Alumni News

Yoshi Sasakawa '06: set your goals and never give up

Posted on July 15, 2021 by Scot Allen

Mid-Pacific grad talks about planning for the Tokyo Olympic Games

Yoshi Sasakawa '06, Vice president of the Japan Karatedo Federation, has dreamed of hosting the karate competition at the Olympics in Japan. In 2021, years of hard work (and lots of patience) will make his goals a reality.

2021 will mark the debut appearance of karate at the Summer Olympics. Karate is one of five new sports added to the Olympic program specifically for 2020.

"My goal is to host -- within the given environment -- the safest and the best games ever for Karate," he says.

Sasakawa holds an MBA and MSci from Keio University in Japan and Columbia University. He says his education at Mid-Pacific and at the university level have cultivated his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

The evolving nature 2020 Tokyo Olympics have certainly encountered its fair share of hurdles, and not the sporting variety. Cancellations, lockdowns, social distancing, and a fear of the unknown have altered life as we know it.

"Everything that we previously planned was either postponed, canceled, or altered," he says. "Almost nothing went according to plan and it was a constant battle of 'plan and re-plan.'"

He says that although the strategies for the games have repetitively changed, his goal never wavered. "Our goal of successfully hosting Karate in the Olympics for the first time in history has never changed."

What has Sasakawa learned from the 2020-2021 pandemic rollercoaster?

"I learned the importance of goal setting," he says. "It helps significantly to set your goal, never give up and understand that most things may not go according to the plan. But when you look back, that is when you learn the most."