Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Ai, Ai, Ai!


The Japanese fairway is littered with golf stars who joined the U.S. or European game highly touted, but who found themselves decidedly unexceptional amid a wealth of international talent.

Indeed, “Japan’s next Tiger Woods” — a phrase tossed about more in hope than in fact ( by myself included) —  is a misnomer, as it really hasn’t seen its first Tiger, on the global tour at least. 

But Ai Miyazato’s maiden LPGA victory at the Evian Masters on Sunday, the first since her tour debut in 2005, is refreshing, not only for her in realising the tremendous potential she earlier displayed in 14 domestic wins, but for the rabid Japanese fans and players back at home.

Many of them also watched 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa’s first day at the British Open, where he actually played with Tiger and bested the superstar with a two-under 68, only to see the media boy wonder crash out with a 78 the next day.

from Left field:

Japan’s Tiger cub Ishikawa needs breathing space


Picture this: You are one of your country's biggest celebrities, you have signed a multi-million dollar deal with IMG, teenage girls scream when you walk into a room and you have a media circus tripping over each other to follow your every move -- before you're even old enough to drive.

Japan's teenage golf sensation Ryo Ishikawa has had major companies knocking down his door since he shot to fame in May, 2007 by becoming the youngest winner on the Japanese tour at 15 years and eight months. The schoolboy won his first tournament as a professional last November after joining the paid ranks at the start of 2008, marking his rookie year by becoming the youngest player to crack the 100 million yen (around $1 million) mark in prize money in a single season.