Kihachiro Onitsuka was born in 1918 in Kobe, Japan. He started his life as a salary man in the postwar days but his boss was a person who sought nothing but his own interest, so Onitsuka walked out on him.
As a survivor of the war, he had a thought that it was his mission to help the young to become good members of the society. Then one day Onitsuka heard the saying, "If you pray to god, pray for a sound mind in a sound body." He knew that sport was the best way to educate the young intellectually, morally, and physically. He chose to make sports shoes because he thought it would be the best way for him to help the young play sports.
He was a beginner of shoemaking. After much trials, errors, and many days and nights in his office, he delivered his first basketball shoe to a high school head coach Onitsuka was told that his shoes could hardly be called basketball shoes and that he had to learn more about the game. Onitsuka took the coach’s advice and checked the movement of the athletes during practice; finding out that grip of great importance.
When Onitsuka's mother made vinegared cucumber with octopus for dinner one evening, his eyes suddenly focused on the octopus suction cups, and thought of applying the octopus suction system to the shoe soles popped up. But the new shoes had so much grip that the players tumbled over. Then, Onitsuka made the suction cups shallower, producing Onitsuka Tiger Basketball shoes that allowed for quick stops and dashes. The high school team that wore his shoes won the championship.
His confidence rose with the production of quality shoes, but still the brand awareness was low and there were no distribution channels. Onitsuka became a traveling salesman, but rather than
staying in hotels, he slept on benches in train stations. He started suffering from tuberculosis and the doctor told him to get hospitalized right away. Fortunately, a new medicine was introduced. As he regained his health, he became more positive, and he began to increase the types of athletics shoes. Within a year, the disease struck again and the doctor said he was dying