Asuka is opening up about her experience with racism amid the uptick of hate crimes perpetrated on Asian Americans.
Following the emergence of the global pandemic, hate crimes perpetrated against Asian Americans skyrocketed and nearly doubled in March according to a report from Stop AAPI Hate.
For the last year, Asuka has reigned atop WWE, but outside the ring, she has not been immune to the racism that has increased towards those of Asian descent.
Speaking with ET Canada's Shakiel Mahjouri, Asuka recalled an incident that occurred during the start of the pandemic where she first felt like she was being treated differently because of her ethnicity.
“Yes, I have only one experience with racism. It was around the time when COVID-19 started spreading. In America, I was at the airport. A woman came towards me. When she noticed me, she covered her mouth with her hand and ran away from me. I was shocked. It never happened before COVD-19. Oh my gosh. I didn't understand. I was shocked.”
Regarding the uptick in hate crimes, Asuka very plainly stated how much she hates to see what is occurring.
“I hate it! I hate it! I don't understand. It's a waste of time to be hateful. Why do people attack other people? We are people, right? I don't understand. I hate it.”
On a more positive note, Asuka offered some words of encouragement to young Asian girls that may look up to her.
“I want to say to Asian girls, don't give up on your dreams! When I was 16, I wanted to be a WWE superstar. One day I asked my mom, ‘can I be a WWE superstar,’ and she said, 'No, you have to go college!’ I also told my high school teacher, 'I want to be a WWE superstar.' She laughed and said, 'Don't be silly.' I was shocked. I had no choice. I gave up on my dream once. I went to college and after graduating from college, I started training. I couldn't give up on my dream. My friends gave me confidence, 'You can do it, you can do it!' I called a wrestling company in Tokyo. I left my hometown of Osaka, Japan. Now I am a WWE superstar. Don't give up on your dream!”
Asuka will have a chance to live her dream once again when she steps into the ring against Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley this Sunday at WrestleMania Backlash and attempts to reclaim the WWE Raw Women's Championship.
Fightful will have live coverage on Sunday, May 16.