Japanese Athlete, Jamaican Blood

When people think of Japan, they rarely think of track and field.

That’s till you add some Jamaican blood to the mix. Then, people start paying attention. And, paying attention they are.

Meet Julian Jrummi Walsh!


A quick internet search will reveal him to be a Japanese athlete and 400m specialist who is a member of the 4x 400 metres team that finished second to the United States at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Oregon in 2014.


What is also highlighted in the first or second line of almost every article is the fact that this young Japanese track star was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1996 and is the son of Jamaican musician Emanuel Walsh.

Emmanuel Walsh

Julian moved to Japan with his Japanese mother when he was three years old. This was way before he had time to sample enough of our yams, dasheens and bananas that the world seems to think we get our speed from.


Since he didn’t have time to drink enough of our water either, I’m left to surmise that his athletic prowess is all genetics. As such, I reached out to his father to find out if he was the one who pushed his son on the path of athletic glory. But, Mr. Walsh admitted that it was his wife, not him, who encouraged the young track star to run. He however believes that it is the Jamaican blood in him that will guide his path to athletic success. Mr. Walsh said:

“Julian works very hard and months ago he told his mommy, ‘I am taking you to Rio. Just watch and see’.”

Both parents watched and they did see. Because on Friday, June 24, 2016, Julian Jrummi Walsh qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio.

Will he medal? Mr. Walsh is certain.

“Yes! A big, big yes! My family is so happy right now and I feel very blessed. This is a dream coming true for Julian and I can’t wait to go to Rio and see my son run.”


So, in my best Portia Simpson Miller imitation: My fellow Jumaicans, watch the Olympic Games and remember this young man’s name. Big him up even though he represents a foreign land. Because only a Japanese with Jamaican blood can be the ‘Bolt’ of Japan.  

See him dominate his trials in the vid below:

Till next time — wait! It would be remiss of me to end this article without making mention of the other young Japanese/Jamaican who is also dominating athletics in Japan and has recently qualified for the Rio Olympic Games.

Meet Asuka Cambridge:

via Youtube
via Youtube

Born to a Jamaican father and a Japanese mother, Asuka is the two-time East Asian Games gold medalist and relay bronze medalist at the World Junior Championships in Athletics.

Read more about him in this Japan Times article.

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