The Center Lane Film Poster – feat. Rikako Ikee, directed by Hirokazu Koreeda (PRNewsfoto/SK-II)

SINGAPORE, March 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Embracing the strength of the human spirit to rise above adversity in unprecedented times, skincare brand SK-II has released its debut SK-II STUDIO film “The Center Lane” about the destiny-changing story of Rikako Ikee’s return to competitive swimming.

The Center Lane Film Poster - feat. Rikako Ikee, directed by Hirokazu Koreeda
The Center Lane Film Poster – feat. Rikako Ikee, directed by Hirokazu Koreeda

The Center Lane Film Poster
The Center Lane Film Poster

Behind the Scenes of The Center Lane with Hirokazu Koreeda and Rikako Ikee
Behind the Scenes of The Center Lane with Hirokazu Koreeda and Rikako Ikee

Directed by award-winning Japanese film director Hirokazu Koreeda, the film is the first of eight SK-II STUDIO films that explores what it means to change destiny and how destiny is not a matter of chance, it’s a matter of choice.

“I feel truly blessed to have been involved in this wonderful project, and I want to express my gratitude to SK-II and Kore-eda san for capturing who I really am in this film,” shared Rikako Ikee as she reflected on her year-long journey with SK-II and being part of SK-II’s new #ChangeDestiny chapter. “People around the world have been placed in incredibly difficult situations. I’m sure there are times when it gets too much, and you start to question yourself. It’s moments like these that I want everyone to remember the importance of persevering, undeterred, and pursuing your own destiny. It doesn’t matter if we can’t go back to who we were in the past, because destiny is determined by our actions in this very moment. No matter what hardships you’re facing, I believe that you can overcome them and change your future.”

The film’s title, “The Center Lane”, is inspired by Ikee-san’s quote when she first arrived at the pool to be interviewed by Koreeda: “I definitely love the center lane, I always ended up in the center lane at competitions, which you do when you are the fastest. So I feel like home. Like it’s my lane”.

The new film uses a mix of live documentary and animation to shed light on Ikee’s inner thoughts, struggles and hopes as she trains for her competitive comeback.

“I had the opportunity to interview and explore Ikee-san’s thoughts and emotions as she embarked on her return to competitive swimming after her recovery,” shared Hirokazu Koreeda. “It was inspiring to witness what it takes to change destiny through Ikee-san’s personal journey. Her story is unique, but within it is something many of us can relate to in these times. After all, life will always find a way to knock us out of lane, but it is then when we can see our true self and how we evolve past it. That is what I wanted to explore.”


Japanese Swimmer Rikako Ikee, was the Most Valued Player (MVP) of the 2018 Asian Games and a gold medal candidate for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics before she was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2019. During her journey to recovery in May 2020, she partnered with SK-II to show a new side of her, without her wig.

Her story of hope and strength touched the heart of the nation, reaching top news on Twitter, LINE and Yahoo in Japan and sparking an outpour of encouragement and support from netizens all over the country.

This made history as the first time in 28 years where a solo female athlete was featured as frontpage news in Japan.

Rikako Ikee has since returned to competitive swimming with a phenomenal comeback at the Japan Open, clinching second in the 50-meter freestyle. She is set to compete in the 2020 Japan Swim—the Japanese Olympics swimming qualifiers in April.

You May Also Like

Fitness Club Shut Due To Coronavirus Fears

despite a requirement (for) self-quarantine … club member chose to visit the Yawei fitness club

Taiwan to Impose Health Declaration Forms on All Visitors

Those failing to accurately do so face a fine of up to NT$150,000

In Taiwan, Southeast Asians Find Roots In A Bookstore

Humans often tend to create and sustain differences between each other. In…
Manny Ramirez in his stint in Taiwan: CC

TTT Interview: Manny Ramirez “baseball royalty”

Manny Ramirez is a baseball superstar.  In an MLB career that lasted…