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Hitoshi Mimura, 61, a master shoemaker who retired from sporting goods company Asics Corp. in March, has started his own brand called M Lab and opened a workshop in Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture, in July.

Mimura, whose clientele include top athletes such as Seattle Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki and gold medal marathoners Naoko Takahashi and Mizuki Noguchi, set up his own venture with the view of making “much better shoes.”

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