Emi Watanabe

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Japanese name
Kanji 渡部絵美
Kana わたなべ えみ
Emi Watanabe
Personal information
Full name Emi Kathleen Watanabe
Country represented Japan
Born (1959-08-27) August 27, 1959 (age 57)
Tokyo, Japan
Height 1.52 m (5 ft 0 in)

Emi Kathleen Watanabe (渡部 絵美?, Watanabe Emi, born August 27, 1959) is a Japanese former competitive figure skater. She is the 1979 World bronze medalist and an eight-time Japanese national champion. She was the first skater to medal for Japan in ladies' singles at the World Championships.

Personal life[edit]

Watanabe's father is Japanese, and mother is Filipino.[1] She graduated from Golden Valley High School in Minnesota.

Skating career[edit]

In the 1972–73 season, Watanabe won Japanese national titles on both the junior and senior levels. She then made her World Championship debut, finishing 17th.

In the 1975–76 season, Watanabe took bronze at the 1975 Skate Canada International and then won her fourth national title. She was assigned to the 1976 Winter Olympics and finished 13th. She was 17th in her final event of the season, the 1976 World Championships.

Watanabe broke into the World top ten at the 1978 World Championships, placing 8th. The next season, she won the bronze medal at 1979 Worlds, becoming the first Japanese lady to medal at the event.

In her final competitive season, Watanabe won gold at the 1979 NHK Trophy and then won her eighth national title. She placed 6th at the 1980 Winter Olympics. She ended her competitive career at the 1980 World Championships, where she placed 4th.

Later career[edit]

After retiring from competitive skating, Watanabe went into show business and helped to popularize figure skating in Japan while becoming a national celebrity through her numerous appearances on television and in magazines and newspapers.

Since the 1990s, she has come to be known[who?] as "a troublemaker". She wrote muckraking books about trouble with some TV personalities, skaters and Japanese winter sports tycoon Yoshiaki Tsutsumi.[2] She also often appears on reality television series which follows overweight celebrities as they try to lose weight.[3]

Watanabe ran for The House of Councilors election in 2001 from Liberal League, but lost.[4]


Event 72–73 73–74 74–75 75–76 76–77 77–78 78–79 79–80
Winter Olympics 13th 6th
World Champ. 17th 15th 13th 17th 12th 8th 3rd 4th
Skate Canada 3rd
NHK Trophy 1st
Japan Champ. 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
Japan Jr. Champ. 1st


External links[edit]