All About Japan

Mahiro Takano is Feeling 'Alive'

Martial Arts Music Karate Video Chiba

At the tender age of nine, Mahiro Takano has won her age group’s kata (form) division for the third consecutive year at the All Japan Junior Karatedo Championships, making her by far the most intimidating nine-year-old we’d ever seen.

Since there’s usually not a lot of overlap between the demographics of “a cute nine-year-old kid” and “a fierce barehanded warrior,” YouTube videos of Takano performing her karate strikes have become a worldwide hit, and they recently caught the attention of vocalist Sia. The singer has just released the video for her new song “Alive” in which, true to form, the 39-year-old Australian makes no appearance, so that instead all of the screen time can be given to Takano.

Filmed in Chiba Prefecture, the video is set in an abandoned, dilapidated building, with Takano seemingly getting ready to brew a pot of tea. But as tasty as Japan’s most popular non-alcoholic beverage is, Takano isn’t a tea master, she’s a karate practitioner, so as the tempo picks up, she stands up and does what she does best.

Martial arts fans might be somewhat disappointed that the video’s audio consists entirely of Sia’s vocals and the accompanying music of “Alive.” That means that even though Takano can be seen shouting her heart out, you won’t hear any of her actual kiai yells from when her karate routine was recorded.

But then again, considering how fierce her battle cries look, we’re not sure we could handle the power of fury of her nine-year-old voice.

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