Sneakers- Hunting in Japan Volume One finally ran into the elephant in the middle of the sneakers room. A company so influential that the American giant Nike began with it.
You can’t really discuss sneakers in Japan without starting at the beginning. The beginning of sneakers in Japan was Kihachiro Onitsuka’s Onitsuka Tiger sneakers, now ASICS, in 1949. 1949 was a watershed year for Japanese industry. As American occupation eased pachinko producer Marushin Bussan (now NewGin) and auto parts giant Denso along with many other now substantial companies opened for business.
A Sneaker sole, inspired by a sucker in Mr. Onitsuka’s octopus salad was his first sneaker innovation in 1951. The “Octopus” sneaker became an immediate success. The Onitsuka Co. ltd merged with GTO, and Jelenk in 1972 to become ASICS. The company grew by leaps and bounds into the nineties.