In 1972, he won Japan's first Olympic swimming gold medal since 1956. Japan dominated the 1932 and 1936 Olympics and won the breaststroke crown in 1928, 1932, 1936 and 1956 Olympic Games despite three radical rule changes that completely changed the stroke each time.
He did it single-handedly in 1972 beating three Americans in his Olympic victory. He was the only Nippon winner, as Americans dominated the 1971 Japanese Nationals the year before the Olympics, and he followed his Olympic triumph by again beating John Hencken, nicnamed "The Rocket", in the Santa Clara Invitational in 1973. His accomplishments are amazing because he won during a five year era dominated by Hencken and David Wilkie, two of the greatest breaststrokers of all time. He also earned the bronze medal behind "the Rocket" and the "Flying Scott" in the 200 metre breaststroke at Munich and in both breaststrokes in the 1975 World Championships at California. He ended his career at the Olympics in Montreal.
The highlight of his career was definitely his "Lone Ranger" over three Olympic champions and a fourth world record holder in Munich. He is currently a world renowned construction executive, a fitting follow up for Japan's best constructed swimmer in many years. In 1987 he was inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame.