Introduced to snowboarding at an early age by his dad, Kazu has developed into one of the most popular riders on the planet.
Despite spending most of his younger years in the powder – living in Nippon, there’s not a lot of choice – he soon became a dab hand at freestyle contents. A string of wins on home turf blossomed into a high-profile international career, which was kickstarted at the tender age of 14 with a silver medal at the 2003 Burton US Open.
This newfound attention led him to appear in Standard Films’ 2004 release Lost in Transition alongside riders like Eero Ettala, Markku Koski, Luke Mitrani and Mikkel Bang. He stayed with Standard for Draw The Line and The Storming, also appearing in Burton’s It’s Always Snowing Somewhere and Standing Sideways.
While he stayed on the contest circuit, the love for it was waning. In 2010 he famously gave the X Games judges the finger and, when his scruffy appearance got him in trouble with the Japanese Olympic delegation, gave a decidedly insincere apology.
adidas snapped him up when they ventured into snowboarding, and since then he’s been focusing on killer video parts. His short-but-sweet appearance in Oakley’s Snowboarding For Me only calcified what we already felt – Kazu is the man.