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Tokyo welcomes karate and Japanese heritage

(KYMA, KECY/NBC News) - In Wednesday's Countdown to Tokyo, karate will be making its debut at the Tokyo Olympics in this year's summer games. For one competing martial artist, Tokyo is a fitting place to be.

Sakura Kokumai is one of the women representing the United States in Tokyo and it's the perfect place to be to compete for her because she has always celebrated her Japanese heritage.

Kokumai compares one of her favorite Japanese traditions, a Japanese traditional instrument called Koto. The Koto is 15 strings and you play with three picks on your fingers.

Kokumai said her parents pushed her into doing this, which she appreciate now because it helps with her karate performance too. Kata is the discipline she does in karate and that basically tells a story of a fight.

As Seen on TV / Olympic Countdown / Sports / Video
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Cole Johnson

Cole grew up in a small town of just over 3,000 people called Moravia, NY—home of President Millard Fillmore and Fillmore Glen State Park.

He is eager to wake up every morning with the Desert Southwest and give viewers the greatest coverage to start their day.

Contact Cole at cole.johnson@kecytv.com.

NBC News

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