CEO and Representative Director
Making sports succeed as a business using knowledge, philosophies and connections.
Only1 provides independent support for currently active athletes, instructors and other sports industry professionals. Now, as Japan embarks on a national effort to encourage and promote sports-related business, we are working to provide support for the growing number of people choosing to make sports their livelihood, with the objective of improving their quality of life and career prospects. We utilize knowledge in areas such as psychology and business management to examine sports from a business perspective, in order to develop and deliver new services. In November 2019, we are planning to open a Sports Hub Office workout, that will integrate and consolidate multiple business operations.
|Year of Birth||1989|
|Type of business||Total sports management|
My first step in starting this business was a tennis school for children, which started while I was still a player myself, in Minokamo City, Gifu. I only had five students, and at the time I made my way by working as a bartender, so I experienced the hardship of wanting to do something with sports, but things not going quite as well as planned.
I had been thinking about starting my own business since I was a student, but partly due to opposition from my parents I decided to join a major manufacturer of sporting goods. In actual fact, some co-workers (who joined the company at the same time) and senior colleagues who I encountered at that company are now staff working together with me; so I am grateful to have been able to meet such passionate team members. As someone with the experience of seeing sports from three different perspectives—as a player, as an instructor, and as a judo therapist (or “bonesetter”), I want to use that experience to assist today’s sports industry professionals.
One of Only1’s main business operations is training certified PFS (Psychology Formation Science) Sports Psychologists. This is an original sports-specialized psychology qualification created by Only1. Although the importance of mental health and attitude is highlighted in the sports industry, there is a trend towards not allocating money or time to mental (i.e. psychological) training. The reason for this is that, unlike muscle training and other physical training, it is difficult to explain the visible effects theoretically.
I realized the importance of mental training back when I was teaching at my tennis school. I was watching two first-grade elementary school students, who were identical twins. Their faces and body shapes were the same, and they had grown up living in the same environment. In fact, the only difference between them was their way of thinking. As a result of this, even if they displayed the same level of skill during practice, when it came to an actual match the older brother performed strongly, while the younger brother could never fully display his true ability.
It was when I saw just how much the outcome could differ depending solely on a person’s way of thinking, even for people with the same genes, that my attitude towards mental and psychological training changed. In Japanese, sports are sometimes expressed in terms of three aspects called shin (mental), gi (technical) and tai (physical). Inherent natural advantages in terms of technical and physical aspects are easily understandable, but I interpret this concept as meaning that inherent mental differences are also possible. In reality, many of the world’s best athletes do not have a mental trainer. In other words, I thought that there was demand for a service that would mentally train and strengthen athletes who are not naturally endowed mentally using theoretical training methods. Currently, demand from athletes for this kind of service is increasing, and the need for this qualification amongst people in positions supporting such athletes is increasing too. We provide finely-tuned services with personal one-on-one coaching.
Another of our business operations is a school named “Sports Management University.” The number of people starting businesses through sports as self-employed business people is increasing year by year. While of course this includes instructors and therapists, it also includes athletes. Amongst the athletes who I myself instruct there is actually a world No. 2, but because it is a minor sport that person currently receives less than ¥100,000 ($1,000 USD) after taxes and other deductions. Changing the structure of the industry itself will take time. I started this service because I thought that I would like to do something to help the situation, beginning with the people right in front of me.
Athletes have a tendency to focus solely on improving their skills in their chosen sport. In actual fact, though, all they are doing is living their lives as adult members of society with the job of sporting athlete as their profession. For self-employed business owners, the probability of surviving in society increases by eventually incorporating their business as a limited (or “joint-stock”) company. When the future of an enterprise includes the possibility of incorporation, even as a self-employed business person, it is necessary to become accustomed to managing oneself in the same way as a company.
Athletes must eventually face up to the idea of finding a second career. When coming to terms with one’s career, it is necessary to reexamine it from the same perspectives as the manager of a company: personnel, inventory, money and information. When considering how to get people to cooperate with you, the important point is not what you are doing, but whether you have a philosophy of what you want to do and for what reasons. At the end of the day, being an athlete is just another occupation. If you think of it simply as a tool for achieving the realization of your philosophy, then as long as you have a solid philosophy it is still possible to build a career, even if your occupation changes. I want to provide support that will enable people to shape their careers, regardless of their occupations, by nurturing a philosophy for offering something to society through their work, and the communication abilities needed to convey that philosophy to other people.
We will soon be launching Sports Hub Office workout, which consolidates the business operations that I have already touched upon, with the addition of services that further consider connections between sports industry professionals. When I use the term sports industry professionals, there is actually a wide range of occupations, and horizontal connections between then are quite poor. It is not only that there are no connections, but that people in each profession have an excessive sense of respect for the job that they themselves are doing, and clinging to this creates isolation.
In actual fact, however, learning about other fields rather than specializing in just one particular field often leads to a paradigm shift, and to the creation of better services. We wanted to provide opportunities for creating these kinds of synergies, and so were mindful of creating an environment that would facilitate gatherings and communication.
As a form of support for people launching independent businesses, we have introduced rental rooms and open lounges, along with options enabling corporate registration. In addition to allowing users to have an office that will ensure trust and confidence while keeping costs to a minimum, it is also possible that people encountered there may eventually become collaborators. We hope that it will become a place where people who are interested in investing in new sports-related businesses can come together; a place for creating relationships based around sport.
When we talk about sports business now, it is hard for people to understand what it is that we are actually doing, specifically. I want us to continue to expand our operations, and to make proactive attempts at challenges in new areas, so that the name Only1 might become synonymous with doing sports business.
I am also interested in sports-related IT, and I have the dream of creating a culture in which people with various conditions, including those with physical disabilities, can use their brains to enjoy sports in the world of virtual reality. I hope that Only1 will become a presence that can lead sports culture into a new dimension.
|Year of Birth||1989|
|Type of business||Total sports management|