There is no one “official” color that a table tennis table absolutely must be, according to the International Table Tennis Federation handbook. Nevertheless, there was apparently a time, not too long ago —let’s say, at least around the time Rocky was taking on Ivan Dragon—when more or less every table tennis table was an ugly, some might even say “gloomy” or “sinister,” dark green.

Well, that’s how one random Japanese comedian described the green tables in a throwaway comment he made in the late ’80s, which, rumor has it, is the reason most tables you see nowadays are a slightly more cheery blue.

Supposedly, the comedian Tamori-san, who has been much-loved in Japan for decades, made the comment while hosting his record-holding talk show, Waratte Iitomo!Speaking on a recorded phone conversation with famed composer and recording artist Tetsuro Oda, who was just getting his start at the time, Tamori-san commented, “Table tennis is so gloomy,” when Oda mentioned he played the sport in school.

An artist’s rendition of Tamori-san, accompanied by Mr. Sato (?), and what appears to be Christopher Walken


If you’re thinking, “How can a sport like table tennis be gloomy?” well, we’re with you, but maybe we’re just spoiled by all the blue ping-pong tables.

The story goes that, among those tuning in to Tamori’s program that day was none other than Nippon Takkyu, (Japan Table Tennis) Co. president Kazutomi Numada, who took the comedian’s comments to heart and ordered his ping pong goods manufacturing company to start churning out blue, rather than green, tables. As fate would have it, Nippon Takkyu’s blue tables made their international debut at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where presumably viewers got around to thinking, Wow, I always thought ping pong was such a sinister sport, but those blue tables are just so warm and inviting, and the blue color began to catch on abroad.

Gah, it’s hideous!


Here, we do have to note that this story might be embellished or even apocryphal, but the evidence seems to suggest there’s a pretty high probability that it’s true. Also note that the green tables do exist in not-insignificant numbers, but our source insists the blue tables are now the more ubiquitous color. So, if you’re one of the apparently many that overcame their fear of table tennis because of the shift to blue tables, now you know you have a random Japanese comedian to thank.

Source: NariNari
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