In March of 2018, I contacted my friend Atsuko Inayama about starting a Special Olympics Cheer Program in Japan. Atsuko embraced the idea enthusiastically.
Within days of proposing this idea to Atsuko, the International Cheer Union connected her to Cheer Japan, the national governing body for cheerleading and I connected her to people at Special Olympics Nippon. Atsuko has had ongoing meetings with both organizations to create a cheer program.
In August of 2018, Atsuko formed a Traditional Special Abilities team called Cordials. There are 6 cheerleaders, including her daughter, Fuka, ranging in age from 13 to 20.
Within weeks of forming the new team, The Cordials had their first performance at a cheer event. The team's next event was going to be an Exhibition Performance at the Japan Open Cheerleading Championship hosted by Cheer Japan the 9th of December.
I was in awe of Atsuko's effort of all she established since my initial conversation with her in March. I wanted to see the Cordials performance, so I booked a plane ticket to Tokyo.