Although she’s helping raise Japan’s next class of fighting games players, Yuko too is pessimistic about Japan’s Street Fighter future. In recent blog posts, Yuko explains that Japan’s esports infrastructure is woefully weak compared to America’s. She points to American food and beverage manufacturers’ willingness to sponsor esports competitors, compared to Japan, where epsorts leans on the video game peripheral industry. Also, it’s MOBAs like League of Legends that turn heads for Japanese investors. There’s less faith in the financial viability of Street Fighter champions, she says.


So, she’s hellbent on getting her students international face time. Some might consider it a betrayal to her country. She thinks it’s an effective business strategy, and maybe, the only option for promising champions like Haku. Last year, she and Momochi brought their three students, Haku, Johnny and Yamaguchi, out to EVO in Las Vegas. All of them won their pools.

Yuko is raising Shinobism’s students out in the open, where American and European investors and sponsors alike can watch them grow. While Japanese Street Fighter IV champions self-actualized in the safe isolation of arcades, this generation is doing it online, on Twitch and YouTube. Yuko herself runs a popular Twitch channel where and and her husband compete for their 25,000 adoring Twitch followers. Her students feature too, as little teases of the franchise’s future. When she’s not orchestrating streams, she’s planning regular Shinobism “Tokyo Offline” Street Fighter parties.


“I don’t have a day off,” Yuko said.

Thanks to Stephen McMoore for translating.