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Glove Designer Shigeaki Aso

• Shigeaki Aso, who has provided gloves to many major leaguers, was honored by the consulate General of Japan for his significant contributions to promote mutual understanding and friendship between the U.S. and Japan through his glove designing activities. The Consul-General’s Commendation presentation ceremony was held on May 13 at the official residence of Consul General Masaharu Yoshida, and he bestowed the award to him.

• Aso originally worked for a leather-goods trading company, which was also a sales agency of the Wilson Sporting Goods Co. Through his inspecting job in glove factories in South Korea and Taiwan, he obtained a comprehensive knowledge of baseball gloves. He designed his ideal gloves and began to offer them to major leaguers in 1985 and made big hits. He joined the Wilson Sporting Goods Co. as Development Manager in 1996, and has lived in Chicago since 1999.
• He has devoted himself to meeting major leaguers in spring training camps, watching their plays, touching their gloves, listening to them, reading their playing patterns, and designing the best glove for each player. Once his designed glove was completed in a factory in Akune, Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan, he shapes it along with a players hand and habit.
• Major leaguers have put a strong faith in Aso’s proficient skills and his warm personality. Some of them are Brandon Phillips, David Wright, Dustin Pedroia, Iván Rodríguez, Barry Bonds, Greg Maddux, Kirby Puckett, and Hideo Nomo.

• Consul General Masaharu Yoshida said, “I heard that major leaguers were increasingly looking for gloves Mr. Aso shaped and wanted to make contracts with Wilson. I understand why Wilson calls him ‘superhuman artisan’ or ‘Wilson’s exclusive treasure’. He has been also recognized in, and the News Week Japanese selected him as one of a hundred people, who are respected in the world. He has extended Japanese artisan skills to overseas through baseball, and his contribution not only promoted friendships and mutual understanding between the two countries, but also brought benefits to Japan through foreign relations.”

• Aso said, “I was really lucky when I look back at my life. I feel as if I walked a load to work on gloves from the beginning. I can’t remember any hardship and want to devote myself to support baseball lovers in the field of gloves. I’ll work hard to serve as a glove designer for 10 more years. ”

• Aso demonstrated how he shaped a glove. He soaked the glove in hot water and bashed it many times with a mallet. Shaping usually takes a full day.
• When he finished shaping, he presented it to Consul General Yoshida. Aso designed it and brought it as a surprise gift to him. The Japanese flag and the Star-Spangled Banner were arranged on the surface of the red and white colored glove.

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• Shigeaki Aso was born in 1945 in Ibaragi Prefecture. After graduating from high school, he joined Pacific Overseas, a trading company and a sales agency of Wilson. At first he worked in a golf glove factory in his home town and was transferred to its headquarters in Tokyo as a golf-glove-sales rep. A year later, he encountered a turning point, which influenced his whole life. He entered the Kansai University when he was 26 years old.

• Aso’s story includes Mike Scioscia, Iván Rodríguez, Barry Bonds, Craig Counsell, Dustin Pedroia, Hideo Nomo, Michael Jordan, and more.
• The full story is available in the Chicago Shimpo’s 2014, May 23rd. issue.


Shigeaki Aso smiles in front of the glove display at the Wilson Sporting Goods Co.


Aso (R) receives the Consul-General's Commendation from
Consul General Masaharu Yoshida.



Aso demonstrates how he shapes a glove.


Aso's model of catcher's mitt


An old model of catcher’s mitt