Ichiro is the Japanese major league baseball player who plays in Seattle Mariners. Recently, he sets the consecutive 200 hits-season record for 6 years and nearly overtakes the world record of 8 consecutive 200 hits season by Willie Killer. He has been playing in the United States since 2000. His accomplishment includes becoming rookies of the year in 2001 with 242 hits, .350 batting average and 56 stolen bases and breaking the world record with 262 singles in 2004. Being five times Golden Glove Winner, he had been selected for all star game 6 times from 2001 to 2006 which indicates his high recognition by both American and Japanese baseball fans. His success as first position player to play regularly in Major League Baseball had given other Japanese baseball players the chance to challenge in the U.S. As a result, the best known slugger in Japan, Hideki Matsui, entered the American market to test his ability at the World level. Ichiro is the one who not only proved that the Japanese baseball player can compete in the U.S, but also brought new style to play baseball to the U.S. where homerun hitters were valued dominantly. Some Japanese critics describe him as Samurai, old Japanese warrior, who is physically and mentally disciplined. His success is attributed to habit of learning which he acquired in his childhood through his father. By leaning, his performance is keeping evolving.
Ken Griffey Jr( Ichiro met him at the Spring camp of 1999 and was inspired by him. It led him to
think to play in the major league.)
Oh Sadaharu( He is the world homerun record of 868 holder who played from 1959 to 1980 in Japan.
He was the manager of Japan national team in World Baseball Classic in 2006.)
Tomonori Maeda(Japanese baseball player in Hiroshima carp whom Ichiro greatly respects.)
When Ichiro said he wants to become a professional baseball player, his father promises him practicing every day. He brought him to batting center and Ichiro was capable of hitting 150km/h when he was elementary student. He gave him training menu which makes him excellent baseball player.
Hideo Nomo became successful first major league baseball player as a Japanese pitcher. Japanese people had expected other Japanese hitters to play in the major league.
Ichiro wrote in his graduation essay of elementary school about his dream. He stated “I am sure I can become the professional baseball player because I practice more than anybody else does. After I become professional baseball player, I invite people who took care of me to my game. “ He was seeing the vision clearly and it motivated him to keep going forward.
The manager of previous Japanese baseball team found out his outstanding ability to hit and was convinced that he will be the star of his team and also the best player in Japan. He let him to be called “Ichiro” instead of using the name “Suzuki”, which is the most popular Japanese surname.
Switching from right to left handed hitter, so he can generate more infield hits with flee-foot.
He is relatively small body size, so he created the batting form called pendulum swing in order to hit the ball harder.
He used to be pitcher, but changed the position to outfielder, so he can fully utilize his strong arm.
Adjusting to American baseball style that the pitcher throws faster than Japanese pitcher and prefer playing straightforward. Building stamina was another task to endure tighter schedule.
Target Market (America and Japan)
Japanese Feeling: People are interested to know how Japanese best baseball player can manage
overseas. Even though Japanese would lose the hero in Japan, they want to keep tracking on him.
Japanese Thinking: If player is accepted in the major league, he would be considered as standard baseball player. In order to be recognized as standard, baseball players in Japan should challenge in the U.S. Some Japanese hitter can compete in the U.S. because Hideo Nomo proved that Japanese player can perform well.
American Feeling: Loving to watch giant player hitting the dynamic homerun. They anticipate players to be creative and technical with strong power.
American Thinking: American fans are critical to evaluate the performance. Size does not matter as long as the player shows high quality performance on the field.
Japanese fans can enjoy watching Japanese baseball player playing in major league every day. Moreover, he will give next generation baseball player dream and high standards.
American fans will have opportunity to watch Japanese ways of playing baseball.
Concept: Ichiro can be bridge between Japanese and American baseball. He can contribute improving Japanese baseball standard and making baseball international sports.
Idea: Accepting the vote of all star game from Japan.
Product: Japanese sophisticated hit generating machine which maintain high performance. Japanese fans can receive the joy every time he hits.
Price: He will bring more Japanese fans to the stadium. Most of Japanese people knows Ichiro and watched him broadcasted on TV, so the owner company of Mariners, Nintendo, can increase publicity from Asian in the United States.
Promotion: Establishing the new image of Japanese through his creative play. Speak English to answer the interview, so the message will be conveyed directly to the American fans.
Place: The outfield where the place is called “Area 51.”
Implementation Strategy: contributing to the victory of the team by leading front.
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