We are proud to welcome Junna Tsukii to the SMAI Team! Born in the Philippines but raised in Japan, Tsukii is now a Filipino-Japanese Karateka who is currently representing the Philippines in the K1 Premier League.
Her most recent achievement was at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, where she won the gold medal in the -50kg Women’s Kumite.
Junna’s Career Highlights
World Games Birmingham, United States
1st, Kumite 50 kg
Southeast Asian Games Hanoi, Vietnam
3rd, Team Kumite
Asian Championships Almaty, Kazakhstan
2nd, Kumite 50 kg
Southeast Asian Games Manila, Philippines
1st, Kumite 50 kg
Asian Games Jakarta, Indonesia
3rd, Kumite 50 kg
Southeast Asian Games Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3rd, Kumite 50 kg & Team Kumite
Get to know Junna Tsukii
Q: When did you begin training karate, and what moment inspired you to become a Karateka athlete? Why do you do it?
A: My teacher is my father. When I was a small child, practicing with my teammate boys, I learned that although karate may appear to be a sport that uses power, it is not about power, but about being able to beat opponents bigger than you are if you can maximize your strong Points. I was fascinated by the fun of it.
Q: Who is your inspiration, either in karate, sport, or the non-sporting world that influences your training? What is it about that person that you admire?
A: Audrey Hepburn. I was struck by the way she lived her life as it was and by the joy she felt in helping people. I am not a superstar like her, but I want to help society and children through karate.
Q: What has been your greatest or most challenging victory in your Karate career, and what was so challenging about it?
A: It was the World Games in July this year. I did not make it to the Olympics and thought about ending my career. But when I heard there would be World Games, I decided to continue my career for my new goal.
The other was the Portuguese Premier League in 2021, where for one year we overcame the difficulties of the covid-19 situation to participate in the Premier League, an Olympic qualifier. I won my first gold medal in the Premier League, whereas in the pre-covid-19 situation I had only won bronze.
Q: You were born in the Philippines, raised in Japan, and are on the Philippine National Karate Team. You have strong connections & passion for both countries - tell us about your connection to both countries, and how it has influenced your karate journey. Do you take inspiration & influence from both countries and culture in your fighting style?
A: Yes, I was born in the Philippines, raised in Japan, and live and train in the Philippines again. Karate is a martial art that originated in Japan. It fosters respect for opponents, teachers, teammates, and all people. In the Philippines, the spirit of Bushido has been passed down from generation to generation, and it is also enjoyed by everyone as a sport.
In Japan, I learned to train calmly at all times, in good times and bad. In the Philippines, I learned to be passionate and proud of my efforts. My fighting style I created by those two things.
Q: You have some passionate fans and followers on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok - Why is connecting with fans and creating content important to you?
A: We are of course individual competitors, so I fight alone on the field. But until I stand there, I have the support and encouragement of many people. So even if I lose, I can get back up again and again. So it makes me happy to be able to make everyone happy, even if only a little.
Q: What is your favourite place to compete? Which country / city?
A: The Philippines and Japan. It's my home.
Q: And finally - What do you like about the SMAI Inazuma WKF Approved Karate Gi?
A: The Inazuma Karate Gi is very lightweight and easy to move in. Also, the cut is unique and stylish, and so comfortable to wear.
JUNNA TSUKII'S SOCIALS