As anti-Asian hate continues to run rampant across the country, Olympic athlete Sakura Kokumai is the latest victim in a string of unprovoked, verbally abusive rants targeting Asian-Americans.
The karate athlete is set to appear in the Tokyo Olympics this summer. As she was sitting in a park in Orange County, California, she says a man came up to her and began hurdling threats completely unwarranted. Kokumai captured parts of the altercation on video and posted it to her Instagram with a caption explaining the ordeal.
“Couldn’t stop thinking about what happened yesterday,” she wrote. “Still processing… Usually I like to keep my social media positive, but I realized that these issues needs to be addressed so we can protect each other.”
The video shows the man screaming at Kokumai, threatening to fight her.
She continued in the caption, “Yes what happened was horrible, but I don’t know which was worse, a stranger yelling and threatening to hurt me for no reason or people around me who witnessed everything and not doing a thing.”
Kokumai explained that, while she was upset with the man screaming at her, she was also bothered that several other people in the park turned a blind eye to it.
“In that moment, I thought, ‘Gosh, this guy is just crazy.’ But when I zoomed out I realized there were a lot of people at the park,” she explained. “Yes, a women did come up and asked if I was ok towards the end as it escalated… but for the longest time no one cared. People would walk by, some even smiled. And I didn’t know what to do.”
She closed the caption by saying that people need to care for one another more, especially when so many have been facing hate like this.
“I was angry, frustrated, confused, scared, but I was also heartbroken to see and experience how people could be so cold… Please take care of each other. Please look out for one another.”
According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, there has been a significant rise in anti-Asian hate crimes since 2020, with the number rising 150 percent since last year.
Learn more about how you can help curb anti-Asian hate crimes here.