Edward Foulkes was a virtual unknown prior to this year’s World Darts Championship, but the enigmatic Japanese qualifier made his mark with an impressive straight sets win over talented Belgian Mike De Decker on debut.
The 30-year-old will now take on Brendan Dolan in Tuesday afternoon’s opener for the right to take on world No 3 Gerwyn Price in round three, and he revealed his fascinating backstory to the PDC ahead of his clash against ‘The History-Maker’.
Foulkes, who is based in Nagoya, won October’s PDJ Qualifier to earn a spot in his first World Championship, seeing off former World Cup semi-finalist Seigo Asada and two-time women’s world champion Mikuru Suzuki in qualifying for the sport’s showpiece.
Primarily a soft-tip player, Foulkes has many strings to his bow. He is a talented musician and plays the Japanese “Shamisen” guitar, and his musical career has seen him perform alongside his mother Keiko, a famous singer in Japan.
“I work in a darts bar and play soft-tip professionally. I quit for four years and started playing [again] last year. I was working hard and trying to join the soft-tip tour, but there’s no tour any more because of the virus,” Foulkes told the PDC media team.
“There was the PDJ Japanese qualifier, and I tried it and won, and I’m here right now. I never dreamed about it but here I am. I was just thinking that I had to play my best, and if I do my best I can win.
“I’m so happy. This is my first time [in the UK] but I’m enjoying it. I want to [play on the PDC Asian Tour] next year. Right now soft-tip is bigger, but maybe in two or three years steel-tip will be the biggest in Asia.”
Although Foulkes is flying the flag for Japan at the Alexandra Palace, his Welsh-born father’s roots which have unearthed a remarkable family history, which would make for a fascinating sub-plot if he were to lock horns with World Grand Prix champion Price in the last 32.
His father Paul left Llandudno in 1981 to join the US Marine Corps, and whilst stationed in Okinawa, he met Foulkes’ mother Keiko in 1984.
Foulkes’ grandfather Hugh was a professional golfer based at Llandudno GC, whilst great-grandfather Hugh was a left-back for West Bromwich Albion and Darlington, making a solitary appearance for the Welsh national team in 1931.
His affable nature won him many admirers following his convincing victory over De Decker, where he averaged 91 and took out a fabulous 140 checkout to clinch the opening set with an average of almost 103.
When asked by Sky Sports’ Michael Bridge in his post-match interview about where he’d been in the darting world, his literal reply of: “I’m from Japan,” also endeared him to the darting masses. However, he vows to continue taking the experience in his stride.
“I hope my family are very proud. “I have had a very good year and I will be ready for the next round.”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC