His triumph is a major source of pride and courage for his country during trying times, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported Monday.READ MORE: Manhattan, Brooklyn Residents Sue City To Stop Permanent Outdoor Dining
Matsuyama, not known for showing emotion, tried to hold it together after realizing the magnitude of his victory. The 29-year-old became the first Japanese man to win a golf major, fulfilling a long-standing ambition for a country that loves the game.
Yoshigaki said she cried tears of happiness and wore her shirt adorned with the Masters logo in celebration the next day.
She’s followed Matsuyama ever since he finished as the lowest scoring amateur at his Masters debut 10 years ago.
“He’s very, very Japanese. Typical Japanese person, in a good way. He’s humble, he’s modest and he’s hardworking,” she said.READ MORE: 'Phantom Of The Opera,' Broadway's Longest Running Show, Resumes Performances
In a sport that has historically been dominated by American and European players, Matsuyama’s victory set a bar for other Japanese athletes that anything is possible.
“This is a very exciting moment,” said Teruisa Shimizu from Edgewater.
For the small island nation, winning isn’t just a show of strength. Many are hoping the victory will ease anti-Asian rhetoric that has flared during the pandemic.
“Matsuyama could change the mindset of people who never probably had respect for someone from different culture,” Yoshigaki said.
Some Japanese Americans plan to fly back to Tokyo to watch Matsuyama compete in the summer Olympics. Some say he would be the perfect candidate to light the Olympic flame.MORE NEWS: Rev. Jesse Jackson Celebrates 80th Birthday In Harlem
CBS2’s Christina Fan contributed to this report.