Skateboarding has come a long way from its humble origins as a pastime for Southern California surfers. Today, it is a global phenomenon, with millions of fans around the world, plenty of cultural clout, and a thriving professional circuit that features some of the most talented and innovative athletes on the planet. In Japan, the sport reached new audiences in 2021 when it debuted at the Summer Olympics, and Japanese skaters took home the lion’s share of the medals.
Now, Rakuten is hosting its first-ever skateboarding event, “Uprising Tokyo Supported by Rakuten,” as it looks to take the sport to even further heights.
Teaming up with skateboarding’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist
To trace the origins of Uprising Tokyo we need to go back to April 2022, when Rakuten Sports entered into a strategic partnership with Yuto Horigome, a pro skateboarding icon hailing from Koto City, Tokyo.
“As a skater who transcends cultural and regional boundaries, we felt Yuto was the perfect athlete to partner with to promote skateboarding culture and inspire young people – in Japan and globally – to take up the sport.”Katsuhiko Kobayashi, General Manager at Rakuten’s IP Content Business.
Horigome had already been taking the skateboarding world by storm with back-to-back wins at international competitions and the first-ever gold medal in men’s street skateboarding at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. By teaming up with him, Rakuten Sports saw an opportunity to inspire the next generation of young skateboarders.
“From our partnership with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors to our own professional sports teams like Vissel Kobe and the Rakuten Eagles, Rakuten has always looked to harness the power of sport to empower fans and communities across the world,” emphasizes Katsuhiko Kobayashi, General Manager at Rakuten’s IP Content Business.
“As a skater who transcends cultural and regional boundaries, we felt Yuto was the perfect athlete to partner with to promote skateboarding culture and inspire young people – in Japan and globally – to take up the sport.”
“Skateboarding for all”
Uprising Tokyo aims to do just that. The event, created in collaboration with Horigome, promises to offer a new style of skateboarding event that grows the sport and its culture, under the vision of “Skateboarding for all.”
Held at Ariake Arena, Tokyo from May 26 to May 28, it will merge both contest and entertainment elements, featuring a men’s and women’s street skateboarding competition, along with music and fashion for fans to enjoy.
Tickets are now available via Rakuten Ticket (Japanese website) and Rakuten has been making some exciting announcements about who fans can expect to see competing during the competition.
Yuto Horigome leading the star-studded roster
One of the most exciting prospects is Yuto Horigome. With a passion for skateboarding that started at the age of six, Horigome began making his mark on domestic competitions in his teens before joining the sport’s highest ranks in 2019 when he took home gold from X Games and Street League competitions. He then became the first gold medalist in men’s street skateboarding at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. With his eye on the prize at Uprising Tokyo, Horigome is sure to bring his A-game to the competition.
Another confirmed participant is Jamie Foy, a pro skater from South Florida whose talents earned him the prestigious Thrasher Magazine Skater of the Year award in 2017. More recently, Jamie won the Tampa Pro in 2022 in front of his home state fans and followed it up by winning X Games Best Trick in the summer of 2022. Foy’s skill and dedication have earned him a loyal fanbase, who will no doubt be cheering him on.
Other confirmed skaters include Ishod Wair, a skater from New Jersey who turned pro in 2011, skating for Real Skateboards. Two years later, in 2013, he was awarded skateboarding’s highest honor – Thrasher Magazine’s Skater of the Year – and now has a signature Nike shoe bearing his name.
With a state-of-the-art skatepark – designed and constructed by world-renowned California Skateparks – and a supportive crowd cheering them on, the skaters at Uprising Tokyo will have everything they need to push the limits of what is possible in skateboarding.