Photo: Ichiro Ogimura / By Aflo
This summer, Ichiro Ogimura’s （Ogi） table tennis notebooks were found at his home.
He won 12 world championship titles.Serves as the chairman of ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation).
He’s one of the most famous and honorable table tennis players in Japan.For his contributions to the development of the world’s table tennis, ITTF World Tour Japan Open has been giving the title of “Ogimura Cup” since 1995.
His son Kazuaki reads the life of “Mr. Table Tennis” from the notebook.
Ogi was born in 1932.He grew up during the World War2.
The father of Ogi passed away when Ogi was around 3 years old.They were not wealthy but he was full of energy and curiosity.At the end of the 2nd World War, he decided to be a part of the Kamikaze (suiceke) attack.
Later on, Ogi mentioned: “We do not have so many choice during youth time, so it is not so difficult to concentrate on table tennis and study. But there is a lot of choices to do now, so it is not so easy to concentrate on table tennis and study only.”
When the American Army occupied Japan, Ogi became interested in English so he attended English training school for a while.
He was a baseball player before he started playing table tennis. That junior team was quite good and he was the pitcher of it.
Eventually, Ogi started to be more interested in playing table tennis, so in order to keep him from leaving the baseball team, his team mates brought very good table tennis player from the University to challenge him and beat him in order to discourage him.
They gave him two reasons why he’s not going to succeed in it.
First, he’s not talented enough for it.
Second, he’s not fit enough and looks pale and has a tendency to develop lung illness.
He was shocked upon hearing it as lung illness was the cause of his father’s death, but that did not hinder him from pursuing his passion for table tennis.
In high school, his interest in the sport grew stronger especially upon seeing older students playing it beautifully.
They wanted to establish a table tennis club but didn’t have equipment and facilities, so they went to the principal to talk about it in July right after the new school year started on his first year in high school
They were allowed to do so but with three conditions:
1.no club room,
2.they need to spend money out of pocket for table table equipment
3.the school will not allocate budget for them
They had to work part time and got jobs that were physically demanding to raise funds to buy table tennis tables.
A lot of the part time jobs that time were connected to Yakuza (gang) and they wanted to keep distance from them, so it took them three months to save money for table tennis tables.
Before being able to buy their own table tennis tables, they went to other schools very often to practice. As the other schools began to notice their purpose, they were later on prohibited.
Finally, they got their own table on October. They carried it by a hand drawn cart from Shibuya to Suginami around 20 km.And Ogi’s table tennis life in high school started.
…to be continued.
Special Thanks：Labo Live