Imagined Soccer World’s Positive Figure Yuki Otsu Transitions to Director of Ginza High-End Watch Store | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Imagined Soccer World’s Positive Figure Yuki Otsu Transitions to Director of Ginza High-End Watch Store

Exclusive Interview] Former Japan national team midfielder, who played for Kashiwa Reysol and other clubs, enters a new business world with his wife, TV Asahi announcer Keiko Hisatomi.

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In front of the showcase at Commit Ginza, ‘Welcome~’. The store boasts an annual revenue of 12 billion yen, with customers coming in constantly.

“Never would I have imagined myself becoming a watchmaker.”

In Ginza, Tokyo’s Chuo Ward, lined with high-end brand stores, a handsome man in a suit welcomed us at the brand-new headquarters of Commit Ginza, a specialist luxury watch store, with a gentle smile.

Yuki Otsu (34), former active-duty midfielder for the Japanese national soccer team who retired last year, assumed the role of director at the company in January this year. He has embarked on an entirely different field.

What brought them together was Otsu’s love for watches. After turning professional, he became fascinated with luxury watches, drawn to them by seeing David Beckham (49), a senior on his team and his idol at the time, wearing them. It was at Commit Ginza where they met while visiting famous shops.

“The atmosphere of the store, as well as the attentive and earnest customer service, are incredibly pleasant. Commit’s staff, many of whom are former athletes, added to the comfort. I was already a big fan of this store.”

On this day, it’s said that the ‘Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41’ Yuki Otsu was wearing was also purchased as a customer. As a heavy user visiting the store, getting to know the company’s representative led to this unusual career change.

“Right after announcing my retirement, I was delighted when the CEO approached me to work together. Although I had other offers, I think my heart was already set. I understood better than anyone how wonderful Commit is.”

As a director, Yuki Otsu’s main responsibilities include company PR and devising growth strategies, but he also stands at the storefront to assist customers whenever time allows.

“I’m just there normally (laughs). My main focus is wanting to be useful to someone. I founded a company called ‘Assist’ in 2019 because there weren’t any soccer schools where pros played together when I was a child. If it doesn’t exist, you have to create it yourself. Even though I’m criticized for being immature by kicking the ball seriously with kids, I receive positive feedback like experiencing the level of a pro helps me understand what I lack. Both Assist and Commit share the perspective of wanting to convey something good from the user’s perspective.”

Actually, as of last offseason, Yuki Otsu had one year left on his contract with Jubilo Iwata, but he decided to retire early stating that rather than remaining when he can’t perform at 100% due to injury, he wants to give young players a chance. He asserted that he had absolutely no anxiety about his second career.

“Far from feeling anxious, I panic because there are too many things I want to do (laughs). I actually dislike the term second career. When athletes retire, for some reason, it’s often thought that their previous experiences and careers amount to zero, and they become incapable of anything. That’s not the case. Yuki Otsu’s career doesn’t reset to zero upon retirement; it continues afterward. The soccer period may end, but the experience of mastering one thing leads into the next business period. I’m convinced of this, which is why I may not feel any anxiety at all.”



Relying on individual strength lowers overall performance. Understanding each member’s personality, allowing them to demonstrate their strengths in their respective fields, and fighting as a team is the shortcut to victory.

Motivated by low expectations, Yuki Otsu’s experiences as a soccer player, including the London Olympics’ impressive victory over powerhouse Spain with Otsu’s goal, are proving valuable in his post-retirement business ventures. Otsu asserted this.

When he debuted in the J-League, Otsu was initially known as the playboy with his sweet looks, brown hair, friendly character, and casual talk.

“It’s all just a character, though. But if that attention from the media comes because of it, there’s nothing sweeter than that. I enjoy riding along with it. I’m positive about everything.”

Keiko Hisatomi, a TV Asahi announcer who married in ’18 (35), also said in a later interview that she was told to date under the assumption of marriage, denying her husband’s playboy status.

“I don’t talk much with my wife about work. I trust and leave it to her. On the other hand, my wife can do things I can’t. That balance is very good. I’m really grateful for my wife’s presence. Please make sure to write that down, haha.”

Nowadays, he commutes to the office with the Nikkei newspaper in hand, living the days of moving away from the playboy.

“It’s genuinely enjoyable to learn things I didn’t know. I won’t say loudly that I like sealed bags, but I do read Friday magazine too, haha.”

Though the battlefield has shifted from the field to the office, there’s a sense that Otsu is poised to achieve something significant.

Otsu is 19 years old and was a member of Kashiwa Reysol. The sports newspaper introduced him as “a handsome dribbler who looks like Kim Tak!
With his wife Keiko (right). Otsu’s SNS often features information about his hobby of luxury wristwatches, as well as photos of him and his wife and children getting along well together.

From the July 5 and 12, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • Interview and text Masao Kurihara PHOTO Hiroyuki Komatsu (1st photo)

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