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Japan´s new Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, holds 2nd Dan in Goju Ryu Karate

Yoshihide Suga did succeed Shinzo Abe as prime minister of Japan on September 16, 2020. He was sworn in by the Emperor of Japan Naruhito in the Imperial Palace as 99th prime minister. Before taking over office as PM Suga was the Chief of Staff of Shinzo Abe and prior to that hold several cabinet posts. In 2019, he revealed the current era of the Japanese calendar stipulated by the Tenno.

For the international Karate community PM Suga might become a godsend. Before joining politics the son of a strawberry farmer from Akita Prefecture studied Law at Hosei University. Here he joined the Goju Ryu Karate Club and became vice-captain of the karate team, according to the Kyodo News.

The picture shows Yoshihide Suga (far right) with his Karate Club members at Hosei University in 1970. Source: Kyodo News. See also Japan Forward.
Yoshihide Suga (far right) with his Karate Club members at Hosei University in 1970. Source: Kyodo News. See also Japan Forward.

In an interview for JKFan in 2014 PM Suga commented on his Karate experience: “The things I developed through karate-do have served me well after I entered politics. I am keenly aware that the mental strength to endure difficulties was forged in the karate-do club.” Even today he does 100 sit-ups every morning to stay fit.

Yoshihide Suga promoted Karate for Olympics

That he is still committed to the martial art of Karate Do shows his political engagement for it. In 2014, became the President of the Parliamentary Federation for the Promotion of Karate-do. The aim of the federation was to establish Karate as an Olympic sport.

The picture shows Yoshihide Suga and WKF President Antonio Espinós (left to him) during a meeting of Japan’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for the promotion of Karate in Tokyo in 2018.
Yoshihide Suga (standing) and WKF President Antonio Espinós (left to him) during a meeting of Japan’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for the promotion of Karate in Tokyo in 2018. Source: WKF.net.

Whether the new Prime Minister will still has Karate as a priority can be doubt. Japan, like many countries, suffers from the immense economy downturn due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The top priority of PM Suga will be to mitigate the negative consequences of the pandemic and bring back Japan into a more stable economic condition.

However, for the global Karate community the election of PM Suga is already a great success and a fantastic promotion. To have a Karateka in the Japans highest office will give Karate a global exposure. And we are sure that Yoshihide Suga will serve as an excellent role model for the way of Karate.


By Dr. Christian Tribowski

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