Nagoya firm Jtekt develops gnarly skateboard bearings ahead of sport's Tokyo Olympic debut

The Japan Times 

Jtekt Corp., a Nagoya-based parts manufacturer affiliated with Toyota Motor Corp., has developed an upgraded version of Ninja, the brand name for its bearings used for skateboards, ahead of skateboarding making its Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games. By making use of its technological prowess in the manufacture of industrial robot bearings, the firm says it succeeded in creating skateboard bearings that can rotate at higher speeds while maintaining durability. The new type is already being tested by Kihana Ogawa, a 17-year-old skateboarder hoping to take part in the 2020 Games after representing Japan in last year's Park Skateboarding World Championships. "I hope that skateboarding will attract attention at the (2020) Olympics, so that more people will become aware of the power of bearings," said Yasuhiro Sakamoto, 47, head of the firm's development team. A bearing is a component that supports the axis of rotation in machines, including vehicles, wind turbine generators and bullet train wheels.