Man scolds Asian American woman in busy OC park, observers fail to intervene

In the latest of a disturbing spike in anti-Asian attacks, an aspiring Olympic woman from Orange County was in a park training for the summer games when a man aimed at her in an incident she videotaped.

“I was shocked … I didn’t know what to do … and it slowly increased in a way that he came close to me and continued to yell at me for no reason,” Sakura Kokumai, US team karate Olympic athlete, said ABC7 in an interview.

“You are so small”, the man is heard is saying in the footage. “I’m going to — your boyfriend.”

“There were no racial slanders at first,” said Kokumai, “but when he got in the car, he shouted ‘Chinese’ and ‘Sashimi’ and then I said, OK.”

Sakura Kokumai said she was working out at Parque Grijalva – just like she does every day while preparing for the Olympics. She is expected to represent the United States at the Tokyo Games this summer – as the first American to qualify for the Olympic karate games.

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That’s why she says she was so calm: she knew that if she needed to, she could fight. She said the man from nowhere started harassing her for almost 20 minutes.

“You know what? If this was my mother … and if it were my grandmother … that’s when it got scary, because I knew I was able to handle the situation by staying calm,” said Kokumai. “You don’t want to be aggressive. But my concern was, what if it was someone else?”

In 2020, there were 10 times more incidents of hatred and crimes against Asian Americans in Orange County. Most of these crimes were in public, according to the Orange County Human Relations Commission.

Last month, an 82-year-old Asian American woman from the Leisure World retirement community in Seal Beach received a letter on the day of her husband’s funeral – saying her death was a good thing because it meant “one less Asian to tolerate . “

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