Japan clinched three gold medals in karate at the Asian Games on Saturday, providing a great boon for the martial art ahead of its debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Kiyo Shimizu and Ryo Kiyuna won their respective women's and men's karate kata event golds, while Ayumi Uekusa captured the title in the women's kumite over 68-kilogram category.

Shimizu defeated Macau's Sou Soi Lam 5-0 to give Japan's women a gold medal in the discipline for the seventh straight time since the sport was added to the continental games' program in 1994 in Hiroshima.

"This is a tournament like the Olympic Games, and I came here knowing that it provides an opportunity to further raise the profile of karate," the 24-year-old defending champion told reporters after the victory in Jakarta. "So, in many respects, it was good that I managed to take the lead in winning the title."

(Kiyo Shimizu)

Shimizu said she dared to try a new kata, called Chibana no Kushanku, for the first time in the final to prepare herself to be able to deliver in any technique against her rivals at the World Championships in November in Spain, and in future.

"I think I've become more self-confident," said Shimizu, ranked second in the world, on the first day of the karate competition at the Asian Games.

Kiyuna beat Wang Yita of Taiwan 5-0, also in kata, where set techniques are performed in a solo routine, bringing home a gold medal for the first time in three editions of Asia's quadrennial multisport event.

"I participated in the games for the first time and I am pleased that I could show a Japanese kata," Kiyuna said. "I think I was able to perform well due to my training."

The 28-year-old 2016 world champion said he regards the Asian Games as somewhat close to the Olympics, so upon stepping on the tatami, he approached the competition as if it was Tokyo in 2020.

"Not only in Asia, but also in other parts of the world such as Europe and America...I see that other competitors' levels are going up toward the Olympics, so I will continue to practice hard," said the native of Okinawa, said to be the birthplace of karate.

In the women's individual kumite category, Uekusa, 26, scored a 5-3 win over Gao Mengmeng of China.

(Uekusa, left, and Gao)

Uekusa, the world's No. 1 in this category, said she was "ashamed" of her bronze at the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea and she was desperate to win gold in Indonesia.

"It was really wonderful that I and the two in the kata divisions...won today," she said, adding that she believes Japan has good prospects for karate gold at the Tokyo Olympics, giving the sport increased exposure.