Ichiro Ogimura was a mythical figure in table tennis.
His offensive playing style and sharp mental focus drew inspiration from Samurai, martial arts, and zen philosophy. Substituting the sword for the paddle, he defined how the modern game is played.
In 1954, at the World Championships in Wembley, London, Ogimura entered the international table tennis stage for the first time.
With the whole world watching, the 21-year-old underdog from Japan defeated one world-class player after the next, becoming the first non-European player in history to win the World Championship title.
This was just the beginning. He would go on to win a total of 12 World Championship titles, making him one of the best players of all time.
Even beyond the court, Ogimura revolutionized the sport itself.
To perfect his game, he developed new, groundbreaking materials and equipment, ranging from rackets to apparel and footwear, becoming a pioneer in sportswear and sports equipment development.
After his active career, Ogimura traveled the world, coaching top-level national teams and training the next generation of World Champions like Hans Alser, Stellan Bengtsson, and Zhuang Zedong.
Crossing borders, Ogimura finds his future calling: bringing people, cultures, and even nations closer together through the sport of table tennis.
He becomes a key figure in the “Ping-pong Diplomacy” of the early 1970s, brokering a sports-led détente between the United States and the People's Republic of China.
His efforts also led to North and South Korea participating as a unified Korean Team at the 1991 Table Tennis World Championships in Chiba, Japan.