Japanophiles: Isabelle Sasaki
*First broadcast on May 25, 2023.
The Japanophile series looks at Japan through the eyes of long-term residents who were born in another part of the world. This time we meet Isabelle Sasaki, a karate instructor from France. She volunteered in Ofunato after it was hit hard by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Eventually she moved there and set up a branch of the Japan Karate Association, making her a rare instance of a woman from another country teaching karate in Japan. She also works in tourism promotion and helps her husband with his scallop farming. Isabelle Sasaki shares her enthusiasm for her adopted hometown and the martial art of karate.
Isabelle Sasaki set up a branch of the Japan Karate Association in Ofunato. She is one of only a few foreign-born women to be a karate instructor in Japan. Here, she demonstrates a well-honed technique.
Sasaki works hard to promote Ofunato. She came up with the idea of a gourmet cruise, where visitors can enjoy scallops straight from the sea.
Isabelle Sasaki has built a life with multiple roles: karate instructor, tourism promoter, and a valuable collaborator in her husband's scallop-farming work.