Following on from greats Suzuko Okamura and Mie Nakayama, Yuki Mimura was the next great female Japanese kata champion. Like her predecessor, Nakayama she was the winner of three consecutive World titles, not to mention World Games and World Cup titles.
Yuki Mimura was born on 5 April 1970 in Ashimura, a small village in the mountains near Matsumoto city on the Japanese island of Honshu.
In 1977 Mimura accompanied her older sister to watch a Karate training session. Her sister decided not to join the club, but she did. She started training with Fujiwara Takeo who ran a Shotokan Karate club affiliated with the JKA, located in Matsumoto city. Takeo was like A second father to her.
Mimura started competing while at primary school. She won the All-Japan National Kata Championships for primary school-aged children. She followed this up by winning All-Japan National Kata Championships for middle-aged school children. She also added the All-Japan National Kata Championships for high school students to her collection of titles.
In 1987 Mimura took part In her first JKA All-Japan Karate Championships. In the kata event, she finished second to Yoko Nakamura. The following year she was selected to represent the Japanese Senior National team, aged only 17.
1988 was a breakout year for the young Mimura. She won the first of her four consecutive JKA All-Japan Karate Championships kata titles. In October of that year, she was selected to represent Japan at the World Championships held in Cairo, Egypt. Coached by Mie Nakayama, herself a former World Champion, Mimura became kata World Champion. This was the first of her four world titles. She defeated teammate Hasami Yokoyama in the final.
Mimura retained her kata title at the 1989 JKA All-Japan Karate Championships. She followed this up by winning the kata title at the World Games in Karlsruhe, West Germany. She beat her main rival and teammate Hisami Yokoyama in the final. In October she followed this up by winning the World Cup kata title in Budapest, Hungary.
In 1990 Mimura retained her kata World Title in Mexico City. Again she defeated compatriot Hisami Yokoyama in the final. Earlier that year she won another JKA All- Japan title, defeating another rival, Yoko Nakamura in the final.
The next three years saw Mimura add to her tally of global titles. In 1992 she retained her World Title in Granada, Spain. The following year she retained her World Games title in the Hague, Holland.
In 1994 Mimura missed the World Championships due to a knee injury. This meant she was unable to defend her crown and not win her fourth consecutive title. The title was won by Hisami Yokoyama.
Mimura resumed winning ways in 1995 following her return from injury. She won the World Cup title in Frankfurt, Germany. The following year she made history by becoming the first woman to win four World kata titles. She won the title in Sun City, South Africa.
A winner of multiple tournaments, Mimura’s titles include:
- World Championships – Individual kata – 1st place (1988, 1990, 1992, 1996)
- World Games – Individual kata – 1st place (1989, 1993)
- World Cup – Individual kata – 1st place (1989, 1995)
- JKA All-Japan Championships – Individual kata – 1st place (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991)
After retiring from competitive Karate Mimura worked as a lecturer at Japan’s National Defence Academy. As a member of the Japan Karate Federation (JKF), she has sat on the executive committee of the organisation.
A four-time World champion, a two-time World Cup winner, and a two-time World Game winner, Yuki Mimura is one of the best competitors to represent her native Japan. Known for her dynamic performances of the Shotokan kata Unsu, she has been able to display her great focus and athleticism.