The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > Education > People



A trusted skipper of Waseda who rides the winds and runs the sails

Ms. Marin Hamamoto

In yacht races, quick decision-making is the key. On the regulation course, which is created by placing marks atop the surface of the ocean, he who can "read" the movements of the wind wins the race. Everything, including how fast one can make it around the course, depends on this. "You have to also outmaneuver your opponent, and so your body and mind are both moving at full blast," said Ms. Hamamoto simply, with a smile. You'd be surprised at her severity during video footage of her competitions. For Ms. Hamamoto, a competition is no time to be taking a cruise on a yacht; most of her body is hanging out over the ocean waters. "You've got to read the strength of the wind while keeping balance with your own body. So, rather than riding the yacht, you're more or less hanging onto the boat with your feet." The venue for the race - the ocean - is quite fickle in its nature. There are days when the waves are high, and there are days when there is almost no wind at all. "In order to make sure you don't let the slightest change in the flow of the wind slip by, your body needs to move faster than your mind can think. It becomes possible to grasp these moments through constant training." Inspired by her father, who taught her how to windsurf, Ms. Hamamoto began riding yachts at the age of nine. Fearing the cruel depths of the ocean, there was a time when she was almost in tears with despair after having fallen off her boat and into the water. "But my father looked at me and said 'If you hate it so much, why not quit yachting?' That really got to me. I replied by saying, 'No, I'm not going to quit,' and sailed back out to sea with tears streaming from my eyes," recalled Ms. Hamamoto, laughing. And thus, after passing through over ten years' worth of tomorrows, a renowned skipper who held high the banner of Waseda University was born.

During team competitions, Ms. Hamamoto's first priority is to fulfill her role and contribute to her team. "After entering Waseda, I've gone through a number of training camps and have become aware of 'what it is that I can do.'" It was after she took on a leading role as captain of the women's team that she became conscious of how to create the flow of a race in addition to being aware of the roles that she should fulfill. "There are times when a small error can lead to a large accident. The winning strategy is to control one's urge to place everything on one large gamble, and instead gradually pull apart from the competition while protecting one's current position."

After Ms. Hamamoto graduates, she will begin working at a company that allows her to further develop her "fondness for eating delicious food." "It's been four years since I left Oita Prefecture and came to Tokyo, and my favorite place here is Tsukiji." While there, she feels as though the liveliness of Tsukiji gives her energy. "One thing that the Tsukiji Outer Market has got a lot of is affordable and delicious places to eat!" Having received a name that has a meaning related to the sea from her father, who has a passion for the ocean, Ms. Hamamoto has put that knowledge and strength to use on the ocean waters. Building upon her experience as liaison officer of the Yacht Club, Ms. Hamamoto will be setting sail for a new voyage as a working member of society.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Ms. Marin Hamamoto

Born in 1988 in Oita Prefecture and graduated from Beppu Aoyama High School. This spring she graduated from the School of Sport Sciences. In 2009 she was the women's team captain of the Yacht Club, during which time she won an overall championship victory at an intercollegiate competition. In April 2010 she began working at Mercian Corporation. Her favorite food is gyoza dumplings filled with harusame (bean starch noodles) made by her mother.

Commemorating the overall championship winners at the 2009 All Japan Womens Intercollegiate Championship. Ms. Hamamoto is at the far right of the front row.