At their very core ASICS believe it’s important to escape the hustle and bustle and the stress of everyday life and that’s why they put so much technology and emphasis into their products so you can get out there and enjoy that experience of being out staying healthy and playing lots of sport. Hiro: Chris, good morning
Chris: Konnichi wa Hiro San Hiro: Shall we go ahead to ASICS?
Chris: Yes let’s go Chris: Hiro, how long have you been with the company? Hiro: Actually this is my 20th year so I’ve already spent more than 19 years with the company. Chris: Can you tell me kind of what the decision on why ASICS is here in Kobe? Hiro: Our founder Kihachiro Onitsuka started this company in Kobe that’s why we stay in Kobe. Chris: What was Onitsuka’s vision in starting the company? Hiro: He’s not the guy who want to just make a good high-performance product but what he wanted to do was just to save the children after WWII. Some kids didn’t have their parents some kids didn’t have anything so they they had to do something that’s not really nice but once he saw all of those kind of things he thought he wanted to save those kind of kids and lives and maybe even Japan I think. Chris: I learned on this trip the name ASICS is an acronym for a Latin phrase can you explain that? Hiro: Right, it is anima sana corpore sano which means in English “sound mind sound body”. Chris: A sound mind and a sound body really encompasses the mission that guides ASICS to this day Kihachiro Onitsuka founded the company as a way to help the people of Japan recover from the Second World War. He believed that sports had a way of lifting people’s spirits especially during tough times which is as true now as it was then. My name is Kamikawa. I work in the Sports Marketing Division of Asics Japan supporting our top athletes, including those at clubs and universities. We work with the athletes on wear testing, gathering feedback and ultimately improving the prototypes. Waseda tennis club is one of the top university tennis programs in Japan. They’ve won the championship for 13 years in a row. Sarah: Hi I’m Sarah Mundy I am the Global Category Marketing Manager for Core Performance Sports and I also look after the strategy for Core Performance Sports specifically. I think we’re really fortunate in the fact that a lot of our athletes have really really been great to work with they all give us phenomenal insights and phenomenal input in terms of our product technology but two of the athletes that stand out first specifically I’d have to say is definitely Novak, he’s been great on that front and then from a woman’s perspective I’d have to say Julia Görges. She’s absolutely great and from a woman’s perspective I think she gives some nice insight in terms of product technology and helping us take that into our product Chris: By supporting Junior athletics ASICS continues to pursue its founders’ mission. At the elite level players such as Novak Djokovic and Julia Görges put the shoes to the ultimate test making sure they’re ready for you to wear to your local courts. The direct feedback from some of the World’s top athletes is of the utmost importance to us. Often, their responses revolve around how they feel about the shoes. We have to quantify this in order to create better product. For example, when an athlete requests the “right weight” and wants a “flexible” shoe, we must ask why. Once we have a better understanding of the need, we are able to quantify the information through our testing process. Using the data collected, we create new samples and if it performs better than the previous model, we have the athletes test it again. We test and test until we get it right and the new model outperforms the last and satisfies the needs of the athlete. I really think that someone who hasn’t necessarily worn ASICS products before should get themselves into our product, purely because it is really really the best technologically advanced athletic footwear and I think once they find themselves in our product they’ll probably never look back. Naturally for ASICS we’re a product lead business but I think first and foremost is making sure that you have the correct product on your feet which ultimately contributes to an amazing experience that you will have in terms of any sport that you obviously participate in but for us I think more than that it really is around the beauty that sport brings to communities it is around crossing race, age, and cultural barriers and we’ve seen that sport has the epitome to do that. So for us it’s really important to be able to contribute to consumer experiences we sponsor some really really great events that are all around getting people moving and ultimately sharing these experiences with their friends and we all know that great experiences lead to a great and happy life. Having met some of the members of team ASICS and got to know them it’s apparent at how passionate they are about the products they produce. Each new version of a product has to outperform the previous version but it’s more than just about that it’s about enhancing the overall experience and by giving athletes the best possible products that give them that best possible experience.