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.

11th All Japan Masters Regatta, 2018 © FISA

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