Japan have had a successful day on home soil on day one of the World Karate Federation (WKF) Karate 1-Premier League event in Tokyo, reaching five finals in all.
In the women's kata, local star Kiyou Shimizu was widely expected to make the gold medal bout and she did so in style, winning all of her contests by a unanimous decision at the Budokan.
The world champion beat Italy's talented karateka Viviana Bottaro 5-0 on her way and will now face Spain's grand winner Sandra Sanchez in the final.
The Spaniard, who currently tops the world rankings, beat another Japanese karateka Emiri Iwamoto to qualify, guaranteeing her a 35th consecutive international medal in the process.
Following in the footsteps of Shimizu, four other Japanese athletes made their own finals.
In the women's kumite under-50 kilogram class, Miho Miyahara reached her fifth final of the year and now has a chance to secure a triple crown of three victories.
She beat France's Sophia Bouderbane in the semi-finals, 3-1.
The thrilling first day of action of #Karate1Tokyo concludes with the last finalists of the day! Luigi Busa of Italy will fight for gold against Yuta Mori of Japan in Male Kumite -75kg #karate pic.twitter.com/ivlpGRh3Z1— World Karate Federation (@worldkarate_wkf) October 12, 2018
A win in the final will also see her crowned grand winner on Sunday (October 14), but she will have to beat Spain's Gema Morales to seal the prize.
In the men's under-67kg it was Hiroto Shinohara who made the final for Japan.
The 29-year-old just edged past Hungary's Yves Martial Tadissi 1-0 in the last four, to make what is his second final of the year.
He will now face Turkey's Burak Uygur.
The fourth and fifth Japanese karatekas to make a final were Shiori Nakamura and Yuri Mota, in the women's kumite under-55kg and the men's under-75kg respectively.
Nakamura made it through by beating Germany's Jana Bitsch 1-0, while Mota saw off Ukraine's grand winner Stanislav Horuna 2-0.
They will now face Kazakhstan's Sabina Zakharova and Italy's Luigi Busa.
The competition, providing a taster of karate's Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, will continue tomorrow before concluding on Sunday (October 14).