Japanese factory of sport shoes. In 1949 Kihachiro Onitsuka (1918) established 1949 the Onitsuka Co. Ltd. in Kobe, Japan. He started with the manufacture of basketball shoes, soon adding shoes for volleyball and track. In 1956, during the run-up to the Olympic Games in Melbourne, the positive result of close cooperatiion between manufacturers and athletes brought about an expansion of production in the areas of track and field, soccer, and skiing. During the three Olympiads of the 1960s, Rome in 1960, Tokyo in 1964 and Mexico in 1968, Onitsuka shoes were worn not only by Japanese athletes, but also by the best from other nations. An interesing story concerns the Ethiopian runner Abele Kibila who won the marathon in Rome running barefoot and was nicknamed “Barefoot Abebe.” Four years later, in Tokyo, only Mr. Onitsuka was able to convince him to wear shoes created expressly for him. Since then he became known simply as “Marathon King.” Starting in the 1960s, the company enjoyed incredible success and worldwide distribution. It brought to perfection new technologies and new materials, in 1985 creating a large testing laboratory called “R&D Department of Asics.” Digital and laser technology allowed the company to produce for each athlete custom shoes that were made-to-measure within a millimeter. At the Olympics in Sidney, Naoko Takahashi, who has one leg shorter than the other by a few centimeters, wore Asics. The three companies Onitsuka, GTO and Jalenk merged in 1977 to form Asics Corporation. In 2000, the designer Hitoshi Mimura became the leader of the company. Asics has points-of-sale and distributors all over the world, from the U.S. to Europe, from Latin America to China, and in Israel, Dubai, India, South Africa, the Philippines and Indonesia. The company has continued the commitment, almost a philosophy, of its founder, who was the author of two books — If You Fall Down, Just Stand Up and Asics: Kihachiro Onitsuka’s Philosophy of management — to form a healthy younger generation through athletics.