Isshin Hishikawa Beats ‘Absolute Champion’ to Claim 1st Title at All Japan Breaking Championships

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Isshin Hishikawa competes in the All Japan Breaking Championships at Tokyo’s NHK Hall on Sunday.

Isshin Hishikawa won his first title at the All Japan Breaking Championships on Sunday, improving his chance of earning a berth for the Paris Olympics.

Hishikawa, whose dancer name is Isshin, and other major breakers will be participating in the Olympic Qualifier Series (OQS) to compete at this summer’s Olympics, where breaking, or breakdancing, will be added as a new sport.

In the final tournament at Tokyo’s NHK Hall on Sunday, Hiroto Ono, known as Hiro10, took second place.

Shigeyuki Nakarai, who competes as Shigekix, has been already secured a spot for the upcoming Olympics, but came third at the national championships, failing to secure his fourth consecutive title.

In the women’s competition, Ayumi Fukushima, who was runner-up at last year’s world championships under the dancer name Ayumi, claimed her third straight title for the national championships. Riko Tsuhako, known as Riko who is also among the OQS athletes, finished fourth.

Hishikawa had a wall to overcome. He is ranked sixth in the world but was considered second in Japan, the first being Nakarai. “I had lost to him all this time, so I wanted to beat him,” Hishikawa said. The 18-year-old breaker finally broke the stronghold of Nakarai, the absolute champion. Hishikawa competed against Nakarai in the semifinals. In the first round, Hishikawa grabbed a leg over his back with his hand and leaped from the floor with his shoulder in a dynamic new trick that sent the audience into a frenzy. He maintained that momentum until the end.

“I put into action everything that I’ve worked on to prepare for the event,” Hishikawa said.

His training, which focused on strengthening core muscles and increasing stamina since November, appears to have generated results.