Ukrainian evacuees interact with Japanese children through karate

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A karate organization in central Japan held an event on Saturday to welcome evacuees from Ukraine.

Karate master Ozawa Takashi, who taught in Ukraine, runs the martial arts club in the city of Takamori in Nagano Prefecture. The city has taken in nine women and children who fled Ukraine.

At the event, evacuees were entertained by Japanese cuisine and a video showing a karate competition that took place in Ukraine three years ago with Ozawa as a guest.

Four of the Ukrainian children who had practiced karate before interacted with the local children through the martial art.

They reacted with cheers when Ozawa and the Japanese children performed karate moves and cracked wooden planks and concrete blocks by hand. Ukrainians received new karate uniforms as a gift.

A 10-year-old boy, Vitalii Kuznietsov, came to Japan with his sister, leaving his parents in Ukraine.

He said the meal was delicious and the performance of breaking concrete blocks was impressive. He said he would put on the new karate uniform once his old one wears out.

Miyazawa Sosuke, 13, who demonstrated the karate moves, said he was happy to have performed and wanted to practice the martial sport with his Ukrainian counterparts.

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