Some of the T-shirts in our latest collection were inspired by Splatoon 3—the latest game in the Splatoon series, a popular action-shooter from Nintendo. Shingo Kunieda and Kei Nishikori—perhaps the two biggest names in Japanese tennis—are also big fans of the franchise. We talk to them about their love for the franchise and what keeps them hooked.
Splatoon 3—the latest installment of Splatoon series, a Nintendo’s popular action-shooter in which players control characters named Inkling to shoot inks in humanoid form and swim in the ink in squid form—was released last year as a Nintendo Switch exclusive software. Turf War—in which players compete in four-vs-four battles to cover more of the stage with ink than the opposing team—is back, and newly added main weapons, special weapons and several new moves allow for a wider choice of playstyles. Like in Splatoon 2, you can either compete with friends or players around the world online or play face-to-face via local wireless connection.
Some of those who have been into Splatoon 3 are Shingo Kunieda and Kei Nishikori, the leading tennis players in Japan as well as our UNIQLO Global Brand Ambassadors. Kunieda says he plays almost every day, while Nishikori sometimes teams up with his friends to play when he has time at night after practice.
“I like how the goal isn’t just to shoot ink at your opponents to splat,” says Kunieda. “it’s fun to work with your teammates to figure out how to win a victory under different rules in the game.”
“You really need to use your brain,” adds Nishikori. “For one thing, you are supposed to pick up one main weapon from a variety of options to join the battle. And when you take out one of your opponents during a match, you still need to figure out where the other three opponents are and what they’re up to.”
What you might not know about the two tennis pros is that they are actually Splatoon buddies and play against each other pretty often.
“Nishikori is an all-arounder, having a good command of many different weapons unlike myself.:” says Kunieda. “He’s just so much more skilled than me, and I’m always losing to him. Someday, I’ll beat him.”
But for Nishikori, Kunieda is a worthy rival. “He can skillfully use some unique weapons that require techniques to maneuver, which I think is really cool,” Nishikori explains. “He’s been playing like this since Splatoon 2. In many ways, I would say it’s a reflection of his personality.”
Unsurprisingly, the Splatoon 3 T-shirts are the two players’ favorites in this season’s UT lineup. You can just imagine them wearing these tees and giving their all in the game—just like they would in a tennis match!
Kunieda: I like how colorful the shirts are, with so many different ink color variations. I’m going to put on a Splatoon 3 UT and take on Nishikori—and this time, win!
Nishikori: I was surprised at how faithfully the T-shirts recreated the splashes of ink and characters in the game. Each shirt really brings the world of Splatoon 3 to life—wearing any one of them would make my day!
Shingo Kunieda | Kunieda is a former professional wheelchair tennis player. He was born in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Feb. 21, 1984. He began playing wheelchair tennis when he was 11. Kunieda competed in five Paralympic Games in a row starting with the 2004 Games in Athens, winning three gold medals in singles and one in doubles. In the Big Four, he has won 28 singles and 22 doubles competitions. He has placed 1st in the World Rankings 10 times. In 2022, Kunieda finally achieved a lifelong dream: a Golden Slam. In 2023, he announced his retirement.
Kei Nishikori | Nishikori is a professional tennis player. He was born in Shimane Prefecture on Dec. 29, 1989. Nishikori won his first victory in the 2008 ATP Tour. In September 2014, he became the first Japanese player to reach the US Open final. In 2016, he became the first Japanese tennis player in 96 years to win an Olympic medal when he earned bronze at Rio; in October, he became the first Japanese male player to enter the top four of the World Rankings. In 2018, Nishikori became the first Japanese player in 23 years to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals. He is currently rehabilitating from repeated injuries and is focusing on making a comeback.
With a range of cute but dynamic graphics from the game, we’ve brought the world of Splatoon 3 to life. You’ll find playful designs featuring Inklings and Octolings from the game, as well as Judd and Li’l Judd—the cats who will tell you in a blink which team won inTurf War—and, of course, the ink that shoots out from a variety of weapons. Since the shirts come in both adult and child sizes, parents can get matching outfits with their kids!
Release dates and prices may vary. Some items might be limited to certain stores or countries of sale or may be sold out.