During our first podcast for 2021 we caught up with Yoshi Hagiwara and Bec Hagiwara, who are one of the most influential football couples in the AFL Asia family!

Yoshi is a rebounding defender who plays for the R246 Lions in the GO League. Yoshi is the backbone of the AFL Japan Digital Media Team and is a fantastic operator! Yoshi and AFL Japan legend Michito Sakaki co-host AFL Japan’s YouTube channel that promotes AFL Japan core business internationally and presents AFL news in Japanese!

After moving from the Gold Coast to Japan in 2014, the couple co-founded one of AFL Asia’s newest AFLW clubs, the Japan Mirais AFLW club and have since led the club in unison with Bec as Coach and Yoshi as Team Manager!

We look forward to seeing the Japan Mirais playing at our AFL Asia AFLW Asian Championships in the future!

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Bec: Nope, just Bec.

Yoshi: Nuts.

What Clubs have you played for?

Bec: Only played footy for the Mirais (Japan’s AFLW team) and been involved with the R246 Lions.

Yoshi: Just the R246 Lions and Japan.

What number do you wear?

Bec: 13

Yoshi: 14

Preferred position/s:

Bec: Mid-forward because I’m quite short and cannot defend.

Yoshi: I like to defend and control from the backline.

AFL team:

Bec and Yoshi: Geelong Cats

Best player/s in AFL Asia:

Bec: Obviously, Yoshi is very good, but Michito is very good for the Lions and Sako for the Mirais.

Yoshi: Yep, definitely Sako.

Best teammate/s:

Bec: All my teammates are great!

Yoshi: Toyohsi, captain of the R246 Lions.

Most annoying teammate:

Bec: Yoshi!

Yoshi: Michito, only when he gets angry!

Favourite meal:

Bec: Spaghetti Bolognese.

Yoshi: I love my cereal.

Favourite holiday destination:

Bec: Phuket or Bali.

Yoshi: Bali for me.

Invite 4 people of your choice to a dinner party:

Bec: Gary Ablet Jr, Tom Hawkins, Roger Federer and either Steve Smith or Michael Clarke.

Yoshi: A Geelong defender, like Harry Taylor and Zach Tuohy, and the Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike so I know what’s happening with the Olympics and Covid.

Best footy trip:

Bec: The Shanghai Cup and the regular trips to Osaka (I take the bullet train, so I don’t have to sit in a car for nine hours!).

Yoshi: Yea I really love the Osaka trip. Boys karaoke in the car!

3 things people don’t know about you:

Bec: When I played tennis, I smashed multiple racquets so I’m a bit of an angry type of sportsperson and I don’t speak Japanese.

Yoshi: I teach English so a lot of students don’t know I speak Japanese and I can grow a beard when I try to.

What does the future of AFL Asia look like and/or how do you see the sport impacting local communities across Asia?

Bec: Once Covid is under control I think there’s huge potential to expand even further, International Cups help that and hopefully we can have a women’s team there as well as the men’s team to help spread awareness.

Yoshi: I think the next few years will be key for the Mirais. We’re lucky enough to be on your podcast and hopefully we can attend IC in a few years’ time. The next couple of years is going to be very exciting.