Many events led to this victory.
Fukuoka Prefectural Police’s Ace, Kunitomo Rentaro finally won his first All-Japan title.
He was defeated in two finals before, and soon followed the fierce competition in the training camp to determine the Japanese representatives for the WKC in South Korea.
But the Emperor’s Cup lay there, ahead of many struggles.
Kunitomo Rentaro. Born in Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture in 1990. Took up the Shinai at Imajuku Shonen Kendo Club. He went to Fukuoka Maizuru Junior and Senior High School and in Kokushikan University he contributed to attaining the title of the All Japan Student Team Championship. After graduating, he joined the Fukuoka Prefectural Police. He has won the All Japan Championship once and came in 2nd twice. He came in 4th in the National Sports Tournament and took the title in the 2nd division of the All Japan Police Tournament. This is the fourth victory for Fukuoka in the All Japan Championship. This year was the birth of his eldest daughter Ichika, and this title made the best gift for her daughter. 5th Dan in Kendo.
Feelings of gratitude in Osaka
Persistence in conviction of victory
In the interview with NHK immediately after the victory he answered clearly and loudly, which is hard to imagine from his usual restrained image.
“I don’t think that I was able to achieve this result by myself.”
Kunitomo first expressed his gratitude to the people around him. From beginning Kendo until now, his friends supported him in continuing Kendo. It was a moment when feelings of gratitude overflowed to all those who supported his Kendo, teachers and family alike.
This was the first All-Japan Championship in the Reiwa era (Japan divides periods of time in eras). There were many talks of the day. Nishimura Hidehisa who aimed to win his third consecutive title, Ando Sho who was in the same University as Kunitomo and played a brilliant role in the WKC, Takenouchi Yuya, Maeda Yuki and Takeshita Yohei of the WKC team … All the players at that venue were coming for the Emperor’s Cup in earnest.
Kunitomo was one of them. He first appeared in 2014, when he was 24 years old. Five years have passed since he made it to the finals on his first appearance and made his name known. Meanwhile, he has advanced to the finals in 2016 as well but lost to Katsumi Yosuke. Despite his ability, results didn’t follow. He must have felt that this was his year. He didn’t feel in great shape just before the tournament but this wasn’t due to anxiety.
“Perhaps my body couldn’t quite keep up with the feeling that I didn’t feel in good shape up until that day. However, I just did what I needed to do with everything I had even if I couldn’t get in shape. I only thought about getting the most out of my own Kendo.”
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