The ‘Frog King’, Kosuke Kitajima, at the Olympics

The Life of Kosuke Kitajima

His Family and His childhood

Kosuke Kitajima was born on September 22, 1982, in Tokyo, Japan. He is currently one of the many athletic celebrities in Japan and the very few who became famous for swimming. There are not that many information regarding his family life other than the fact that he was born in Tokyo and he grew up in the city. He started swimming at the young age of five and has been a competitive swimmer in his junior years.

By Tsutomu Takasu (All Japan Championships) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Early Education and Career

The first time he truly gained popularity in Japan was when he won the gold medal in the 2003 World Championships. He finished first for a 100m event, also first for the 200-meter event, and a bronze for the 400m medley relay. Prior his debut win in the 2003 World Championships he had been competing numerous times for a number of events and swim meets. His official event is in breaststroke and has been dubbed as the ‘Frog King’ of Japan because of his powerful kicks and swimming techniques.

Kosuke Kitajima’s Wife and Children

Kosuke Kitajima was married to Chisa Maekawa in 2013 after dating years prior ending up in marriage. His wife is a popular member and vocalist of the pop idol group Girl Next Door which debuted in 2008. Then, also late that year the happy couple announced that they are expecting their first child by spring of the following year. After being married and announcing their first child, Chisa finally announced that she is retiring from her pop idol group to focus on more personal matters like taking care of her family.

The Beginnings of a Career

He started swimming at the age of five and enjoyed the sport as a hobby. It was in a school where he learned to appreciate the value of the sport when he was chosen to represent his school in the division, regional, and soon national competitions and swim meets. He decided to professionally become a swimmer in the late 1990s when he was in university. However, it was his gold medal win in 2003 that put him on the map. Little did he know that in a decade or so, his name would be in almost every billboard in Japan and he will use his fame to promote sportsmanship to the youth of his country. Up until the time he retired, he had been swimming for more than 27 years where half of it swam professionally. He retired as a champion, is a multi-awarded Olympian in his field.

Kosuke Kitajima’s Olympic Journey

Kosuke Kitajima has been in the Summer Olympic games three times in his entire career. In these events, he never failed to wow his supporters and fans. He was able to swim with famous personalities like Michael Phelps at one point in his career. He is a world record holder and a world title holder, as well.

2004 Athens Summer Olympics

This was the first time Kitajima ever represented Japan in the Olympic scene. His win in the 2003 World Championships landed him a slot at the 2004 Olympic team. He successfully represented Japan and brought home both glory and fame in his Olympic debut. He was able to win a new Olympic Record for his 100m breaststroke event with a total time of only 1.00.08 where he won his first Olympic gold. For the 200m breaststroke event, he was able to win the bronze medal. He also won a bronze for the 400 m medley relay.

2008 Beijing Summer Olympics

Even though Kitajima was an Olympic gold medallist in the 2004 Athens Olympics, he still came back to the 2008 Olympics much stronger and more experienced. He won two gold medals – one for the 100m breaststroke event and another for the 200m breaststroke event. He still won a bronze for the 400m medley relay. During this time he was more focused and he really wanted to add more achievements to his list. Prior to his new Olympic run, he had joined the Pan Pacific games and the World Championships for 2005, 2006, and 2007.

By Jmex60 [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

2012 London Summer Olympics

On the other hand, the 2012 Olympics has proven that Kitajima was getting much older and less fit than his younger days. It is also proof that there are much younger athletes in the games now and winning using the same techniques might not wing it this time around. Despite that, he still ranked 5th for the 100m breaststroke event. He also still ranked 4th in the 200m breaststroke event. Finally, he gained a silver medal for the 400m medley relay.

General Statistics and Profile

Physical Profile

  • Kosuke Kitajima Height – This swimmer, as required by his sport, is tall and slender. He stands at a height of 1.78 m and weights 72kg. However, his height did not reach the ideal standard for a swimmer. Some experts say that the ideal height for a swimmer is around 1.9m But for the Japanese demographic, this is not the normal height. Despite the lack in height, Kitajima compensated with more passion and talent.
  • Kosuke Kitajima Age – Currently, Kitajima is 35 years old but has effectively retired at the age of 33. He started swimming at the young age of 5 and had been doing the sport for more than 25 years. On top of that, he had been competitively swimming for more than a decade. Since his retirement, he has become a part of the Tokyo Metropolitan swimming Association and has been using his popularity in encouraging the younger generations of swimmers to indulge in the sport.

Titles and Awards

Kitajima has won multiple awards throughout his career. He is a three-time Olympian who took home multiple gold medals and he is also a multiple world title holder. He held the 2003 first place title for 100m and 200m breaststroke events. He placed 3rd in the 2005 World Championships. He also placed 3rd in the Pan Pacific games in 2006 for the 100m breaststroke event while placing second for both 200m breaststroke singles and 400m medley relay.

He won the gold title again in the 2007 World Championships for 200m breaststroke singles and won silver for both the 100m singles event and the 400m medley relay. He held first place in the 2008 Japan Open and the Pan Pacific games 2010. He has announced his retirement in 2016 after failing to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

Kosuke Kitajima’s Net Worth

Kosuke Kitajima had been in the industry for quite a long time and had won multiple gold medals in his career. Because of this, he had gained international fame. He immediately gained a wide range of sponsorship that is added to his total year-on-year salary. Many sources say that his net worth as of 2018 is a whopping 500,000 USD. Although this is not such a large net worth, he still uses his popularity to fund games and tournaments for the youth.

Kosuke Kitajima Under Water

Kosuke Kitajima’s Training school

This particular athlete opened up KITAJIMAQUATICS which is a swimming school established in 2011. It focuses on using “Perform Better Japan” techniques for teaching young kids proper training exercises, warmups, and methods. After his retirement from the professional scene, Kitajima aims to help young athletes fulfill their dreams. On the other hand, this school also aims to provide an avenue for non-athletes to learn the sport. They even offer up adult classes for the frustrated swimmers. The goal of KITAJIMAQUATICS is to “let other people like swimming” not only as a profession but as a hobby or a form of recreation.

By JD Lasica from Pleasanton, CA, US (Glenn Snyders & Kosuke Kitajima) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Kosuke Kitajima’s Technique: Perform Better Japan

This is Kosuke Kitajima’s new company that provides improved training and training equipment for the younger generation of athletes in Japan. It was formed by Kosuke Kitajima and Dr. Takeshi Suzuki as they combine their knowledge in both training and educating young athletes in a variety of sports, particularly swimming. This particular company focuses on providing seminars not only to athletes but to their carers, trainers, coaches, and the like. It also caters to fitness experts and physical therapists as well. The company focuses on imparting new technology and knowledge in improving and honing the skills of young athletes.

Everything Kosuke Kitajima

Kosuke Kitajima Merchandise

There are a number of Kitajima merchandise which are being sold on his official website. These include swimwear for men. There are also selections of sports attire like jersey pants, sweatshirts, hoodies, and the like. There are also tote bags and gym bags available in his store. He also sells four of his books and magazines on his page.

Kosuke Kitajima Instagram and other Social Media

He has a website of his own where he promotes his swim school and his new company. This is where he keeps in touch with his fans and supporters. This is also where he keeps his announcements and updates. Finding him on social media is always a fun experience which is why he has numerous followers on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Kosuke Kitajima Cup

As a means of promoting Perform Better Japan and KITAJIMAQUATICS, he holds an annual Kosuke Kitajima Cup. It is an avenue for both novice and experienced swimmers. It is an open competition wherein swimmers from different parts of Japan and different age groups can enter. It is a two-day event which could open avenues for aspiring athletes. It is also a place where scouts discover their new prodigies. For this event, special bonuses are given for those who will break Japanese National Records and New World Records.

Famous Rivals

Brendan Hansen

  1. Born in 1981, Brendan Hansen is pretty much Kitajima’s closest rival. He had won a multiple gold medals from the Olympics and has a world record to his name. In the international arena, he has won a total of 25 medals where eighteen are gold, four are silver, and three are bronze. These medals have been won in the World Championships, the Olympics, and the Pan Pacific games. He used to be a part of the US Olympic team. Kitajima and Hansen dueled in the 2005 World Championships and the 2004 Summer Olympics as well. It was Hansen’s world record that Kitajima beat in 2011 and 2008. The two athletes keep it friendly and professional in their events despite the rigorous competition.
By JD Lasica from Pleasanton, CA, US (200 meter breaststroke winners) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Michael Phelps

There was a time in Kitajima’s career where he was able to compete against world-renowned swimmer Michael Phelps. One of the most decorated Olympian in the world, it is considered an honor to even be able to compete alongside Phelps. They were able to compete against the 100m breaststroke event in Columbia in 2008. Phelps performs in almost every event ranging from freestyle, backstroke, to breaststroke and butterfly. This is the most significant difference between the two athletes because Kitajima only focuses on breaststroke.