Sakura Kokumai performs kata during the Nikkei Games banquet on July 26 in Westminster. Looking on is Art Ishii, director of Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate of Little Tokyo. (Photo courtesy Susan Yokoyama)

An official Southern California welcome for Olympian Sakura Kokumai will be held on Sunday, Nov. 6, at Tanaka Farms, 5380¾ University Dr., Irvine.

Since the Summer Olympics were held during the pandemic, the local Nikkei community was unable to welcome her with a meet-and-greet before the Hawaii-born athlete competed in Tokyo in August 2021 in the kata division, one of two karate events making their Olympic debut.

The first American and the only female to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Karate Team, Kokumai is a fourth-degree black belt, an eight-time Pan American gold medalist and an eight-time national champion.

Sponsors: James Enterprises, OCO Club, Tanaka Farms, Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate of Little Tokyo, Orion Beer, Cherrystones Restaurant, Yellow Brotherhood, Alan and Sandy Kosaka. More sponsors are welcome.

Admission: $50 for adults, $25 for ages 21 and under, free for those under 10. Funds collected will help Kokumai pay for her competitions and travel.

The price includes an optional self-defense workshop from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; karate demonstrations from 1 to 5 p.m.; barbecue lunch by the OCO Club Crew; music by Brian Yamamoto, Asian Persuasian and Johnny Pal.

For more information, call Art Ishii at (323) 533-2669 or Susan Yokoyama at (213) 447-5946, or email

Asian Persuasian

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