Yamamoto’s exuberant clothes and cheerful personality were belied, he said, by a darkness that stemmed from a difficult childhood.
His parents divorced when he was seven and he was sent to a children’s home hundreds of kilometers away.
He traveled with his two younger brothers — aged five and three — from Yokohama, next to Tokyo, to the far-flung southwestern province of Kochi.
“How much I envied the lights of happy families that I saw from the window of the slow train at dusk. It was lonely and I still can’t forget that.”
And while he was an instant success when he first presented his clothes in London in 1971, he faced a harsh reception initially in Paris, something he worked hard to overcome.
The key, Yamamoto said, was to “keep up the spirit of challenge”.
It was a mantra he lived by throughout his life, and in 2018 he declared his ambition to make it to the North Pole, a dream that was dashed by his diagnosis with leukemia.
“No life is ever full of good things,” he said in 2017.
“I’ve had a lot of hard times. But because there are hardships, the joy that comes from overcoming them is also great.”