hired out two five-star hotels to accommodate his guests in Palermo
Sicilians are furious that an eccentric Japanese billionaire has hired out several cultural institutions in Palermo for a three-day birthday extravaganza.
Kaoru Nakajima managed to hire out several of Palermo’s oldest and most iconic cultural institutions, including opera houses, theatres and centuries-old hotels, to celebrate his 73rd birthday.
The billionaire hired out the Teatro Massimo, Italy’s largest opera house and one of the largest in Europe.
He has also hired out the Politeama Theatre, and went as far as to order extra custom seating so that his guests could dance and dine in the 132-year-old institution, at a reported cost of 37,000 euros (£32,244).
Nakajima will be housing his 1,400 guests at both the five-star Villa Igiea, on Palermo’s beachfront, and the Grand Hotel et des Palmes, just a few miles away.
He is said to be feeding them with a banquet prepared by a celebrity chef, and entertained them with a concert by Matteo Bocelli, the son of the legendary tenor Andrea Bocelli, as well as a performance of Don Giovanni conducted the acclaimed Riccardo Muti, who is said to be a close friend of the birthday boy.
Kaoru Nakajima (pictured) managed to hire out several of Palermo’s oldest and most iconic cultural institutions
He was seen rubbing shoulders with several local politicians before and after the performance
His guests will be staying at the luxurious Villa Igiea, which lies on Palermo’s coastline
His guests will also be staying at the Grand Hotel et des Palmes, which is located just a few miles away from the Villa Igiea
Nakajima has hired out the Teatro Massimo, one of the most iconic cultural institutions in Palermo for a private rendition of Don Giovanni
He went as far as to spend over 30,000 euros on extra, custom seating in the Politeama Theatre so his guests could dance and dine
The billionaire, sporting an ornate cane, was seen being shown to an exclusive box in the Teatro Massimo, with the assistance of several people.
He was seen rubbing shoulders with several local politicians before and after the performance.
His friends and family, meanwhile, were seen posing for photos outside the venue.
He told an Italian media outlet shortly after the performance: ‘Palermo is beautiful.’
Despite his cheery outlook, not all had gone according to plan. Arrangements for a massive banquet on Sunday were scuppered after it was revealed that the celebrity chef he hired to cater for his guests was under house arrest for allegedly selling drugs out of his Palermo restaurant.
His plans, which were initially meant to be held in 2020 for his 70th birthday but were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been so disruptive that Sicily’s symphonic orchestra was moved to a smaller, less prestigious venue to make way for his extravagant celebrations.
His birthday plans were initially meant to be held in 2020 for his 70th birthday but were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Nakajima was seen sporting an ornate cane as he was escorted into an exclusive box in the Teatro Massimo
He was seen grinning as he told local reporters: ‘Palermo is beautiful’
Several close friends and family members were seen posing for photos outside the Teatro Massimo
Renato Schifani, the governor of Sicily, was not happy about the billionaire hiring out so many cultural institutions, telling an Italian news agency: ‘I’m a liberal person who has always been open to the private sector but there’s a limit to everything.’
He added that he was worried that Nakajima hiring out so many institutions so quickly may lead to other ultra-wealthy individuals doing the same.
‘In this way we are opening an unprecedented window, which could lead to other private individuals requesting similar treatment,’ he said.
Aside from being a billionaire, Nakajima is also a singer and a composer, having won a prize at the Tokyp pop festival, Japan’s version of Eurovision.
He has written several motivational books, including ‘Important Life Lessons I Learned from the Superelite.’
The billionaire made his fortune by rising up the ranks of AmWay, the American multi-level marketing firm
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, the son of the legendary tenor Andrea Bocelli
His wildly extravagant plans were initially set to go ahead in 2020 to celebrate his 70th birthday
He rose through the ranks of multi-level marketing company AmWay when it expanded into Japan in 1979, and made his fortune after selling his stake in the company, before later opening up his own MLM 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.
In the 1990s he made Amway history by doubling the sales of his group of roughly 750,000 distributors, and at one point was reported to bring in 40% of the company’s business in Japan.
‘My future is so bright that it’s almost scary,’ he told interviewers at the time.
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