A timeline of style Fashion is an ever changing, evolving artform.


It absorbs and reinvents the world around us, incorporating elements such as pop culture, environment and even politics. Japanese fashion is no different, and sport has come to be part of the style landscape of the nation.

Athleisure. The rise of the skinny jogger. Yoga pants at work. The style and sport mix might seem like a recent development, but the rest of the world is just catching up to what Onitsuka Tiger has spearheaded since 1949. Established 70 years ago, Onitsuka Tiger was formed with the intent of revitalising the nation’s youth through the spirit of athletic endeavour. Creating the brand, which perfectly captures the modern spirit of stamping individual style over rigid rules, made Kihachiro Onitsuka a true visionary.

With this in mind, we’re going to take a look at the influence of sport in Japan’s history of fashion and how Onitsuka Tiger is woven into the tapestry of that history.



1949 – From its introduction to the nation in 1967, baseball now one of the most popular sports in Japan and the NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) League is formed. The Onitsuka Co Ltd is also created with the goal of using sport to ignite the spirit of the young people in Japan.

1950 – TIGER mark basketball shoes are released, instantly creating a design classic.

1964 – It’s a notable win for Japan at the Tokyo Olympic Games, with 16 gold medal wins, 5 silver and 8 bronze.

1965 – The Japanese national basketball team wins the FIBA World Championship. The BASKET DX shoes are launched, updating the classic design with special ventilation to release heat.

1966 – The now classic Onitsuka Tiger LIMBUR trainer design, which has since developed in to the MEXICO 66 line, is released with the first appearance of the ASICS stripe during pre-trials for Mexico Olympics.

1968 – It’s another great year at the Mexico City Olympics as Japan wins 11 gold medals, 7 silver and 7 bronze. Onitsuka Tiger becomes the official shoes for the Japanese delegation to the Mexico Olympics.

1969 - Onitsuka Tiger makes inroads into the US through the Blue Ribbon Shoe Company. The CORSAIR shoe is one of the designs that grew in popularity thanks to the expanding taste for jogging.

1971 – A  second win for the Japanese national basketball team at the FIBA World Championship.

1973 – The demands of the basketball court require a versatile shoe. Answering the calls for a specifically designed basketball shoe, Onitsuka Tiger makes the FABRE LE-L. Similarly, we also deliver one of the first lace up tennis shoes to the world with the LAWNSHIP 30.

1976 – Working with Margaret Court, winner of 24 Grand Slam titles, the LAWNSHIP 40-ML tennis shoe is developed to meet the needs of tennis players to create flexible, comfortable footwear on and off the court. Also the year, the LIMBERMONT shoe is released to commemorate the 1976 Montreal Olympics, adding EVA material for improved cushioning.

1977  - Jogging becomes a worldwide phenomenon, sweeping from the US to the shores of Japan and beyond. The ENDURO shoe is created to adapt to the needs of joggers, incorporating breathable and lightweight materials. However it is the MONTREAL II shoe that is marketed specifically for jogging enthusiasts.

1979 – The TIGER ARROW shoes are released, with shock absorbing holes in the heels, continuing the trend for jogging footwear. Although these jogging shoes are no longer part of the Onitsuka Tiger range, they helped to bring the concept of trainers to everyday life away from exclusively pro, or semi-pro training.

1984 – It’s a notable win in Los Angeles for Japan’s national Olympic baseball team as they beat the USA 6 to 3, taking the gold.

1989 – Aerobics begins to take hold of Japan, creating a buzz around athleticwear primarily for women, continuing to make athletic clothing more popular.

1990 – The first major NBA event (or event by any of the top sports leagues in the US) to be played outside America is in Tokyo. Utah Jazz is defeated by the Phoenix Suns in this notable Basketball match.

1999 - Young women adopt the Urahara style, which brings a more boyish fashion and more relaxed outfits including sweaters and trainers.

2004 – There are notable wins for Japan at the Athens Olympics, repeating the success of the 1964 Olympic games.

2010 – Expansion of the Shibuya area of Tokyo means an increase in bike riding, influencing another influx of trainers and athleticwear in fashion.

2015 – Japan excels in the Rugby World Cup, proving themselves in a shock victory over South Africa.

2017 – The trend of athleisure clothing grows, which doubles style and sports clothing for a multipurpose wardrobe. Sportswear cements its place as a fashion mainstay, graduation from tracks and courts to catwalks.

2019 – It’s a big year for Onitsuka Tiger, presenting exciting brand collaborations with Givenchy and Street Fighter. Our Spring/Summer 2020 collection also made its debut at our first catwalk show for Tokyo fashion week- the first fashion brand to present a show in the fitting, yet unusual surrounds of  running stadium,Shin-toyosu Brillia in Tokyo 

2020 – Tokyo 2020, or the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, begins on the 24th July until the 9th August, playing host to 206 nations from around the world, competing in 33 sports.