Marin Honda: “As long as there’s a place where I can pursue the kind of skating I love, I want to continue doing it.”

Posted on 2023-08-22 • No comments yet


Interview with Marin Honda.

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source: dd. 21st August by Wataru Matsumoto

Figure skater Marin Honda, who won the World Junior Championships in 2016, celebrated her 22nd birthday on the August 21st.

As she marks her fourth year at Meiji University, she spent this summer participating in the ice show “One Piece on Ice.” She is also preparing for the upcoming competitive season as an athlete. Two days before her birthday, she held a fan event in Tokyo, where she expressed her gratitude to her fans and shared her thoughts about her current skating journey and future aspirations.

In regular competition interviews, the focus is often on the performance details and the enthusiasm for the next competition.

But as she approaches her 22nd birthday, what kind of feelings does she hold in her heart now?

Upon discussing the interview through the organizers, they arranged some time. Holding her own merchandise, Marin engaged in a 20-minute talk show with several dozen fans who were selected through a lottery. After the photo session with the fans, Marin’s expression was vibrant and lively.

“There were even people of the same age who said, ‘I’ve been cheering for you since elementary school!’ I thought, ‘There are people who have been supporting me for that long…’ Even just coming here is a lot for… I’m truly grateful.”

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There’s a memorable story from when she was a junior that Mana shared. Before every performance, she used to scan the audience in all four directions and find four “targets” among the spectators. During the nervous moments of competition, she aimed to convey her emotions through her performance to those four people. Amidst many athletes who are focused on the judges, I was surprised by her awareness that she had naturally maintained since her childhood. As she shared this nostalgic story, Marin smiled gently.

“I naturally look at various people during my performance. So honestly, I recognize the faces of the people who came here today. If they tell me their social media usernames, I can identify them right away. I was happy to meet them. There are people of the same generation who are active and working hard, saying, ‘I’m doing ballet…’ and ‘I’m doing tennis…’.It would be great if we could be a source of mutual encouragement for each other.”

She has 1.25 million followers on Instagram. While she enjoys an exceptional level of attention for an amateur athlete, she has also struggled with how to handle social media. While reading messages of support, she has come across content that unexpectedly strikes at her heart.

“Even if I’m not actively seeking it out, sometimes these things come into view. I think I’ve become used to such things since I was little, but when I’m feeling down and see something like that, it hits me 100%. Lately, when I’m feeling low, I distance myself from the messages.”

When her heart is at ease, she opens messages from fans. There’s no doubt that this support is what keeps her going.

“Receiving messages like, ‘I watch your skating videos and they brighten up my day!’ are what give me satisfaction, motivation, and the driving force. I always hoped for a chance to express my gratitude properly. Today was one of those moments, and I’m glad I could convey my feelings.”

Amidst her busy schedule, creating opportunities to engage closely with her fans was a significant reason behind her decision.

Not only does her straightforward and down-to-earth personality align with the general image, but also through interviews, it’s been evident since her middle school days that she possesses a spirit of bring joy to others. The figure skating world is divided into two major categories: “amateurs,” who participate in competitions, and “professionals,” who primarily perform in ice shows.

At 22 years old, when asked about her feelings toward the professional world, she started off by saying, “Of course, I’m very interested in that, but just because I’m interested doesn’t mean I’ll be seen.” With a humble attitude, she first considered the perspective of the audience. From there, she prefaced, “Leaving that aside…” and then spoke candidly.

“The kind of ‘full-out performance’ that reaches people’s hearts is something I’ve observed in other professionals as well. It’s not determined by scores. I felt that especially after being part of ‘One Piece on Ice.’ How to effectively reach the audience. I think it’s wonderful to strive with that mindset.”

July was a month where she dedicated a lot of time to rehearsals for “One Piece on Ice.” Waking up at 5 AM and practicing late into the night, there were times when she returned home exhausted. Simultaneously, she had tests and academic commitments to manage. Despite the busy days, she gained a lot. On the other hand, she didn’t shy away from her position as a competitive skater.

“As an active skater, I believe that mastering jumps within the rules and achieving higher levels are part of the allure of the sport. The original passion is still there, and I find the competitive aspect, where there are wins and losses and the competition is based on scores, appealing as well.”

A significant year. At this point, she revealed, “I’m in my fourth year of university and honestly I don’t know if I will quit competing. As long as there’s a place where I can pursue the kind of skating I love, I want to continue doing it.” She emphasized valuing each day consciously, without setting rigid goals, and cherishing her emotions in the moment.

“To be honest, when I was 10 years old, I thought I would retire at 16. But when I actually turned 16, I couldn’t imagine a life without skating. I love skating. Even now, in the end, the thing I value the most is skating. There have been many times when things didn’t go well, and I thought ‘I want to quit,’ but even having just a two-day break makes me restless. That’s how much skating, whether it’s a competition or being seen by others in shows, has become an essential part of me.”

Her skating journey has had its ups and downs. This season marks her 7th in the senior category. Through her beloved sport of skating, she will continue expressing herself. She will cherish the importance of supportive figures and move forward into the competitive autumn season.


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