On February 8, 2023, clothing giant UNIQLO published newspaper ads in the morning papers to honor former wheelchair tennis player Shingo Kunieda (38), who retired from the company.
Kunieda, who has a disability in the lower part of his body, thanked him for choosing wheelchair tennis. A similar message was posted on UNIQLO’s official Twitter account, and people who saw it said, “I almost burst into tears” and “It’s too nice.”
Uniqlo published a newspaper ad thanking Kunieda (provided by Fast Retailing)
Mr Kunieda was impressed when he saw the ad (via Twitter)
“With thanks and thanks for your achievements so far”
Kunieda, who was born in Chiba Prefecture, was paralyzed from the lower half of her body due to a spinal cord injury at the age of 9 and became a wheelchair user, and started playing wheelchair tennis at the age of 11. He won a gold medal in men’s doubles at the Paralympic Games in Athens 2004. After that, he won gold medals in men’s singles at the Paralympic Games in Beijing, London, and Tokyo. In 1922, he won Wimbledon, becoming the first player to win a lifetime Golden Slam (winning four majors and a gold medal in the Paralympics).
On January 22, 2011, Kunieda announced on Twitter that he had “done enough” and announced his retirement. A retirement conference was held on February 7. Kunieda is reportedly being considered for a National Honor Award.
On the 8th, the day after Kunieda’s retirement press conference, UNIQLO, to which Kunieda belongs, posted advertisements in the morning editions of Asahi Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, and Nihon Keizai Shimbun to thank Kunieda for his retirement. The 11-year-old boy Kunieda, who started playing wheelchair tennis on his mother’s recommendation, became a great player and contributed to the popularity of sports for people with disabilities.
A spokesperson for Fast Retailing, which operates Uniqlo, told J-CAST News on the 9th, “I wanted to send this to Mr. Kunieda to express my appreciation and gratitude for his accomplishments.”
The message actually reached Mr. Kunieda. On the morning of the 8th, Mr. Kunieda saw a newspaper ad and posted it with an emoji of tears, saying, “Oh, oh, oh.” The same message as the ad was posted on UNIQLO’s official Twitter account, and among users, “I almost cried”, “It’s too great”, “I can cry no matter how many times I read it”, ” 11-year-old Shingo Kunieda, his mother, and UNIQLO It’s beautiful,” said a voice of excitement.
Regarding the future relationship with Mr. Kunieda, the person in charge of the company said, “I will continue to work with Mr. Kunieda, who is UNIQLO’s Global Brand Ambassador, to contribute to the world, such as social contribution activities that ‘focusing on the ‘UNIQLO Next Generation Development Programme’ to support children. We would like to work together to make things better.”