“ASKA! Good luck~!”
At 10:00 a.m. on the morning of October 21, a fine autumn day, musician ASKA (63) was seen in front of the Tokyo Budokan in Adachi Ward, Tokyo. ASKA, who is known as one of the best swordsmen in the entertainment industry, participated in the “26th Senior Health and Sports Festival TOKYO Kendo Tournament” in the 59-64 age group. He entered the venue with his fist in the air as if to respond to the female fans who had gathered to wave at him.
Speaking of ASKA, his performance in the Kita Ward Kendo Tournament in October of the year before last is still fresh in our memories.
“He was arrested for violating the Methamphetamine Control Act in 2002, and resumed his music career in 2006 after waiting for his probation to be lifted. Currently, he devotes most of his time outside of music to practicing kendo. He has been practicing kendo since he was a child, and is a 4th dan. In addition, he practices stoically, so he is almost unbeatable in the senior division.
Due to the Covid-19 disaster, this year’s tournament was held without spectators, so we were unable to see ASKA’s heroic performance at the venue. During the event, ASKA came outside several times to have a smoke, but his expression was somewhat dull. What would be the outcome this time? After about six hours of waiting, I approached ASKA who came out after the game around 4:00 p.m.
I’m sorry to bother you suddenly, Mr. ASKA. This is Friday.
How was the tournament?
“You won, didn’t you?”
Winner! That’s great.
“No, no, it wasn’t me.
No, not me. What was the result today?
“I lost in the first round, and the person who beat ASKA won.
I heard that you are starting a tour. I will continue to support you.
“Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
After saying this, ASKA drove away in a cab, being seen off by his female fans.
ASKA was unlucky enough to lose the first round against a powerful swordsman, but he did not make any excuses when this magazine directly hit him, and showed us his “PRIDE” as a swordsman. In the blog he updated after the match, he wrote, “I was not allowed to do anything and lost by one point. It’s a shame, but that’s the way it goes,” he said, gracefully admitting his defeat.
According to his blog, ASKA is planning to challenge for promotion to 5-dan next year, and his passion for the way of the sword is still undiminished even though he is over 60 years old. Once the Covid-19 disaster is over, we should be able to see ASKA playing in tournaments again.
From the November 12, 2021 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Junsei Todoroki