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Hiromi Sasaki – She is kicking ass

This woman inspires (and terrifies) us! Meet Hiromi Sasaki – She Is Kicking Ass!

I was recently introduced to Hiromi at a café in Kathmandu. The owner, Achut, was a fantastic host. He made sure all of his guests were entertained; and, since I was alone, he sat with me and told me the stories of his other guests. I was immediately enamored by Hiromi and her work. As she was leaving, I asked if Achut would introduce me. She was gracious enough to share her story.

Hiromi Sasaki is a 52-year old Japanese bad-ass. Her father enrolled her in the martial art of kendo at age 9, anticipating that men and women would be “more equal” in the future. Hiromi started the first kendo dojo in Osaka more than 15 years ago. A mere 5 women trained at that time, taking breaks as necessary to breastfeed their children. Today, that dojo has over 100 members and the Japanese government is paying Hiromi to be in Nepal – to train Nepalese women in kendo, for self-protection and mental and physical strength.

Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art inspired from swordsmanship, or kenjutsu. Practitioners use bamboo swords (shinai) and protective armor. Hiromi will spend 4 years teaching kendo to the women of Nepal, because domestic violence and rape are common in rural areas. All equipment and expenses are paid for by the Japanese government. In addition to learning self-defense, the women learn basic principles of martial arts that help with manners and hygiene. The two governments hope kendo will empower Nepalese women and help them develop self-respect.



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