It’s a hot day at the Komatsugawa Athletic Park in eastern Tokyo. Tokyo Skytree looms over the skyline in the distance, and the occasional passing train makes it hard to hear, but for the Quidditch players warming up, neither sun nor sound bother them in the slightest. These players have withstood the impacts of COVID-19 and thrived on the world stage.

After springing up in the 2010s here in Japan, Tokyo now boasts five different teams, while universities in Osaka and Kyoto also play host to their own clubs. While this rise has been a welcome turn for the players, it is a solid recovery from the toll the pandemic took upon the sport.

“We had to stop practice completely, of course,” Miyu Taniguchi says.