Yurika Taniyama started kendo at the age of eight. Watching her father practice kendo brought out a desire in her to participate in the martial art. Her younger siblings followed her lead. Now, her younger brother is in college and continues kendo; her younger sister, however, practiced kendo until the end of high school.
Taniyama has an impressive record in competition. In her second year of high school, she was the individuals champion of the All Japan High School Kendo Championships. In her second and third years in college, she placed second and third, respectively, in the All Japan Women's Kendo Championships. In her fourth year of college, she was the individuals champion and a member of the first place team of the All Japan College Kendo Championships. After she began her career in the police department, she won first place in 1995, third place in 1996, and first place again in 1997 in the All Japan Police Kendo Championships. She was also the captain of the women's Japan team in the recent World Kendo Championships.
During her spare time, she listens to Japanese pop music and watches American movies. She enjoyed watching Tom Cruz in "Mission Impossible" and Sean Connery in "Rock". One of her favorites is "Pretty Woman" with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
As a policewoman in the Kyoto Police Department, Taniyama practices kendo twice a day. Kendo is an important part of her life. She believes that kendo contributes to the quality of life, teaches one things that can be applied to life in general, and helps to keep one alive. She intends to practice kendo for the rest of her life, and hopes that everyone practicing kendo in the U.S. will also do so.
Naoko Yamamoto, Kendo 4 Dan
Naoko Yamamoto is a former classmate of Yurika Taniyama. She has been a strong competitor in kendo since junior high school. The following is a list of her accomplishments. (Note: To be a participant of the following championships, one must win in a number of regional tournaments.)
1986 All Japan Junior High Championships 3rd Place Individuals and Team
1989 Yamaguchi Prefecture High School Tournament Team Champions
1991 All Japan Championships Individuals Participant
1992 Kyushu Championships Individuals Participant
1993 Kyushu Championships Individuals Best 16
1997 All Japan Police Championships Individuals Participant
Miho Kinoto, Kendo 3 Dan
Miho Kinoto is also a former classmate of Yurika Taniyama. A list of her accomplishments follows.
1985 - All Japan Junior High Championships Team Participant
1989 - All Japan High School Championships Individual and Team
Participant 1993 - All Kyushu College Championships Individual Participant