by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Standing on the stairs with a gracious smile to welcome her guests was Takako Osawa, since September 2016, the President of Butterfly, previously occupying the position of Chief Operations Officer but most importantly a table tennis player.
Perhaps not quite to the level of the players her company sponsors but introduced to the sport by her father, a coach in Tenri, not too far from Osaka, I suspect she is better than her modest nature admits.
Most importantly, she understands the sport, understands the needs of players, tournament organisers and all concerned in promoting the best ideals of table tennis.
“It’s a family occasion, we have many customers all over the world, we have players we sponsor all over the world; they all come for the big event, the World Championships, so it’s a good opportunity to bring everyone together.” Takako Osawa
Quite simply the Butterfly ideals established by the late Hikosuke Tamasu in the desperate days as Japan recovered from the destruction inflicted by the events of World War Two, have been maintained.
“Mr Tamasu wanted to produce the best equipment possible and also to create a good atmosphere; he was a top player, he did not have good equipment, he was motivated. We follow his example. My aim is to make sure that we continue to produce goods of the very highest quality; that is far more important than any position I may hold.” Takako Osawa
High quality; that fact was reflected by the fare on offer and the ambient surroundings in which the Butterfly party was staged; quality as with the company’s shone through.
“Not only the staff from Japan and Europe but also from other subsidiary offices were welcomed guests last night. We hope all guests alongside the whole Butterfly staff felt “included” in the Butterfly family.” Takako Osawa
A family occasion but that perhaps suggests the occasion is closed and for a restricted group; those who wear the two wings on their shirts. It is quite the opposite, the very opposite, the doors are thrown wide open.
“Players, coaches, officials, everyone together; we welcome players and people from other companies; through Butterfly we all come together, we share the moment, we are pleased and proud to share the moment. We also hope to continue this tradition in the future.” Takako Osawa
The tradition is established.