“I live for rowing.” Japan honours Octogenarian rowers
More than 1,000 participants competed in the 11th All Japan Masters Regatta held at Lake Hanzyaku rowing course, Kikuchi City in Kumamoto, Japan and included were 50 80+ year-old rowers.
Following the lead of the World Rowing Masters Regatta, the Japan Rowing Association honoured the competitors who were 80 years old or above, presenting them with a memorial medal.
This year there were 50 recipients, four of them female and the two oldest were 87-year-olds, Kazuyoshi Sakai and Hiroomi Kobayashi of the Suwa Chu Sou Ryoukai rowing team.
At the first tournament in 2008, there were six competitors 80 years of age or older, but in the last decade more and more have participated. Takahiko Miyasaka of Tomon Middle Rowing Club asked each recipient about the secret of their longevity and rowing history and summarised it as follows.
Year of birth Name Age How you have stayed active in the sport? Length of rowing career
1931 Kobyashi Hiroomi 87
Sakai Kazuyoshi 87 Working in my field cultivating vegetables gives me physical strength. 74 years including a 30-year break.
1932 Kino Hiroichi 86 My love for rowing. 67 years
Konuta Kyoko 86 The start is one of the most exciting parts of the rowing race, even if after decades. 30 years
Yamazaki Soichi 86 I helped establish the rowing club in my middle school days. I had a 40-year break and returned to rowing after my 60th birthday and participate in the Masters ever since. 30 years
1933 Hotta Kyuya 85
Miyasaka Yuji 85
1934 Imamura Takashi 84 Rowing is part of life. 65 years
Sugiura Tsutomu 84
Taguchi Taira 84
Matsuura Syuhei 84
1935 Osugi Koichi 83
Kato Takashi 83
Kikuchi Yuzo 83 Rowing is my reason for living. I live for rowing. 69 years
Koji Hideaki 83
Seiyama Takamasa 83
Tanaka Shigemi 83
Chino Yoshitoshi 83
Hanafusa Isao 83
Yomo Tsuneo 83
1936 Ichikawa Akio 82
Imada Tomohiko 82
Ushimru Miyoko 82
Ohara Yasohachi 82
Konishi Tsunehiko 82 Rowing is my way of maintaining physical strength and to prevent the decline of muscle loss. 7 years from entering university, and 15 years since retirement, 22 years in total.
Suzuki Shintaro 82
Takai Hideo 82
Takishima Fusae 82
Nagoshi Shigeko 82
Noborisato Sadaharu 82 I pursue my ideal rowing style. 60 years
Furuya Masato 82 Eights:- cooperation and team play. Total 17 years. Four years in college and 13 years in Masters.
Miura Kunio 82 University rowing friendship and rivalry. The competitive nature of the sport. 60 years. 10 years in Masters.
1937 Igarashi Takashi 81 Rowing is an important part of my life. 62 years
Sato Fukuzo 81
Suzuki Fumio 81 Rowing is a lifelong sport, to maintain health and physicality. 40 years
Takahashi Tadashi 81
Tsujimaki Takashi 81
Nakano Daiji 81
Hashimoto Syunnosuke 81
Baba Kenji 81
Fujino Syujiro 81 Being a member of TMRC & Penta RC. Rowing is very suitable sport for the aged to help maintain physical strength. 4 years in university,13 years in TMRC / Penta. I aim to continue rowing until I reach 90 years of age.
Motomura Yoshiyuki 81
1938 Arai Yuji 80
Ogami Kiyoshi 80
Kayama Tokuji 80 Rowing gives me something to look forward to each week. I graduated from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in 1961, All Japan champion in fours 1959. Lost in the semifinal of Rome Olympics domestic qualification...life's biggest regret.
Kawai Tadashi 80 To reduce the loss muscle strength of the heart and lungs. I aim to exert myself to my physical limits to maintain strength and health. 60 years rowing career from university days onwards.
Tsurukai Hisaya 80
Magami Yasunari 80
Matsuo Syunkichi 80
Motoki Toshio 80