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I like to think of myself as having developed a pretty broad palate, what with the fact that I’ll happily choose to eat things such as cod roe, lotus root, and chicken tail. Still, there are a couple of culinary challenges I can’t overcome, and perhaps my greatest dinner plate foes are mushrooms. I mean, I know they’re good for you and all that, but seriously, they’re fungi, right?

Here with a counterpoint is karate word champion Rika Usami, and the ferociously awesome commercial she made in her new role as mushroom spokes-martial artist.

Usami earned international fame at the 2012 WKF World Karate Championships, where she went home with the top honor for the speed, precision, and power on display in her unparalleled kata performance. Although she retired from competition in 2013, the 29-year-old Tokyo native is by no means finished with her life’s work. She’s currently a member of the Tottori Prefectural Board of Education and coach of the karate team at Kokushikan University in Tokyo, in addition to serving as a goodwill ambassador for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

In her new commercial, though, Usami isn’t promoting international athletic competition, but the healthy, delicious mushrooms sold by Japanese food company Hokto.

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Rather than give a lengthy speech on the merits of a mushroom-rich diet, Usami leaves it up to the onscreen text to deliver the message, “People who eat their mushrooms don’t get beat.”

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It’s a philosophy Usami herself believes in, as she reveals in a separate video which documents the making of the commercial.

“I always ate mushrooms before completions,” she says, “If it was winter, I’d eat them as part of a hotpot, or on top of pasta in other seasons. When I ate all of them, I didn’t lose.”

▼ Usami, on-set in a uniquely colored gray gi, chosen to show up better in the black-and-white commercial

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Of course, some of her success might also be due to the years and years of training. To show how far Usami’s skills have come, Hokto also put together this side-by-side comparison of her performing the same routine in 1998 and 2015.

At the closing of the “making-of” video, Usami poses with the product and runs through a number of potential slogans:

“They’ll make you stronger, too! Let’s eat mushrooms!”
“I love strong people! Let’s eat mushrooms!”
“Become stronger with me! Let’s eat mushrooms!”
“Is it OK if we make you stronger? Let’s eat mushrooms!”
“Do you like strong women? Let’s eat mushrooms!”
“Hey now, if you don’t eat mushrooms, you won’t become strong!”

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And while those are all persuasive arguments, after seeing her punch and kick, we’ll pretty much do whatever she wants, as long as she promises not to hurt us.

Source: Field Caster
Top image: YouTube/fieldcasterjapan
Insert images: YouTube/Hokto, YouTube/fieldcasterjapan