YUKA OTOHATA

AGE 51  I  TOKYO, JAPAN  I  JAPAN
MARKETING OPERATIONS PROFESSIONAL

Yuka Otohata’s education—B.A. in law from Tokyo’s Keio University, followed by a B.A. and M.A. from Johns Hopkins University in international studies—well prepared her for her career at IBM Japan, where she worked 13 years as a strategy consultant before moving to its marketing and communications department in 2010. In 2017, she had recently resumed the serious piano study that had been an important part of her earlier life, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The resulting surgery and treatment put her music studies on hold; nerve damage encroached on her limbs—she couldn’t feel her fingertips. As the side effects subsided, she recommitted to the piano once again. She says she’s entering this competition because: “I now know what it is like not being able to do what you want to do—to play music, to express yourself through the music you love, and to meet people who share the same love; I want to see how far I can reach.”