Asada Mao the Demure Diva
Asada Mao’s life recounts a dramatic narrative of suffering and triumph. It follows a girl considered beautiful during her meteoric rise to skating stardom, a period of hardships she confronts tacitly, and the performance of her life at the 2014 Olympics that touched many around the world. This chapter reconsiders Asada’s public persona as a diligent athlete and as the good girl-next-door who speaks with a smile. Asada seems to embody an ideal Japanese young womanhood. Behind this innocent persona, however, is a strong woman with a fierce commitment to her professional performance and audiences and with a skillful way of concealing her personal life from the public eye. This chapter argues that Asada is a diva who captures the heart of people with her extraordinary looks, artistry, and athletic talents—a diva whose spectacular performances and risk-taking behaviors always excite audiences and whose good-girl persona may be her greatest performance of all.
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