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Updated : January 29, 2021

Introduction of Olympic torchbearer 07

  Wishing to share heartfelt experiences gained in Kawagoe with people all over the world

【 Kawagoe city 】 Ms. Yui Kimura



Ms. Kimura’s family operates a business, “Masuya”, that has been in Kawagoe City for 7 generations. Ms. Yui Kimura, born and raised in the center of Kawagoe’s tourist destination and shopping district, expresses how she’d like to bridge the world and Japan and convey the charms of Kawagoe through using her knowledge of languages and through her experiences of visiting 83 countries.


—Your outfit today is the kimono from Kawagoe festival, right? What are the charms of the Kawagoe festival and Kawagoe?

I was born and raised near the center and shopping district of Kawagoe, where the bell tower exists. My family has been operating a store under the name of “Masuya” for 7 generations and we all love the Kawagoe festival. From the age of 3, I would lead the float as a Tekomai (float leading dance) and from the age of 6, I would learn the festival music and ride the float every year, bringing excitement to the Kawagoe festival. Communities that share warmth with neighbors as well as environments and experiences that even Japanese people feel nostalgic about are retained on a daily basis at the shopping district in which specialty stores are lined up. I’ve always wanted to spread Kawagoe’s charm from a local’s perspective, like myself, to those who are from outside Kawagoe and/or those who are visiting Japan from abroad.



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—What were the reactions you received from your surroundings when you were selected as a torchbearer?

I was offered an “unofficial decision” which led me to believe that a decision was not yet finalized. Hence, I didn’t tell anyone including my family. However, many of my neighbors saw my name on the newspaper and would contact my family saying, “This is about Yui-chan, right?”, with there being commotion without my awareness. Many who I have not met for years contacted me saying, “Congratulations!”, with friends from childhood contacting me stating, “I’ve cut out and saved a section from the newspaper.”. I believe that the rumors that spread like fire very much emphasizes the warm community unique to Kawagoe.



—You must be very fluent in languages given that you’ve visited 83 countries.

I studied in Canada during my college years and was able to retain Business English. I returned to Japan after working at a hotel for a year. Then, I signed up to volunteer at Kawagoe’s city hall and would translate public newsletters and publicize them online for non-Japanese individuals residing in Kawagoe. Later, I lived in several parts of Asia, and retained Chinese.


—It seems that you’ve been active globally. What’s the next language you’d like to learn?

My goal is to retain Spanish next; being able to speak and understand Spanish would allow me to access information regarding countries worldwide. The reason why I wanted to learn languages was due to the irritation I felt when I could not explain to foreigners on how to reach a specific destination well. When thinking about wanting to convey what’s great about Japan and/or Kawagoe, being able to speak languages is a must. I would like to overcome the barrier of language(s) and would like to create a mechanism in which one can access information from a local perspective anywhere in the world.


—Is there a particular sport or athlete you’re paying attention to?

A volleyball player of the Japanese men’s team, Kunihiro Shimizu. Although he was Japan’s representative player during the Peking Olympics in 2008, he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee and had in mind retirement due to his serious injury. However, after overcoming surgery and 2 years of rehabilitation, he returned as the representative of Japan this year at the age of 34. 12 years ago, I also endured a serious injury in which I injured my meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament while playing basketball in middle school. I returned to play in high school, but after enduring the same injury, I could no longer play. Later, I underwent an emergency surgery to pull out the bolts in my knees and am currently rehabilitating. It is already difficult to live a normal life after injury, and to think of how difficult it must’ve been for player, Shimizu, is something I cannot be indifferent about.


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

I’ve learnt Kawagoe’s history and tradition from my great-grandmother and grandparents who lived with me from when I was little; I would participate in festivals and open-air markets held in the mornings and was raised in the good old community of Kawagoe. I thought it was normal to participate in these traditional events, however, now I am grateful knowing that they were valuable experiences. It’s my turn to convey Kawagoe’s appeals as a torchbearer and to give back to the Kawagoe in which I was raised. Although I am currently going through rehabilitation and am scared to run, I am able to endure and push myself through rehabilitation due to the fact that I will be running as torchbearer.  

Ms. Yui Kimura's recommendation



Ms. Yui
Mr. Masato
Mr. Ian









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