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Updated : January 29, 2021

Introduction of Olympic torchbearer 02

  Running with pride and a smile towards a world without discrimination

【 Hidaka city 】 Ms.Emiri Omuro

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Ms. Emiri Omuro is half Japanese and half American (mixed). Drawn to one of Olympics’ visions of “Diversity and Harmony”, she decided to challenge herself to the Olympic-torch relay. She conveys the importance of not judging an individual by their appearance and to communicate with a smile despite the ethnic and/or cultural differences between people.

 

—It seems that the vision of the Olympic games lured you to sign up.

“Diversity and Harmony” is one of the visions of the Olympic games. I have faced lots of discrimination being born half American and half Japanese (racially mixed). Although there are many differences within individuals: race, the color of one’s skin, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, disability, there is no good that comes out of criticizing the differences. In fact, when I was criticized, I did not feel any happiness, joy, or delight. Feelings of pain, sorrow, bitterness, darkness was what dominated. I believe that this lovely and massive event, known as the Olympics, will be a great chance for people to deepen mutual understanding. Through giving courage and energy to others, I strongly hope that the world will slowly turn to one in which people can comprehend, understand, and accept one another. And I, myself would like to overcome many things. With the desire to run the torch relay with a heart full of pride and gratitude, I’ve decided to challenge myself.

 

—Is there anything you’ve been working on in relation to being selected as the torchbearer?

During study periods in the morning, I utilize the internet to learn about the Olympics, Paralympics, and the Olympic Torch. I am also learning about different cultures. I have an Indonesian best friend who transferred schools from Indonesia to Japan during elementary school. Since I wanted to speak to her, I would search up both, Indonesian and English on my laptop for communication. Through this opportunity, I was able to learn that despite the differences in one’s country of origin and/or culture, people can become close. I now communicate with a transfer student that came during the first year of junior high school from Sri Lanka. She speaks Sri Lanka’s official languages: Tamil and Sinhala along with Japanese and English, and I am now gaining an experience that is unlike any other.

 

 

—What is something you value when communicating with someone from a different culture?

Smiling is a wonderful means of communication that is common all over the world. I start by greeting with a smile. One day, I came across a phrase on my wall calendar that said, “there is not a more wasteful day than one without a smile”; my friend from Sri Lanka did not have a smile on her face in the beginning and had a dark expression. Whenever she was alone in class, she seemed very lonely and would look around, which made me wonder if she wants to “socialize with someone” and that’s why I started talking to her. Further, I have been trying not to judge an individual based on their appearance. I believe that this is what will allow many to become close to individuals of diverse backgrounds. 

 

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—Are you looking forward to a particular sport or a particular athlete in the Olympics?

The professional tennis player, Ms.Naomi Osaka. I admire her as she is an athlete with both strength and kindness. Despite the pressures from tournaments or the external criticism she receives, the way in which she strives to work hard in a positive manner is powerful and her open mindedness and big heart is very appealing. 

 

—Lastly, please share with us what you are enthusiastic about regarding the torch relay. 

What I want to cherish when running the torch relay is “I am what I am, this is me”. We all look and think different, and we all have a fair share of differences, but what we all do is laugh, cry, and live. Our differences should not be used for discrimination but should be accepted as individuality. Another thing to note is “ties and bonds”. Much like how many threads come together to form one tie, people have emotions such as grief, happiness, delight, and when people support each other, a strong tie and/or bond is made. On the day of the torch relay, I want to run towards a world without discrimination with the brightest smile while holding pride in myself.

Ms. Emiri Omuro's recommendation

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