Earlier today at a press conference in downtown Tokyo, Rakuten announced a new affiliation partnership with professional golfer Mone Inami — the first such partnership Rakuten has entered with a professional golfer. The 22-year-old star and native of Tokyo has been playing golf since the age of 10 and just finished the most successful season of her career.
“Mone Inami is truly the future of Japan women’s golf. She is a player who will leave her mark on golf history.”Mickey Mikitani, Chairman & CEO, Rakuten Group
In addition to representing the company as an official Rakuten-affiliated athlete starting this season, Inami will play on tour sporting a Rakuten logo-bearing cap, golfwear and caddy bag. The golf star will also assist with marketing activities across a range of Rakuten Group services, beginning with content targeted at golf enthusiasts for Rakuten GORA, one of Japan’s leading golf reservation services. In addition, Inami will appear as the pro tournament host at the Rakuten Super Ladies golf tournament to be held by the Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association of Japan (JLPGA), with Rakuten serving as the title sponsor, from July 28-31, 2022.
A banner year
Inami played in 45 of the 52 JLPGA tournaments held in the 2020-21 season, scoring in the top 10 on 25 occasions and ranked first in most top-ten appearances for the season. She won a total of nine tournaments on the tour and claimed the top spot for the most prize money earned for the year. Inami’s excellent record has captured the attention of golf fans both in Japan and abroad, and she is currently one of the most-watched players in the game.
“I am delighted to join the Rakuten Group as a company-affiliated athlete. It is a great honor to become part of the Rakuten family, which supports top athletes and teams around the world,” commented Inami. “So many exciting things have happened since Rakuten began offering their support last season, from becoming an Olympic medalist and winning major tournaments to taking the top spot in most prize money earned for the year.”
Inami also shared her thoughts on the coming season. “This year’s season is about to begin, and as I prepare to play under the Rakuten banner, I am also preparing to get back to basics, start the year afresh and aim for my first win of a new season. While the pandemic has yet to subside, I will continue working hard to deliver excitement — and something to smile about — to my fans, who continue to cheer me on even while experiencing hardships of their own.”
A track record of success
Rakuten and Inami launched a sponsorship agreement in April 2021, with the company supporting the rising star in her professional career. Under the contract, Inami has presented training methods and club settings on the Rakuten Golf Channel, a YouTube channel provided by Rakuten GORA, which has been received favorably by viewers. With today’s new affiliation partnership, Inami joins the Rakuten family as a Rakuten athlete, and the company will provide comprehensive support for Inami’s professional golfing activities, as it seeks to contribute to the golf industry and the world of professional sport.
“Mone Inami is still only 22 years old and she has already captured the top money earning spot, with nine tournament wins just last season. This is incredible — the kind of results no one has ever seen before. And not only that, she also won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics … she’s got a very bright future ahead of her,” commented Rakuten Group chairman and CEO Mickey Mikitani at the press conference held earlier today to welcome Inami to the Rakuten family.
“Mone Inami is truly the future of Japan women’s golf. She is a player who will leave her mark on golf history,” continued Mikitani. “Rakuten will keep cheering for her as hard as we can.”