|“||Being short like you are isn't a disadvantage. If anything, it's an advantage, because it makes your opponent assume that you're not a threat||”|
—Yuka Kurumatani, to Sora Kurumatani
Yuka Kurumatani (車谷由夏, Kurumatani Yuka) was a retired professional basketball player who played for Japan's National Basketball Team. She is the mother of Sora Kurumatani and the wife of Tomohisa. Before her marriage, Yuka's surname was 'Horie.'
Yuka is an average size woman, about 159 cm. She has medium-length black hair that ends before her shoulders and with corresponding eyes. Upon her introduction in the series, Yuka was critically ill and usually seen wearing a blue color hospital gown. In the sequence, of flashbacks with her family members and son, Yuka wore a brown-colored winter jacket with a white shirt and scarf and gray dress pants. When giving basketball lessons to her son, Sora, or pupil Yozan, she was seen wearing a pink-colored shirt with black and white striped sports trousers.
Yuka is a very kind, caring, and encouraging individual who respects her family members, elders, and peers. A devoted mother who supported her son growing up. She helped Sora to overcome his feelings of unfairness on being a short individual. As an average-sized person herself, she could understand Sora's shortcomings in playing sports and life in general.
Due to her illustrious basketball career, Yuka has been an inspiration to many upcoming youths in Japan, including Yozan. Her main goal has always been to change people's perception that short players can also help and play a positive role in popularizing basketball. So, after her retirement, Yuka participated in numerous basketball clinics in Japan.
Yuka is from Nagano Prefecture. She is married to Tomohisa, who runs a farm in Nagano. Both have a son named Sora. Her mother, Yone, runs a barbershop in Kawasaki. After being diagnosed with a critical illness, she moved from Nagano to Kawasaki to receive treatment at the Kanagawa National Hospital. Madoka's elder sister, Sumi, was the primary nurse in charge at the hospital who looked after her. Yone, her mother, would often visit the health facility and inform Yuka about Sora's well-being. Yuka was very proud of her son, as he overcame his feelings on being a short individual and taking the sport of basketball after her. When she heard that Kuzuryū High would be participating at the Inter-High Preliminaries, with approval from her health physician traveled to see her son play. During that time, her health condition got worse, and she later passed away under her family's watchful eyes. Afterward, her funeral took place; her family members, close relatives, and friends, including Sakamaki, attended it. Later on, in the series, Yuka makes few cameo appearances, especially in her son's reflections and thoughts.
- The name Yuka means "reason, case, cause" (由) (yu) and "summer" (夏) (ka).
- Yuka's surname Kurumatani means "car" (車) (kuruma) and "valley" (谷) (tani).
- “If it bothers you that much, the difference in height, then become a team player and blow them away. Even if you’re small I think there’s a lot of things you can do.” - to Sora Kurumatani (Chapter 7)
- “If you arms gets tired too quickly, it’s proof that you used it more than necessary. Your arms still has some growing to do. So you have to properly check yourself.” - to Sora Kurumatani (Chapter 12)
- “I guess now’s a good time… Time for me teach you how your mom shoots a basket!” - to Sora Kurumatani (Chapter 12)
- “There’s nothing I can do if you think it looks uncool. But even, so no matter how uncool it may seem to you, I guarantee there’ll be a time where you have to rely on it. When exactly… that time comes… is something that you’ll figure out eventually.” - to Sora Kurumatani (Chapter 12)
- “Oh my, it’s been a while… Yes. I am fine. They’re just exaggerating. But still, thanks for coming… It’ll be a half year next October since I’ve come here.” - to Sora Kurumatani (Chapter 89)
- “You know, I’ve been wanting to apologize to you for a long time. For not being able to give you a bigger body. I’m sorry.” - to Sora Kurumatani (Chapter 89)
- “Good Afternoon. Oh my… There’s a lot of new faces today. Let’s introduce ourselves to each other.” - to Students at Special Needs Oak Gardens (Chapter 132)
- “Okay next one please… How about that girl over there? Sorry about that. That’s a really manly name you have there.” - to Yozan Kamiki (Chapter 132)
- “Do you know about basketball? Despite what you may think from my looks, I’m actually a basketball player myself!” - to Yozan Kamiki (Chapter 132)
- “Generally speaking, basketball is a sport that is played by people who are big and tall. The size of your body does have an impact on how you play, but there aren’t any restrictions or ranking systems. Even in the women’s league, it’s not uncommon for the average player to be over 180 cm tall!” - to Yozan Kamiki (Chapter 132)
- “Power and physique have nothing to do with it. Even with a small body you can still have talent.” - to Yozan Kamiki (Chapter 132)