• November 18, 2019

Cheering from Japan to Kentucky - The Trail Blazer: Life & Arts

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Cheering from Japan to Kentucky

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Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 11:38 am | Updated: 2:27 pm, Wed Nov 6, 2019.

A love for her favorite sport brought her from Japan to the United States, specifically to Morehead State University.  

Honami Mishima came to MSU from Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, to improve her cheerleading skills and learn English. She said moving to the U.S. felt brave. 

“I feel brave because I can’t speak English, but I’m here,” said Mishima.

Mishima started out doing gymnastics in Japan, then gradually ended up cheering and landed on the National Cheerleading team for two years.

“We won the Cheerleading World Competition in 2015, and in 2017,” said Mishima.

Honami Mishima
Honami Mishima preforms during an exhibition game Tuesday, October 29, 2019 in Morehead, Ky. Photo by Elle Howard / The Trail Blazer By Elle Howard

Cheerleading became a sport that Mishima ended up loving.

“I love cheerleading because it’s a team sport and we support each other.”

Before picking Morehead State, she had the idea to cheer at the University of Kentucky but was unable to try out in person because of a job.

Mishima lives on campus with three of her teammates.

“My teammates are so kind, helpful and a little crazy,” she said.

Mishima will be at MSU until May 2020. She said her favorite part about being in Kentucky is the peacefulness and one of her favorites around Morehead is Lockegee Rock.

“I like how quiet it is,” she said.

When Mishima moves back to Japan at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, she wants to teach gymnastics and cheerleading to children.

“I’m happy I’m able to know about American cheerleading style and make a lot of friends,” she said.