Figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu, who earned a Gold Medal at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, shows off his prize at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on April 24. (Louis Templado)
FIGURE SKATING/ Sochi Olympic champion Hanyu ready for more gold
With the U.S. president in town and inevitable traffic snarls, it's not surprising that Yuzuru Hanyu was late for his own news conference on April 24.
Minami Katsu tees off at the Vantelin Ladies Open in Kumamoto Prefecture on April 20. (The Asahi Shimbun)
GOLF/ Katsu becomes youngest winner on Japan's LPGA tour at 15
Japanese 15-year-old Minami Katsu became the youngest winner in the history of the Japan LPGA tour by shooting a 4-under 68 on April 20 to take out the Vantelin Ladies Open.
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka makes his major league debut as he pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto on April 4. (Photo taken by Hikaru Uchida of The Asahi Shimbun)
MLB/ Tanaka overcomes rocky start to win Yankees debut
TORONTO--Masahiro Tanaka got his debut off to the shakiest of starts before showing why the New York Yankees spent $175 million to bring him to the major leagues as he led the Bronx Bombers to a 7-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on April 4.
Mao Asada shows her gold medal after capturing her third world figure skating title in Saitama, Saitama Prefecture, on March 29. (Yusaku Kanagawa)
FIGURE SKATING/ World champion Asada still undecided on retirement
SAITAMA--Mao Asada expressed satisfaction after capturing her third world figure skating title on March 29 before an adoring crowd, but stopped short of calling it a career at age 23, after showing she was still in top form.
Mao Asada performs during the women's free program at the World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Saitama Prefecture, on March 29. (The Asahi Shimbun)
FIGURE SKATING/ Mao Asada wins world championship title
SAITAMA--Mao Asada of Japan won the free skate on March 29 to capture her third world figure skating title.
Champion Yuzuru Hanyu and runner-up Tatsuki Machida pose with their medals at the World Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena on March 28. (Yusaku Kanagawa)
FIGURE SKATING/ Olympic champ Hanyu wins world figure skate title
SAITAMA--Japanese teenager Yuzuru Hanyu came back with a brilliant free skate to become the first man in 12 years on March 28 to win the Olympic and world figure skating titles in the same year.
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni speaks to reporters on March 4. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
SOCCER/ Japan to play Costa Rica, Zambia before World Cup
Asian champions Japan will play Costa Rica and Zambia in Florida in early June as their final warm-up matches before the World Cup in Brazil, Japan Football Association announced on March 28.
Mao Asada performs during women's short program of the World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Saitama Prefecture, on March 27. (The Asahi Shimbun)
FIGURE SKATING/ Asada 1st after record-setting short program
SAITAMA--Mao Asada set a world record on March 27 to finish first in the short program at the World Figure Skating Championships held at Saitama Super Arena.
Ozeki Kakuryu celebrates his first championship title with his supporters on March 23 in Osaka. (Tetsuro Takehana)
SUMO/ Slow but steady, Kakuryu finally reaches the top
A once-skinny kid from Mongolia who initially dreamed of playing professional basketball has traveled a long and bumpy road in Japan.
Urawa Reds play its home game against Shimizu S-Pulse at empty Saitama Stadium on March 23. (Jun Ueda)
SOCCER/ Urawa Reds play at empty stadium as punishment for discriminatory banner
SAITAMA--Saitama Stadium was eerily quiet on March 23 as hosts Urawa Reds were forced to play behind closed doors due to racist behavior by some of their fans.
Ozeki Kakuryu goes back to his dressing room after defeating ozeki Kotoshogiku and winning the title on Day 15 of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium on March 23. (Toshiyuki Hayashi)
SUMO/ Kakuryu wins first title and likely promotion to yokozuna
Ozeki Kakuryu handily won his final match and his first championship title at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka on March 23, putting him in line for promotion to yokozuna.
Ozeki Kakuryu, right, pushes yokozuna Hakuho out of the ring on Day 14 of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium on March 22. (Tetsuro Takehana)
SUMO/ Kakuryu close to title after defeating Hakuho on Day 14
Ozeki Kakuryu moved into the sole lead at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka on March 22 with a big win over defending champion Hakuho, while Harumafuji had his hopes of a come-from-behind shot at the title demolished by ozeki Kotoshogiku.
Bulgarian-born sumo wrestler Kotooshu tearfully announces his retirement at a March 20 news conference in Osaka. (Tetsuro Takehana)
SUMO/ Tearful Bulgarian-born Kotooshu calls it a career
Former ozeki Kotooshu's days on the raised ring where he towered over his opponents are over.
Yokozuna Hakuho, back, is driven out by ozeki Kotoshogiku on Day 13 of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium on March 21. (Tetsuro Takehana)
SUMO/ Yokozuna duo stumble on Day 13, while Kakuryu stays strong
Yokozuna Hakuho and his junior rival, Harumafuji, both fell to upsets on March 21 at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka, while ozeki Kakuryu won his match to join Hakuho in the lead at 12-1.
Ozeki Kakuryu drives out yokozuna Harumafuji on Day 12 of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium on March 20. (Tetsuro Takehana)
SUMO/ Harumafuji dealt first loss, Kotooshu retires on Day 12
Unbeaten after 12 days, yokozuna Hakuho took the sole lead at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament on March 20 thanks to ozeki Kakuryu, who handed rival yokozuna Harumafuji his first defeat.
Yokozuna Harumafuji, left, slaps ozeki Kisenosato to the dirt on Day 11 of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka on March 19. (Tetsuro Takehana)
SUMO/ Yokozuna duo continue to lead with Kakuryu close behind on Day 11
Yokozuna Hakuho and Harumafuji demolished their opponents to remain unbeaten going into the homestretch of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka on March 19, while compatriot Kakuryu added another win to stay just one loss behind them.
Yokozuna Hakuho, left, throws sekiwake Kotooshu to the dirt on Day 10 of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka on March 18. (Tetsuro Takehana)
SUMO/ Mongolians Hakuho, Harumafuji, Kakuryu mark easy wins on Day 10
The Mongolians continued to dominate their opponents at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka on March 18, with yokozuna duo Hakuho and Harumafuji--who lead with unbeaten records--and ozeki Kakuryu all notching convincing wins.
Yokozuna Harumafuji, left, defeats sekiwake Kotooshu on Day 9 of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka on March 17. (Tetsuro Takehana)
SUMO/ Hakuho, Harumafuji remain deadlocked on Day 9
Mongolia's Hakuho and Harumafuji matched each other with nine consecutive wins to stay tied for the lead on March 17 at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka, and sekiwake Goeido gave rising star Endo a taste of the dirt in a fiery bout.
Saori Yoshida, second from right in the second row, holds her gold medal and the ashes of her father, Eikatsu, beside his photo, after Japan won the women's wrestling World Cup on March 16 in Tokyo's Itabashi Ward. (Kazuhiro Nagashima)
WRESTLING/ Yoshida leads Japan to World Cup win after father's death
Three-time Olympic champion Saori Yoshida helped Japan win a women's wrestling World Cup on March 16, just days after her father died.
Sara Takanashi, left, and Yuki Ito (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
SKI JUMPING/ Japanese duo wins jumping event
FALUN, Sweden--A Japanese duo won a World Cup event on March 15 with teenager Sara Takanashi continuing her unstoppable rise.

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