The Hangzhou Asian Games came to a close on October 8. After returning to Japan, former Japanese national table tennis player Yoshizumi Ishikawa, 30, who supported the athletes as an officer of the Japanese Olympic Committee, headed for one of Tokyo’s most popular entertainment districts.
It was in Nishiazabu (Minato Ward) in early October, a little past 6:00 p.m., when Ishikawa was spotted dressed up in a bright white cardigan and makeup. With a paper bag from a famous chocolate store in hand, she entered a high-end Chinese restaurant. Waiting for him inside the restaurant were some unexpected geeks.
The two men sitting around the table with Ishikawa were Dai Tamesue, 45, a former member of Japan’s track and field team, and Yuki Ota, 37, a former member of the fencing team and an Olympic silver medalist. There were several other participants at the dinner, all of whom were carrying health care brand paper bags, so it may have been a company-sponsored dinner. Mr. Ishikawa left the restaurant with a Dior paper bag in his hand, which he did not have when he entered the restaurant, perhaps as a sign of his retirement. He must have been having a good time, because the room was repeatedly filled with laughter,” said a customer who was in the restaurant.
The drinking session lasted four hours, and the party broke up after 10 pm. Ishikawa was seen off by Tamesue and others, got into a cab, and left the place.
Ishikawa announced his retirement in May. He has started his second career, but his work is not limited to being a committee member. He has been appearing in more TV and radio programs, and in mid-September he began co-starring in a Uniqlo commercial alongside Haruka Ayase (38) and others. At a recent dinner party, she may have sought guidance from her seniors about her future career.
Ms. Ishikawa’s charm is her innocent, unadorned purity. Since her retirement, I feel that her healthy sex appeal has increased even more. In the UNIQLO commercials, she gives a short but comfortable performance. Being able to remain natural in front of the camera is a big plus, and her media exposure is likely to increase in the future,” says columnist Takahiko Kageyama.
Furthermore, the Paris Olympics are coming up next year. She has a lot to offer not only as a TV personality but also as a newscaster.
If she is an Olympic medalist and has a good reputation, the stations will not leave her alone. A battle is already raging behind the scenes in preparation for Paris. The price per ad is 30 to 40 million yen, which is comparable to the price of top actresses. In table tennis, Ai Fukuhara (34) is difficult to use because of the scandal, so the demand for Ms. Ishikawa is increasing.
Aside from his media appearances, Ishikawa continues to promote table tennis to children through his “Thanksgiving Tour. Ishikawa’s success as an instructor, TV personality, and anchor is likely to continue even after her retirement.
From “ FRIDAY “ October 27 , 2023 issue
PHOTO： Ichiro Takatsuka