Japanese Sports Giant Mizuno Takes NFT Plunge with Judo, Running, Soccer Offerings

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
A pair of football or soccer boots rest on the inside netting of a goal on a football or soccer pitch.

The Japanese sports giant Mizuno has launched its first line of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – becoming the latest sportswear titan to enter the field.

In a Mizuno press release, the firm explained that it had launched three sets of tokens – one for each of the sports it specializes in. The NFTs have been released on the OpenSea platform, where they will be sold at auction on the Ethereum network.

The company is one of the world’s biggest judo gi manufacturers. It has provided competitive sportswear for national judo teams in Japan, the USA, Brazil, and France.

The firm explained that it had commissioned a digital artist named Ryokke Draw to create artworks featuring representations of a number of Japanese champion judo practitioners. These include the men’s champions Naohisa Takafuji and Hifumi Abe and the Tokyo Olympics women’s 78kg gold medallist Naori Hamada.

A piece of digital art depicting a number of Japanese professional judo practitioners.
The artwork for one of Mizuno’s judo-themed NFTs. (Source: Mizuno)

Ryokke Draw has previously worked with firms like ESPN on mixed martial arts (MMA)-related digital art.

Outside the world of martial arts, Mizuno is mainly known as a manufacturer of running and soccer (football) footwear. The company is one of the main sponsors of the Osaka Marathon, a World Athletics Gold Label race, and one of Japan’s most significant sporting events.

The company’s running-themed NFTs comprise seven unique commemorative Osaka Marathon-themed Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro running shoes – one in each color of the rainbow. Each NFT can be redeemed for “actual shoes in the same design.”

The company wrote that the “actual” shoes would be the “only” ones of their kind “in the world.”

The firm has also launched three redeemable NFT soccer (football) boots in its Mizuno Alpha range.

More than Mizuno: Japanese Players Eye NFT Expansion

Mizuno noted that the items would be auctioned on OpenSea, with bids closing at midnight Japan Standard Time on March 31. Bidding will open at ethereum (ETH) 0.5 for the running items and wrapped ethereum (WETH) 0.3 for the judo artwork and soccer attire.

The Japanese government has singled out NFTs as a growth engine – and has attempted to facilitate the sector’s growth by launching a dedicated ministerial-level task force.

The government has also sought to promote NFT-related business by handing out NFT awards to local government bodies.