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"There is nothing that you can't overcome."
Shinji is the first Japanese one-eyed certified pilot in the world. This is a story of hope and overcoming adversity. It started out as "impossible" and he changed it to "I'm possible"
Ever since he could remember, he dreamed of becoming an airplane pilot in Japan.
While growing up on a family farm outside the small town of Hokkaido, Japan, he often envisioned flying the blue skies and connecting people from around the world. Shinji pursued his dream and entered one of the oldest Aviation High Schools in Japan.
A horrible car accident left Shinji blind in one eye, crushing his teenage dreams.
Shinji died once in that accident. Fortunately, he was revived back to life but his life changed completely since then. Under Japanese aerospace regulations, losing an eye was a disability that disqualified him from having a pilot's license. People told him that not just his dream was Impossible, but anything in his life would be impossible anymore.
He never gave up.
Determined to find a solution, Shinji moved to the United States and continue his education. Upon graduation with a Master's degree in Safety Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Shinji joined a large Aerospace company.
While achieving his professional goals, Shinji never lost sight of his true passion to fly the blue skies. He continued to participate in flight training programs, and under the United States aerospace regulations (Statement of Demonstrated Ability – SODA – FAR61.401), he was successful in obtaining a private pilot license in 2005. This was a "first" for the Japanese aerospace community to have a “single-eyed handicapped pilot”. Shinji went on from private pilot training and he is now teaching others how to fly at Snohomish flying service, WA as an FAA certified flight instructor.
When they tell you it’s impossible, think this way ”I’m possible”.
Shinji achieved his dream, and he is now giving back to his communities through inspirational and motivational speaking. He shares his story and the challenges that he overcame to realize his dreams. You will often hear him say “there is nothing that we can’t overcome" and “Let's do more amazing stuff together!". Shinji is a true inspiration to those around him.
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