Ishikawa Kasumi Gives Table Tennis Lessons in Quake-Hit Noto Peninsula; Retired Star’s ‘Japan Thanks Tour’ Continues

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kasumi Ishikawa showed a child how to play table tennis in an event in Hakui, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Wednesday.

Kasumi Ishikawa, a former member of Japan’s national table tennis team, gave table tennis lessons at the National Noto Youth Friendship Center in Hakui, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Wednesday. She interacted with about 170 children and parents who have been affected by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake on New Year’s Day.

The event was held as part of the “Japan Thanks Tour,” in which Ishikawa, who retired as a table tennis player in May last year, travels around the country to spread the joy of table tennis and sports through exchanges with local residents.

For Wednesday’s event, the organizer brought in participants from 17 cities and towns in the prefecture.

Ishikawa spent time with children in recreational activities and a question-and-answer session. She also carefully instructed children on how to hit a spinning ball in just the right way.

Many children said that they have had fewer opportunities to enjoy sports since the New Year’s Day earthquake.

“It may not be easy to keep moving forward, but I hope this event helped them feel refreshed, even if just a little,” Ishikawa said.

“After only one lesson, hitting the ball got so much easier,” said a 9-year-old elementary school student from the Nanao, who said her house was partially damaged in the quake.