Ice Network

Murakami hoping to clinch trip to Grand Prix Final

Japanese skater taking aim at podium in Trophée Eric Bompard debut
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Japan's Daisuke Murakami sits third place following the short program at 2015 Trophée Eric Bompard. -Getty Images

Japan's Daisuke Murakami skated an exceptional short program at Skate Canada. He even topped Patrick Chan in the segment, which vaulted him to one of the top competitors this season. Two weeks later he is in Bordeaux and currently sits third after the short program at 2015 Trophée Eric Bompard. He spoke to icenetwork about his career and his Japanese culture.

Icenetwork: What are your expectations for this Grand Prix event after your brilliant performances at Skate Canada?

Murakami: Here in Bordeaux, there are a lot of men who have already clinched a berth to the Grand Prix Final. I see myself as one of them. This competition has more pressure for me in that respect. I'm one of the skaters who wants to reach that final as well. I'll do my best, and the results will follow.

Icenetwork: You train on a regular basis in the United States. How close do you still feel to the Japanese culture?

Murakami: I was born and raised in Japan, so I feel very Japanese. I've always had a Japanese passport, and that's my only passport. I travel to Japan mostly for shows and for nationals, or any other international competitions.

Also, I finished university in Japan. I did not have to travel that much, though, except for the final exams I took there. The university was very flexible. They understood my skating schedule and allowed me to take my classes mostly online. I graduated there.

Icenetwork: You skate your short program to Josh Groban's "Bring Him Home." How did you choose that song?

Murakami: Lori Nichol choreographed both of my programs. She and Franck Carroll, who coaches me, decided what direction to take for the season. They are such great professionals, and they know what is best for me. I followed their opinion. I rely on everything they do.

Icenetwork: You skate with very fluid body lines and great flow. Is this something you've been working on?

Murakami (smiles) : My short program was quite a challenge for me. I had lots of doubts at first, when I heard the music for the first time. It was not such an obvious choice for me. I was not used to skating to lyrical music. Then, I saw it as a next step to my skating.

Icenetwork: How do you feel about it now?

Murakami: Good! I'm glad that Lori and my coach have pushed me.

As for the flow of my skating, it's really something I had to work on. In the past, I never had such body movements and lines. But my coaches said that I needed to work on them. So, since last season, I've been taking ballet lessons.

Icenetwork: Would you take them even if it were not for skating?

Murakami (he laughs): Probably not! But I definitely need this for my skating.

Icenetwork: Do you consider yourself to be more of an artist or an athlete, or both?

Murakami: I think I'm in between, actually. I would see myself more as a technician, with my jumps. I think I am more confident with my jumps than with being an artist.

Icenetwork: And yet you manage to take the time you need to emphasize each one of your steps. You must have worked on that a lot then.

Murakami: You're right. In the past, that's all I would do: jump, jump, jump. Franck Carroll has taught me to breathe in between the jumps and the other elements. It definitely benefits me. I'm glad it shows.

Icenetwork: What about your free skate?

Murakami: The music of my free program was composed by a Japanese artist named Yoshiki. He composed it for the emperor of Japan, after the tsunami Japan experienced a few years ago (in 2011).

Icenetwork: Did you choose that music yourself?

Murakami: No, not at all. I had never heard of this composer until Lori brought that music to me. I liked it right away, as soon as I heard it. What I am happy about is that it's a piece that was written mostly for Japan.

Icenetwork: How deeply do you relate to it? Does it bring a special feeling for you?

Murakami: I met the composer last summer. He helped me to understand the music and its meaning. Yoshiki wrote that piece because the Japanese people had a sad time. He wanted to emphasize mostly how the Japanese people rose from the tragedy.

I found that it was also a way to portray my own career. I also had some lows and some highs. This program really lifts me up.