Yatsugatake walk vol.8

a perfect guide of Yatsugatake area for tourists

Keep fighting on the world stage
Young athletes from the southern foothills of the Yatsugatake Mountains (P.11)

Because I was born and raised in Hokuto city I was able to encounter speed skating. Even when far away, my hometown is always in my heart.
Masayuki Ishikawa


Seriously approaching skating
Vowing to make a difference in the new world

“This  nostalgic”
Masayuki Ishikawa smiles as he stands at the rink at the Yatsukatake Skating Center. The familiar rink where he has been going since childhood was crowded with tourists enjoying skating. Watching the scene, he comments, "Hokuto city is refreshing every time I come back. It is a really charming place because it is abundant with nature, quiet, and easy to live in. And because of this rink where I spent all my time through high school, doing my best with skating, I could get to where I am now. This is a homey rink where all the staff supports you," he said with narrow eyes.
He was 4 years old when he first put skates on. Inspired by his aunt Yoko Fukasawa (present name: Ishikawa) who competed in the Albertville Olympics he switched to speed skating and trained at the Yatsugatake Skate Center till high school. Then, he went to Waseda University because he wanted to test his abilities in the competitive world. Initially, he was confused about having to live in a dormitory away from his familiar hometown. Nevertheless, he worked hard and made efficient use of his limited time and training facilities. In 2017 he went to the Netherlands, the home of speed skating, for high-intensity training. Last year, the Japan Skating Federation selected him as a development-enhancement athlete, and based in Obihiro, Hokkaido, he had to tussle with Japan's top athletes. About this season he says, "This has been the best season in my 4 years at university." He broke his personal best on the 1000m and 1500m in December last year. In January of this year, he was the runner-up on the 1000m and won the 1500m at the Intercollegiate Championships.
When asked about the appeal of speed skating, the athlete, Ishikawa, laughs relaxed and says, "The top speed is about 60Km/h. It is exciting to experience such speed in the flesh. It is fun to compete with all my might." But his eyes are focused on the Beijing Olympics. "Because I have experienced the World stage, I want to be at the starting line for the Olympics. I want to become stronger and on my skates compete with the world," he says with powerful words; promising more progress.
After graduation from university, he plans to enter the Sports Association in Ena City, Gifu prefecture. "It will give me an environment where I can concentrate on skating. I will continue to work hard without compromise and aiming higher. I will definitely not give up on participating in the Olympic games. I will grab that ticket by myself and pave the way," he says with a twinkle in his eyes.
"If I had not lived here, I surely would not have been skating. My parents always had my back, and I had a lot of supportive people around me. I will be a little far away from the New Year, but my heart always dwells in Hokuto city. No matter where I am, I want to give back to the local community by showing good results and convey the appeal of skating more widely. It would be great if I could through my skating contribute to the community of Gifu, where they accept me as an athlete. The warmth in his eyes as he gazes at the home rink shows a strong determination to make further progress towards his new position.


Masayuki Ishikawa
Born in 1997 in Hokuto city.
While in Hokuto City Izumi Junior High School, he finished 3rd place in the 1500m during the National Junior High School Skating competition. He won the 1500m Juniors boys' speed skating at the 70th National Sports Festival in 2015 when in Hokoto Senior High School. In 2016 he entered the Waseda University School of Sport Science and received an individual honorary prize from the university for finishing first in the 500m at the All Japan Student Speed Skating Championship the following year.
From Spring 2020 he belongs as an athlete to the Gifu Prefecture Crystal Park Ena skating rink.
qualification and joined the national team in 2014. After graduating from the Faculty of Sports Science at Waseda University, he joined Toyota Motor Corporation. In 2017 he achieved 11th place, the highest-ranking for a Japanese athlete. Last year he won the All Japan Championships Snowboard Parallel Giant slalom.