Tomoko Kanda

Tomoko Kanda is a Japanese bodybuilder. She was born in 1966 in Osaka. She has certainly become one of Japan’s most recognizable female bodybuilders. Tomoko Kanda has competed since 2002 and continues to be active. Before entering bodybuilding she was involved in swimming and kendo. Upon the suggestion of a friend to enter bodybuilding, she gave it a try and loved it. Over the past decade, she has become more familiar with fans in the US and Europe. Tomoko Kanda has won the Ms. Nippon contest on multiple occasions. Last year, Vice News has interviewed her. This news piece chronicles her training regimen, her background, and public perceptions. Japan still holds traditional beliefs about women’s roles and their place in society. This is changing, because the government is attempting to get women more involved in the workforce and public sphere. Tomoko has in a small way is contributing to the cause of improving the status of women. As she once stated ” my goal is to spread the positive aspects of bodybuilding to Japanese society and weight training for the health benefits of the women of Japan.”  Tomoko delineates further ” Most ladies are afraid of getting huge and muscular in Japan, they need knowledge of how to weight train, and open up a conservative society to allow women to be strong too.” These are very noble aspirations. She is a harbinger to that vision. Her muscles are not just for show with an impressive 92 kg bench press and 250 kg squat.

Tomoko Kanda on Vice News in 2014.

Tomoko Kanda posing on stage in 2006.


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Tomoko Kanda

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