The world's fastest fingers

The world's fastest fingers

Wong Yat-hei meets Hiroyuki Suzuki, the yo-yo world champion, as he shows off his lightning-quick tricks


World champion Hiroyuki Suzuki
World champion Hiroyuki Suzuki
Photos: Edmond So/SCMP

Have you ever tried balancing a coin on your ear and having a yo-yo knock it off?

Some may have seen this incredible trick performed by Hiroyuki Suzuki on YouTube. He's the world record holder for "the fastest time to knock a coin from the ears of 15 participants with a loop-the-loop yo-yo trick". He's also four-time world yo-yo champion.

Last week, Young Post web editor Leon Lee joined me when I went to meet Suzuki. The master was in town to judge a yo-yo competition at Telford Gardens in Kowloon Bay.

To begin with, it is not easy to balance a two-dollar coin on your ear while trying to keep very still. The coin wouldn't stay on my ear at all, so Leon stepped in. "Don't move or I will hit you," Suzuki told him before he raised his hand and sent the yo-yo flying towards Leon's face.

The yo-yo flew back and forth as Suzuki tried to measure the distance. But before Suzuki could strike, the coin fell and he had to start again. It's not easy to stay calm with a yo-yo flying at your face.

Everyone was worried Leon would get a bruised eye - but not Suzuki, who wouldn't quit until the trick was done. He even took off his signature sunglasses to get a better look. Finally, Leon mastered the skill of keeping the coin on his ear and Suzuki knocked it off while missing his target's face. "Italians have bigger heads and are easier to hit," joked Suzuki.

Suzuki aims his yo-yo at a fearless Leon Lee

"The US has the biggest population of yo-yo players and they are really good," he says. "But Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore have some of the best players in the world, despite a much smaller number of people playing. A few years ago, I saw many Hong Kong players following the tricks of Japanese players, but now they are coming up with their own."

He may be a star now, but the yo-yo great had humble beginnings in terms of his skill. "I started spinning yo-yos in primary school," he says. "There was a craze in 1997 when every child was carrying one. I could only do simple tricks like 'walking the dog'.

"But I really loved it, so I started reading books and watching videos to learn more. I would practise as long as I could every day. Then I started entering contests: I first became world champion in 2004."

Suzuki soon realised that he could make more of an impact.

"Last year, I started my own brand, sOMEThING. I make bags for carrying your yo-yos in. This is one step towards making the sport fashionable."

Suzuki also wants to connect yo-yos to music. "My idols are the Japanese hip hop group M-Flo," he says. "I wear sunglasses while performing because they do the same. They created a song for my yo-yo performances.

"I also appeared on Korean TV with [K-pop group] Kara. I hope to make yo-yoing into a trendy sport like skateboarding."

You might also like:

- Becoming a yo-yo champion is not just fun and games, it calls for dedication and hours of practice

- Believe it or not, before video games and iPhones, people were able to keep themselves entertained with just a piece of paper and pencil.

- Cason Crane has climbed the highest summits of the 7 continents in 15 months for his Rainbow Summits Project, raising funds for the anti-bullying Trevor Project for LGBT youths



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