The public is invited to the Terasaki Budokan on Wednesday, Aug. 4, to cheer on Sakura Kokumai, the first U.S. karate Olympian, as she competes in the Tokyo Olympics.
A native of Honolulu and a resident of Stevenson Ranch, Kokumai, 28, will compete in female elite kata. She has won multiple medals as a member of the USA Karate National Team since 2007. In kata, athletes perform a series of predetermined movements, more akin to a gymnastics floor exercise than a traditional combat bout. Only 10 women and 10 men qualify for Tokyo in the kata competition.
The event will be held outdoors from 6 to 10 p.m. when Olympic karate is scheduled to be televised. Kokumai will give a message via video and there will be a karate demonstration by Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu Dojo of Little Tokyo. The celebration is sponsored by Panasonic and Terasaki Budokan.
A plaque will be dedicated as an acknowledgement of Kokumai and Panasonic’s support of Terasaki Budokan. It will eventually be installed permanently in Budokan’s gymnasium. There will be a small presentation with Budokan Director Ryan Lee and Takumasa Kosugi, Panasonic Corporation of North America’s senior manager of global initiatives, marketing, digital and communications.
Terasaki Budokan is located at 249 S. Los Angeles St. between Second and Third streets in Little Tokyo. Food by Azay will be available for purchase. No pre-registration is required. All COVID-19 protocols will be followed.