Photo = tvN “You Quiz on the Block” broadcast screen capture”
Mixed martial artist Choo Sung-hoon revealed the reason for naturalizing in Japan.
Choo Sung-hoon, a mixed martial artist who was scouted by a prestigious judo school before becoming a martial artist, appeared as a guest on the 185th episode of the tvN variety show “You Quiz on the Block,” which was recently broadcast.
He said that he started practicing judo at the age of 3 because his father practiced judo and his mother was a swimmer. He also mentioned that he won the judo tournament in the Kansai region three times.
“When I graduated from college, I was scouted by a Japanese company team. They offered a high salary, but they told me that I had to change my nationality to Japanese. I didn’t like that idea. The judo team from the Busan City Hall told me that the salary was low, but I should try it with a dream and I decided to come to Korea and take on the challenge,” he said.
He joined the judo team at the Busan City Hall and started his athletic career in Korea. However, he recalled, “Since I came from Japan, people thought a Japanese person had come. It hurt me a lot. I endured it, thinking that they would understand if I worked hard.” Yoo Jae-suk expressed regret, saying, “In Japan, you’re considered Korean, and in Korea, you’re considered Japanese.” Choo Sung-hoon said, “Although I have Korean nationality, I felt like I was not welcomed in either country. I wondered what my nationality really was.”
Yoo Jae-suk then said, “After going through such a difficult time, you changed your nationality to Japanese.” In response, Choo Sung-hoon revealed the reason for naturalizing in Japan, saying, “The sports style in Korea is completely different. The Japanese style suited me.”
He continued, “I was quite worried about changing my nationality. I was worried about changing the nationality that my mother, grandmother, and family had protected for me. But when I said I wanted to do judo and (naturalize), my parents said, ‘Do as you like.’ However, I didn’t really know how they felt at the time. Later, when I went to Japan and asked them, they said, ‘It hurt us, but since you chose it, we had no choice but to support you.’ Thinking about my father and mother makes my heart ache,” he confessed.