News Release

YANMAR to Sponsor Japanese Olympic 470-Class Sailing Team

July 8, 2014
Yanmar Co., Ltd.

YANMAR to Sponsor Japanese Olympic 470-Class Sailing Team

In a continuation of its efforts to promote its premium brand through sports, YANMAR is proud to announce its sponsorship of “Team Ichino,” Japan’s men’s 470-class sailing team, which will be competing in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics.  

Team Ichino is a sailing team comprised of Olympic trainees Naoki Ichino and Junpei Hokazono; the team is increasing its participation in large international races in order to achieve their ultimate goal of winning gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. As part of this effort, they are partaking in several races in and outside of Japan, including the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Sailing is an “eco-sport,” requiring only the natural energy sources of the wind and waves. Due to the nature of the sport and the company’s determination to create more environmentally responsible technologies, YANMAR has also been supporting “YANMAR Racing” (2008-2012), led by world-renowned sailor Peter Gilmour, and “Oracle Team USA” (2013-Present), champions of the 33rd and 34th AMERICA’S CUP.

Now, YANMAR will also back Team Ichino in its aim to support the dreams and endeavors of the next great generation of sailors.

The team’s first race, the Open 470 European Championships will be held on July 9 in Athens, Greece.

470-Class Sailing

470-class sailing takes place on two-man boats called “dinghies” that measure only 470 cm in length. The “skipper” is in charge of steering, while the “crew” controls the tilt of the vessel, and teams maneuver around buoys to be the first to reach the finish line.

In recent years, Japanese sailors have had impressive results on the international stage for this sport. At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Yumiko Shige and Alicia Kinoshita took home the silver medal, and at the 2004 Athens Olympics, Kazuto Seki and Kenjiro Todoroki won bronze.

Team Ichino

Teach Ichino featuring Naoki Ichino and Junpei Hokazono was formed in December 2013; both members have been aiming to become world class sailors since they were students.

Naoki Ichino won several Japanese sailing titles in high school and at university. He has admired world-class sailor Peter Gilmour since he was in elementary school, and remembers how much he cherished his Gilmour-autographed hat as a child.

Junpei Hokazono has also won his share of Japanese titles at university, and even took the bronze medal at the World University Games in 2011. He has a deep love for the sea and yachting. Since becoming fascinated with sailing in high school, Hokazono has continually pushed himself to become the world’s best sailor. 

The two team members remark, “Despite certain circumstances and almost giving up at one point, we are finally realizing our dream to race at an international level. Last year in December, we decided to compete for the opportunity to represent Japan in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. We won and now have our chance to go against the world’s best. Our ultimate goal is to win the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and we are working hard to achieve that. We aim to become sailors that will inspire people and spread interest for sailing throughout Japan.

“It has also been our dream since we were young to one day participate in another race that YANMAR supports, the AMERICA’S CUP. We could not be happier to have partnered with such an organization, and we firmly believe this is an enormous opportunity for us.

“We will make the most of this opportunity as we go up against the world’s best. We hope to be a team that can help establish a culture of sailing in Japan, and we have made that our mission. Sailing is an experience that cannot be described in words, but holds abounding possibilities.” 

Note: Information contained in News Releases is valid at the time of publication and may differ from the most recently available information.


Public Relations Group
General Affairs Div., Yanmar Co., Ltd.
TEL: +81-6-6376-6212
FAX: +81-6-6372-2455