Sol Kikuchi, the only lone soldier (without parents living in Israel) from Japan in the Israel Defense Forces, last week finished the grueling 31-mile march required to receive the coveted red beret of the IDF Paratroopers Brigade.
“The march wasn’t hard for me, but seeing my parents, who came from Japan [for my beret ceremony], was really emotional for me and for them,” Kikuchi, 21, told Israel Hayom.
When Kikuchi first enlisted in the IDF, he completed a three-month Hebrew-language course, and vowed he would then volunteer to serve in a combat unit.
“If I am serving, I might as well go all the way and serve in a combat unit like the Paratroopers Brigade,” he said.
“Obviously it’s not easy to be alone in a foreign country, but this is my home now and I am very at peace with my decision to serve as a combat soldier in the IDF,” added Kikuchi.