Yonex Founder Yoneyama Dies at 95

Economy Society

Tokyo, Nov. 17 (Jiji Press)--Minoru Yoneyama, the founder and former president of major Japanese sporting goods maker Yonex Co. <7906>, died of old age at a hospital in Niigata Prefecture last Monday. He was 95.

A native of the city of Nagaoka in the central Japan prefecture, Yoneyama was initially making such products as wooden fishing floats. After sales of the goods slumped, he switched to rackets of badminton, which was starting to boom in the country at the time.

After establishing Yoneyama Co., the predecessor of Yonex, in 1958, he expanded its businesses into tennis rackets and golf clubs, and fostered the company into one of the world's top makers of these products.

Yonex has supported such female professional tennis players as Martina Navratilova and Kimiko Date. The company now has contracts with female tennis star Naomi Osaka, male badminton player Kento Momota and other athletes.

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