SOAS University of London

Japan Sport Stories - Rebuilding the excitement for Tokyo 2020

13 April 2021
Japan Sport Stories

Once the postponement of Tokyo 2020 was confirmed, the excitement that had been building for 4 years quickly dampened into little more than a flicker. 5-time Paralympic gold medallist Noel Thatcher and Japan expert and wheelchair fencing official Mike Salter wanted to try and rebuild that excitement, for the sport and the country, anyway they could.

With the world in lockdown, Noel and Mike needed a way to remind people of the fascinating stories of Japanese sport and its athletes -- Japan Sport Stories was born. Since July 23rd 2020 (the original date of the 2020 Olympic Opening Ceremony) Noel and Mike have been interviewing some of the best athletes, sports professionals, and academics with an intimate connection to Japan, telling their stories to the world. Guests include multiple grand slam winner Yui Kamiji, Irish Sumo Wrestler John Gunning, and London 2012’s Paralympic Integration Chief, Lord Holmes of Richmond. A new episode will be released every two weeks.

The podcast is part of the UK-Japan Season of Culture endorsed by the Embassy of Japan in the UK, and has entered a partnership with the Japan Research Centre at SOAS, receiving funding from the Toshiba Foundation.

About the Hosts

Noel competed for team GB at 6 paralympic games (1988-2004) winning 5 gold medals in the process. With his training base in Japan he soon fell in love with the country, becoming the first visually impaired person to pass the N1 language exam. A regular public speaker on Japanese culture and the Paralympic movement, Noel has delivered talks to the BPA, BOA, Sport England and many Japanese organisations.

Mike was a former team GB fencer and current Paralympic official in wheelchair fencing. Having lived in Japan, he now works for the Japan Foundation, London. He has also given regular talks to organisations such as World Rugby, BPA and BOA on Japan and Japanese Culture.


Mike Salter (Co-host)
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