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    It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

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    NBK

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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by NBK on Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:38 pm

    I was at the Japan Sports Association building today for a couple of meeting, and when I left I ran into a press conference by the JASA where the were explaining their policies and findings of initial investigations into whether sexual / power harassment occurs in their member associations.

    I had a couple of conversations there and I don't think that enough key people in Japan and Tokyo really understand how badly their competition in the Olympic bids will beat the living crap out of them with these atrocious news articles.

    This is not good.

    What would be good to do to help? Should various judo governing bodies supportive of Japan getting the Olympics be encouraged to tell the AJF and the Kodokan to take this seriously? Japan is not a 2013 Western society - I fear too many people, almost 100% Japanese men in their late 50's, most in their 60's, immersed in multiple, predominately male-dominated, insular societies in Japan, don't realize how vulnerable this makes them.

    Of course, I could be completely off-base. Peel me another grape, Miss Suzuki.... king
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    BillC

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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by BillC on Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:10 am

    NBK wrote:Of course, I could be completely off-base. Peel me another grape, Miss Suzuki.... king

    Yes, they should follow your example by addressing a female with more than one word in a sentence and ...gasp ... actually addressing her by her family name. In the past I would have expected you to simply mumble "taberu" and thrown the plate at her when what you wanted didn't magically show up.

    Of course we also know that Suzuki-san is deep into your wallet and puts up with your nonsense so she can keep herself stocked with the week's latest offering from Coach and rest from her strenuous Sunday walk around Ginza by taking two bites from a piece of cake whose outrageous price is coupled with its amazing lack of taste or substance.

    Now ... let's make an analogy where the IOC gets into the wallets of all bidders for the 2020 Games ... which isn't even illegal in most of the countries whose representatives are making "the decision" ... it's not an unreasonable expectation that if the surface of things is painted over then the IOC can check off that box, hail Japan as an icon of modernity and athlete rights ... and still pick Istanbul.

    Jerry Hays

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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by Jerry Hays on Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:56 am


    After judo scandal, Olympic Committee finds evidence of physical abuse in 2 more sports

    By Cherrie Lou Billones / February 12, 2013 / No Comments
    After judo scandal, Olympic Committee finds evidence of physical abuse in 2 more sports

    In the wake of the controversy involving coach Ryuji Sonoda and Japan’s women’s judo team members, Kyodo News surveyed 25 federations other than judo that participated in the 2012 London Olympics by distributing questionnaires to coaches and members of the development staff. It was revealed that respondents from two of those federations have indeed seen physical violence by the coaches during trainings. Of the 55 individuals in the 25 federations who were sent questionnaires via e-mail, 34 from 21 federations responded.

    From the sports in which there was physical abuse observed, one of the respondents answered both “yes” and “no” to a question asking if he himself had employed physical abuse. The respondent explained that when he was head coach, he never did, but when he was a novice coach, he said, “I threw a metal folding chair at someone so as to conceal my own weakness. The athlete dodged it.” In the question, “Do you believe physical abuse by sports coaches will end?” nine respondents chose the option saying “I do not think so.” Two respondents of those nine had also checked “I believe so.”

    Just last week, the Japan Olympic Committee summoned Representatives of 31 Olympic sports federations. They were asked if physical abuse, power harassment or sexual harassment were done during training for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. Not surprisingly, they all answered in the negative. The Kyodo News survey, obviously, produced a different result. Note that Kyodo News did not ask for a specific time period in its poll.

    Last Modified: February 12, 2013 @ 12:38 pm
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    BillC

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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by BillC on Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:12 am

    NBK wrote:Of course, I could be completely off-base. Peel me another grape, Miss Suzuki.... king

    Jerry Hays wrote:After judo scandal, Olympic Committee finds evidence of physical abuse in 2 more sports... (followed by a militarily direct and interesting post).

    Jerry-sensei ... it seems like NBK has the inside track on that rice cooker you are always asking me to bring back from Japan. So far in learning from his example I have however found them to be well outside your budget and mine. Best we stick to books I think.
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    nomoremondays

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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by nomoremondays on Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:02 am

    So... when are they going to investigate the Chinese sports schools?

    Now I am in no way condoning targeted violence or anything. Or even discrimination. If this was only a case of one way violence towards women I would have viewed it differently like for instance the behavior of that a-hole uchishiba. Or what the Saudi's threatened that poor girl with during london '12. But if it is for both men and women, it is their 'system'. The japanese have it, the koreans do, the chinese have a form of it, the cuban regime is built on it etc etc. Can culture be seperated from their sports/arts training. Nope. Specific, individual cases of wrong-doing would be criminal, but if it is applied equally to everyone then I am ok with it. Are we looking to impose american mcdonalds/hummer culture everywhere? Any cultural change/revolution that can happen needs to be organically from within their society.

    tldr: Is it time for japan to change? Only if japan thinks its time to change, not if "we" think its time to change.
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    BillC

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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by BillC on Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:04 am

    nomoremondays wrote:
    tldr: Is it time for japan to change? Only if japan thinks its time to change, not if "we" think its time to change.

    My last trip to China in December I received more challenges and questions in this regard than ever before ... in fact the first time I recall it happening. The catalyst was a series of anti-dumping lawsuits against solar cell and polysilicon makers in China. My Chinese friends, reflecting what their government spews at them, view these as US government actions not civil actions brought in court by US companies ... there is no difference in China so for them the reaction is natural.

    My attempts at explanation ended after a series of objections by my normally calm and relatively metropolitan colleague Miss Sun who finally burst out with "why are you Americans always trying to tell everyone what to do?!" Well, I know the answer, but that does not mean it was not cause for introspection, an opportunity to sharpen my objections, perhaps let a few go. That does not mean for a moment that I am backing down from my frustration at the Chinese government cratering every market it decides its companies should enter for the benefit of the few and to the detriment of the many ... including those of us living on the West Coast now breathing the byproducts of Chinese coal being turned in the most inefficient way possible into cheap solar panels which ignorantly assuage the guilt of the Starbucks and yoga crowd as they toodle down the freeway in their hybrid cars. On sale now at WalMart.

    (For the purposes of this topic, by extension in East Asia the term "American" most often includes Western Europe and Canada.)

    So what was that rant about? To answer your question, I think it is a matter of human justice to first of all see things for what they are. Sure, it is best to have a more granular approach and differentiate between a tough program and symbolic shinai and one where the shinai in employed in frustration because the coach is both fearful for his job and unable to provide anything more effective because of his (usually his) own shortcomings.

    Edit: And yes, on second reading let's include the Freudian implications of that statement in this case.

    Sure, you can label this a "traditional" system. But it is the same one for which you can assign the root cause of the Rape of Nanking ... among many historical examples. And I am not in any way exaggerating my assessment. Want a milder one? How about the more mundane practice of "let's make a regulation" practiced by skinny customs agents in big hats and a uniform two sizes too big for them, frustrated by their failure to measure up to their parents expectations, holding down a government job that some family connection finally made for them.

    Beaten people learn to beat. Most often not the people who are beating them, but instead those they encounter who are weaker than themselves.

    This is the "system" you describe.

    Yes, it is old and traditional, but it does not make it right. And yes, that is my "American," judgmental response.
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    Cichorei Kano

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    "Judo culture needs to change" (Japan Times editorial & Kaori Yamaguchi interview)

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:33 am

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/02/14/editorials/judo-culture-needs-to-change/#.UR-KWvK29Jw


    http://ajw.asahi.com/article/sports/topics/AJ201302150007


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    The_Harvest

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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by The_Harvest on Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:01 am

    Master Kano listed four kinds of judo training: "kata" (structured practice), "randori" (freestyle practice), "kogi" (lectures) and "mondo" (dialogue). Some Japanese dropped the last two, and so judo changed

    Some food for thought.


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    Jonesy

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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by Jonesy on Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:55 am

    Heavy criticism of Uemura-kancho here:

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/02/17/national/judo-scandal-casts-doubt-on-olympic-bid/#.USDuvGtYBP5


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    NBK

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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by NBK on Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:55 am

    Yesterday must've been a zoo at the Kodokan - the first meeting of the third party committee to recommend restructuring the All Japan Judo Federation.



    全柔連の組織改革提言へ 第三者委が初会合


    caption: 第1回会合終了後に記者会見する(左から)フラマン氏、香山氏、笠間委員長、高橋氏、田嶋氏の第三者委員会メンバー=東京都文京区で
    Leftmost is Pierre Flamand.

    2013年2月20日 朝刊

    第1回会合終了後に記者会見する(左から)フラマン氏、香山氏、笠間委員長、高橋氏、田嶋氏の第三者委員会メンバー=東京都文京区で

     柔道女子日本代表選手に対する暴力・パワハラ問題で、全日本柔道連盟(全柔連)が設置した外部有識者による第三者委員会の初会合が19日、東京都文京区の講道館で開かれ、一連の問題に対する全柔連の対応や責任の所在、処分の当否などについて議論した。前検事総長で弁護士の笠間治雄委員長は、全柔連の組織改革を提言する意欲も示した。
     終了後に取材に応じた笠間委員長は、第三者委の目的について「ハラスメントの詳細をえぐり出すことではなく、問題が起きた時の組織的な対応の評価。組織自体や関係者の意識に問題があるなら提言していく」と述べた。現時点で告発した選手15人には接触していないが、了解が得られれば聞き取り調査を行う方針を確認したという。
     第三者委は男女計5人の委員で構成。出席した日本サッカー協会副会長の田嶋幸三委員は「残念ながらスポーツ界に暴力は存在する。根絶するために、指導者養成を長くやってきた経験を生かしたい」と話し、精神科医で立教大教授の香山リカ委員は「今回の問題に(選手が)女性(であること)が、どれだけ関わっていたのかを検証したい」と語った。
     柔道元フランス代表で慶大柔道部コーチのピエール・フラマン委員は「フランスで暴力の問題があるかとか、意見はたくさんある」とし、空手家の高橋優子委員は「紙の上だけでなく、現場を見て良くしていきたい」と抱負を述べた。
     今後の会合は3月1日、同8日に予定され、同18日の全柔連の理事会までに報告書をまとめる。
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    NBK

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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by NBK on Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:30 am

    This in today's Japan Times. My, this doesn't reflect well on the establishment.


    Judo coaches changed minds over planned resignations
    KYODO
    MAR 5, 2013
    Japan’s acting head coach of the women’s judo team and two assistants, who were planning to quit in a show of protest, decided to stay on Monday after the All Japan Judo Federation suggested it would lift reprimands issued to them in connection with a scandal related to the abuse of 15 judoka.

    Coach Masaru Tanabe and assistants Hitomi Kaiyama and Midori Shintani had decided to resign earlier Monday because they were upset that the AJJF had found them guilty by association in the explosive scandal — even though the federation had cleared them on charges of physically and verbally abusing the athletes.

    But AJJF President Haruki Uemura admitted later the same day the federation had jumped to conclusions, repealing the warnings to the three that were issued with former head coach Ryuji Sonoda and Kazuo Yoshimura, the head of development at the AJJF.

    Sonoda and Yoshimura resigned to take responsibility last month, and another assistant, Kazuhiko Tokuno, followed them out the door.

    “We held them responsible out of habit, without looking into what was what,” Uemura said. “It’s an undeniable fact that we were at fault.”

    With Uemura’s admission, Tanabe, Kaiyama and Shintani withdrew their resignations.

    “If they are going to lift the reprimands, then we appreciate that,” Tanabe said. “The three of us will not resign.”
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Tanabe Masaru new women's judo Head Coach

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:55 am

    All Japan Judo Federation will offer the vacant Women's Judo Head Coach position to Tanabe Masaru:

    Tanabe Masaru appointment press article

    Strong wording was used in the Japan Olympic Committee's report that was released yesterday:

    Press article on JOC Report


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    The_Harvest

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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by The_Harvest on Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:48 am

    http://japandailypress.com/japan-olympic-committee-says-judokas-suffered-grave-injustice-under-abusive-coach-1825351

    The investigation of the Japanese Olympic Committee into the physical and verbal abuse of former national team coach Ryuji Sonoda concluded that the female judo athletes suffered “grave injustice”. The committee report shows him as a sadistic coach who constantly abused the 15 elite judokas who trained under him.

    For over 20 hours, the judokas were grilled by the committee, along with seven coaches were also interviewed for 17 hours. The stories of the indignities and abuses that the women had to endure are slowly starting to emerge from these interviews. Coach Sonoda would repeatedly hit the women in the face during their training sessions. He would also brandish a whip or stick to intimidate the athletes, some of whom competed in the 2012 London Olympics. There was an incident when he covered the mouth of one of the women during mat technique practices and even used a dead insect to scare her. Aside from the physical abuse, he also emotionally terrorized the women by calling them ugly and comparing them to barn animals.

    The abuse scandal, considered one of the worst sports crisis in Japan, resulted in the resignation of Sonoda, as well as Kazuhiko Tokuno, assistant coach to the national team, and Kazuo Yoshimura, head of development for the All Japan Judo Federation. Based on the results of their investigation, the JOC will discuss on Tuesday how to punish the judo federation as well. The report also lists 13 points that the AJJF can use to clean up this mess. This includes open dialogue with the management and the members, establish a coach qualification system, introduce periodic workshops and allow physicians to accompany judokas during trainings and tournaments.


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    NBK

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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by NBK on Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:47 am

    I understand there are actually over 50 women on the team, and many of them simply put up with similar abuse. This to some was proof he was not out of control - that many of the women 'appreciated' his fervor.

    The AJJF had multiple chances to address this before it became a public scandal and refused to act (Japan Rule #1: Do nothing and hope the problem goes away.). Now just when the school Budo program means they're going to reach literally millions of kids a year, they already have parents telling little girls to not let the judo teachers touch them. So, they're getting complaints when they rearrange their legs after a fall, show them where to tuck their chins on their chests, etc.

    NBK
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    BillC

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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by BillC on Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:21 am

    NBK wrote:I understand there are actually over 50 women on the team, and many of them simply put up with similar abuse. This to some was proof he was not out of control - that many of the women 'appreciated' his fervor.
    NBK
    Fifty some odd on this team ... and how many over the years and yet not one woman is fit to coach the women's team? Or to perhaps coach (shudder as we ponder the inconceivable) the MEN'S team?

    That's the elephant in the room here. Unless I missed it no one is talking about that.

    Even today on Japanese TV is the person calling the exercises is male, the ones demonstrating the exercises young females?

    And not just in Japan by the way ...
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:29 am

    NBK wrote:I understand there are actually over 50 women on the team, and many of them simply put up with similar abuse. This to some was proof he was not out of control - that many of the women 'appreciated' his fervor.

    The AJJF had multiple chances to address this before it became a public scandal and refused to act (Japan Rule #1: Do nothing and hope the problem goes away.). Now just when the school Budo program means they're going to reach literally millions of kids a year, they already have parents telling little girls to not let the judo teachers touch them. So, they're getting complaints when they rearrange their legs after a fall, show them where to tuck their chins on their chests, etc.

    NBK

    NBK,

    I think this is a very complex issue from both a gender and socio-cultural perspective.

    There is in Japanese, as you might know, the concept of ai-no-muchi 愛の鞭. This concept long predates the existence of Kôdôkan jûdô. However, we find it also back in jûdô through things such as deliberately choking out a new shodan, and all the other things coaches do, or jûdôka themselves may do to push them(-selves) beyond their limits.

    I remember well when I was training at the Police Academy, one day a guy had been kicked in the shin and was sitting along the side rubbing his shin with a painful expression on his face. The head-sensei walked across and asked him if it hurt ? 'Yes', the guy said, upon which the sensei kicked him on the injury and asked him "how about this then ?"

    Is this abuse ? From a medical perspective, it certainly is not a "medical-professional approach", but that is not the same as abuse.

    I personally have never felt abuse in Japan, including in those dôjô where the sensei had a stick. Why ? Because I have never felt that their motives were wrong or that their intention was to inflict maximal pain or be condescending. But also, and this is perhaps important, if someone would have asked me "are you willing to be called names and be hit in this way by your sensei as part of your jûdô training", my answer would be yes. In other words, when I saw such actions my implicit permission would be there to undergo it. Places such as Okano's Seikijuku were really tough, but again ... 'abuse' ? No. Now, I have also experienced what perhaps one could call "copy cat behavior" particularly by some great champions who had spent time in Japan and somehow wanted to repeat what they had seen there in the West. Some of our national team workouts used to be a like that. The approach was called "casser le moral" ["breaking your spirit" perhaps ...]. Our warmups started with alternating series of 200 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, 200 jumps, and again and again. From the moment you started losing the rhythm you would be shouted at wondering why you even attended training when you were that worthless and that it would have been better for everyone if you would have stayed home. That was the attitude. We bit the bullet. There are a approaches that are used in every elite group, whether they are elite military groups like marines or S.E.A.L.S. that makes the training of these groups notorious and that contribute to making these people not crack under certain stresses in real situations where anyone without that training would have long cracked.

    That being said, I certainly did not feel the same when such approaches were used abroad when compared to Japan. When used abroad there sometimes was a feeling of abuse, and also oftentimes a strong presence of ego by the person who told us these things. In fact, there oftentimes was attitude present, which I never felt present in Japan ...

    "At what point does it become abuse", I think, is the question. Oftentimes, opinions start to sway when a certain line is crossed. Examples of this are ... a fatality, or an incident that becomes ambiguous in a sexual contents or may be explained (rightly or wrongly) as motivated by other things than mere concern for the maximal improvement of the athlete. The context also immediately becomes more critical if there is a factor present that calls up strong reminders of civil rights abuses, such as for example, a male coach hitting a female athlete, or a Caucasian male coach hitting a male black athlete. In a traditional Japanese jûdô context where there were no female jûdô top fighters, no people of other ethnicity, this issue was fairly nonexistent. But things have changed. One could argue that precisely this change is reason enough to give up altogether such harsh approaches. It seems to me that a two critical factors are whether the athletes are voluntarily willing to accept such approaches (those 15 women obviously were not) and at one point ai-no-muchi becomes paraphilic behavior motivated by sadism or other personality disorders.

    Anyhow, rather than me trying to be the lightning rod for raising these questions or being misinterpreted as if I would personally be condoning anything, I would like to direct people to the only Western study that has been carried out on some of these topics. Interestingly, this work is already 15 years old and was carried out by the French, more specifically by d'Arripe-Longueville and co-authors. The title of the work is "The perceived effectiveness of interactions between expert French judo coaches and elite female athletes", and it appeared in The Sport Psychologist 12: 317-332, 1998.

    The importance of this work is that rather than simply relying on emotional outbursts it undertakes a serious attempt to critically analyze these coaching approaches as used in jûdô with relation to their effectiveness.

    I am quoting the Abstract below:

    Coaches' and athletes' perceptions regarding their effective interactions and the underlying factors and reasons for effectiveness of these interactions were examined. An in-depth interview process was conducted with three expert judo coaches and six elite athletes. Qualitative data analyses revealed that the interaction style of the coaches was authoritative and was put into operation using the following six strategies: stimulating interpersonal rivalry, provoking athletes verbally, displaying indifference, entering into direct conflict, developing specific team cohesion, and showing preferences. Perceived autonomy, the main interaction style of athletes, was expressed by the following five strategies: showing diplomacy, achieving exceptional performance, soliciting coaches directly, diversifying information sources, and bypassing conventional rules. Results demonstrated the compatibility of particular interactions between coaches' and athletes' strategies. Theoretical models from industria/organizational psychology are used to interpret these results, which differ from conventional findings in the sport psychology literature.

    The article in full can be downloaded from here:

    http://195.154.95.153:81/archimede/INSEP/1015/6-7-1015-20100209-1.pdf

    If you look at Table 1 on page 322, you will find an overview of various coaching strategies. These contain all kinds of 'unpleasant' things that may not fit within Kanô's educational approach, but that do from a winning approach. You will find things such as stimulating interpersonal rivalry, verbally provoking athletes, displaying an intentional disinterest in athletes, exhibiting favoritism. These strategies all have their role and 'can' be effective although they all collide with the friendly, caring stereotype one likes to depict of a jûdô sensei. I think that one also has to consider the American culture in how we perceive these things. Title IX, political correctness, and massive class action and other law suits that can be caused by approaches which are considered not typical or unacceptable within that culture may affect perceptions in other cultures. It isn't a merely good vs. evil, but one of culturally accepted vs. not culturally accepted.

    What we are now seeing Japan is also a scapegoat exercise. An emotional outburst is leading to one or a handful of coaches losing their job, being branded sadists (rightly or not rightly so) and a Japanese and world audience that supposedly is looking with shock and horror at the approach that was in place whereas in reality the problem goes much deeper and is not new at all. Therefore, to make it look as that these coaches did something outlandish that has not been known or seen in jûdô is distorting the truth. That doesn't mean that these approaches should continue to be condoned, but it does call for a more thorough analysis. What we now see is more an action of "who can we blame, and quickly get it over with, and give the impression we are as shocked as everyone else, so that our bid for the next Olympics is as little affected as possible by all this ?".

    When I use the term 'scapegoat' in this context I am not implying that as a coach you are not responsible for your approaches, but knowing Japan, and its hierarchical structure when it comes to decisions, the coach would only be able to use this approach if others above him tolerate and knew very well about this approach. The thing that matters most for the Japanese is Olympic medals. In fact, it matters so much to them that they were willing to give up philosophical views that are very dear to them including the many IJF-mandated changes to the Kôdôkan jûdô contest rules, including changes to color of the gi, the tatami, and other things. So, if abuse or worse guarantees Olympic medals I do not doubt for a second that those on top, would be satisfied. In fact, I also do not believe that this would be limited to Japan either.

    So far, none of the press articles or anything in the AJJF approach has been anything else but fingerpointing eventually accompanied by sacking people or apologies. I see nothing that remotely compares to an objective analysis, to learning from the scientific literature on this, or that critically approaches these issues from an honest cultural-sociological or pedagogical perspective. It isn't a matter of the battle of the sexes, or of feminist vs. masculinist approach. Long-term the questions that need to be asked presumably need to come from a holistic approach: is it a success if an athlete obtains a medal but is psychologically damaged for the rest of his/her life ? Who wants to start answering this ? Where to begin. There are all kinds of memories I have from education that were very unpleasant at the time, but which probably contributed positively or negatively to something. In time, you look back on it as you do on many memories. Certainly, the client-like approach of letting the student set the tone, pace and contents is rarely effective as their motivation is often also mediated by other factors such as making it fit with other things they ideally like doing at that moment and factors such as 'fun', 'comfort' and other. This is modern evolution. As I teacher or coach I do not teach or coach that way. I do not teach 'fun', and my classes are absolutely not fun. I tend to ask new students to my classes "why are you in my class", and now and then someone will honestly tell me "that they thought it might be fun". I always tell them they are wrong, and they should leave and change now when they still can. For fun, I direct them to a circus, a stand-up comedian, the Marx Brothers, or a slapstick movie, but not my classes. Jûdô is not fun, jûdô is hard work, just like any education is and should be hard work. When you evolve and reach something, it is due to the hard work you put in it, and not to the fun you had. However, something not being fun, also does not imply that one needs to dread jûdô or other classes. There is a difference between something not being fun and something being the opposite of being fun.


    Last edited by Cichorei Kano on Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:43 am; edited 1 time in total


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    The show must go on: All Japan Judo Federation has decided its executive board will stay on

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:15 am

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/sports/T130319004304.htm


    Meanwhile the Japan Olympic Committee has decided to punish the All Japan Judo Federation by cutting its funding:

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/sports/view/joc-cuts-judo-funding-after-physical-abuse-probe

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/sports/T130319004419.htm


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    All Japan Judo Federation's problems are escalating

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:13 pm

    Daily Yomiuri


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    Yamashita brought in as the All Japan Judo Federation's secret weapon !

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:12 am

    http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/AJ201303280032

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2013/03/27/more-sports/ex-judo-gold-medalist-yamashita-selected-to-spearhead-efforts-to-end-abuse/


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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:08 am

    Jonesy wrote:Heavy criticism of Uemura-kancho here:

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/02/17/national/judo-scandal-casts-doubt-on-olympic-bid/#.USDuvGtYBP5

    I'm a bit late to this but , WOW!
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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by BillC on Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:51 am

    Ben Reinhardt wrote:
    I'm a bit late to this but , WOW!

    Not too late ... it had no start and no end ... witness this week http://www.sbnation.com/college-basketball/2013/4/3/4178392/mike-rice-fired-abuse

    "Now it's the same old song
    But with a different meaning
    Since you been gone"

    So with these guys gone, will the meaning change? Or more of the same? Think there is close to an infinite supply of insecure, compensating, otherwise talent-limited assholes in the world?

    Any excuse for me to post a great old tune ...


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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:47 am

    [quote="BillC"]
    Ben Reinhardt wrote:
    I'm a bit late to this but , WOW!

    Not too late ... it had no start and no end ... witness this week http://www.sbnation.com/college-basketball/2013/4/3/4178392/mike-rice-fired-abuse

    "Now it's the same old song
    But with a different meaning
    Since you been gone"

    So with these guys gone, will the meaning change? Or more of the same? Think there is close to an infinite supply of insecure, compensating, otherwise talent-limited assholes in the world?

    Thanks for sharing that article. It's very apropos.


    The whole system is f*cked due to the money involved and the win at all costs atitude. It attracts people who are capable of that sort of behavior, be it in Japan or the US.





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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:29 pm

    News article in The Independent:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/others/judo-slapped-kicked-and-beaten-with-bamboo--the-training-horrors-that-japans-women-underwent-in-the-runup-to-london-2012-8591335.html


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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by Ricebale on Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:42 pm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_at_the_2012_Summer_Olympics#Judo

    Unfortunately for the Japanese they ran into all the nations with very strong professionally supported amateurs, if they want to compete, as any nation must do then they need to give the athletes their training as a full time job and career. The ex eastern block is exceedingly well supported still.

    Sounds like the Japs were extremely desperate hence the tactics, unless of course this is a long tradition, then I stand corrected. However the east euro countires aren't well known for their human rights records either!
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    Re: It is time for Japan to change the idea that use of violence in sports including physical discipline is a valid way of coaching

    Post by NBK on Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:36 pm

    Cross posted from my post 'Japan Times article on 'Taibatsu' '

    Robert Whiting, noted author on Japanese baseball ('You Gotta Have Wa', which had great influence on the movie "Mr. Baseball"), society, and the underworld ('Tokyo Underworld', being made into a movie), and all round nice guy, had the second of a couple of long special articles today in the Japan Times. Judo comes in later on in the second article.

    Note that Kano shihan was the principal of the Tokyo Higher Normal School when and where this harsh baseball training tradition evolved.

    Judo and Kano shihan related info highlighted, but an interesting article overall to understand an aspect of Japanese sports society.

    NBK

    [url=Part 1]

    Corporal punishment has long history in Japanese sports
    by Robert Whiting

    Special To The Japan Times

    May 26, 2013

    First in a two-part series

    Getting slapped by a coach has always been, as far as I could see, simply another aspect of sports training in Japan.

    I remember being invited to see a practice session at the Isenoumi sumo stable in eastern Tokyo back in the early 1960s shortly after I arrived for my first stay in Japan. Obese young sumo wrestlers grappled with each other and a rikishi (senior wrestler) corrected their form by issuing violent blows across their back and thighs with a shinai (bamboo stick), resulting in cries of pain from the participants.

    “Physical punishment is part of their education,” I was told. “It makes them better wrestlers.”

    It was standard operating procedure.

    When I got to know the imported Hawaiian wrestler Takamiyama (a.k.a. Jesse Kualahula) he told me how much he had hated being hit as a young, up-and-coming wrestler. Yet when he retired and became a stablemaster himself, he did the same thing, occasionally using a baseball bat as well as the shinai.

    He even punched one of his wrestlers, Akebono (Chad Rowan, a fellow Hawaiian import), in the jaw, when he grew incensed at what he perceived as Akebono’s laziness and lack of a killer instinct.

    “Without the shinai,” he said, “sumo wouldn’t be sumo.”

    Taibatsu, or corporal punishment, was just as common in some professional wrestling organizations, as I discovered. The famed professional wrestler of the 1950s and 1960s Rikidozan would hit his younger wrestlers with sake bottles and other objects to toughen them up.

    And when I started researching pro baseball in Japan I realized how ordinary it was for coaches to slap younger players for making a mistake or not demonstrating proper fighting spirit. The Yomiuri Giants, Japan’s oldest and winningest team, have one of the more colorful records in this regard, despite their public image as “gentlemen,” starting with the manager of their farm team during much of the postwar era (1953-1973), Yoshiaki Takemiya.

    Takemiya was famous for using his fists on those players violating the 10 o’clock curfew of the farm team dormitory and disciplining those players exhibiting bad manners with blows from a wooden sword.

    Giants farm team pitching coach Hiroshi Nakao was known to have slugged recalcitrant members of his mound corps.

    Then there was Giants coach Yutaka Sudo, who once hit infielder Kono Kazumasa so hard in the rear end with a bat, after Kono had run off the field during an inning when there were only two outs mistakenly thinking the side had been retired, the player was unable to sit for three days.

    This became known as the ketsu batto jiken (“Ass Bat Incident”) in Yomiuri Giants lore.

    One of the more memorable incidents involved Scott Anderson, an American pitcher who joined the Chunichi Dragons in 1991. He related to me an episode involving a young rookie infielder who had made two errors and was consequently removed from the game.

    Afterward, Dragons manager, Senichi Hoshino, a hugely popular figure in Japanese baseball, ordered everyone on the team to assemble at a spot underneath the stands and commanded the rookie to drop to his knees in front of the group. Then Hoshino proceeded to hit the young player in the face with his open hand until the player’s face was red and swollen and Hoshino’s hand began to hurt so much that he could not continue.

    Anderson thought this was assault, pure and simple. He pulled the player aside with an interpreter and said he would go with him to the police station to file charges and would testify as to what he saw.

    “It was intolerable,” he said, “You can’t let the manager treat you like that.”

    The player said, “No, no. It was an honor to have such a great man as Hoshino educate me. It means he thinks I am important for the team.”

    In 2003, when American Trey Hillman managed his first season for the Nippon Ham Fighters, he was shocked to hear that his farm team manager, Tetsushi Okamoto, had beaten up one of his players.

    As I wrote in the 2009 updated edition of “You Gotta Have Wa,” Okamoto had angrily slugged a rookie shortstop for making an error that let in two runs, knocking him to the ground. As the player curled up into a ball on the dugout floor, the farm team manager continued to beat him and the youth simply accepted it because that was the way things were done.

    Hillman went to the Nippon Ham GM threatening to resign if the organization continued to tolerate any more of that type of behavior. The next day, the farm team manager appeared in Hillman’s office, bowing deeply, apologizing.

    He told Hillman that he hadn’t been able to help himself, that his behavior was the result of the way he himself had been trained in high school.

    In 2008, the aforementioned Hoshino, who was then managing the Japan Olympic baseball squad, was interviewed on CNN about his methods of disciplining players.

    He was asked, “Is it true you once hit a player so hard he couldn’t eat for a week?”

    Hoshino replied, “Yes. But it was necessary. . . . It’s a kind of tough love. . . . We are a family. If you look at a certain incidents, you may see some unbelievable violence, but you must look at the whole picture. There is a tremendous deep love that is shown above anything else. I admire the American way. Their coaches are very cheerful and encouraging. . . . But in Japan, we have our own way.”

    Not all professional coaches in Japan abuse their young players this way. Taibatsu is, in fact, illegal. However, it is unfortunately quite common throughout the school system in Japan.

    More than once I have seen a manager line up his players after a game, make them remove their caps and cuff the ones who had made mistakes in the game.

    I wrote about a couple of memorable incidents in You Gotta Have Wa. One was about a regional high school game, in the summer of 1983, in which a manager went out to the mound and slapped his pitcher for giving up a couple of runs. “Pull yourself together,” he growled.

    Later the youngster thanked the coach in front of the TV cameras for having brought him back to his senses.

    “Being hit by my manager made me realize the situation we were in,” he said, “so I was able to throw my best for the rest of the game.”

    Another occurred during the 1987 National High School Baseball Tournament at Koshien Stadium when the manager of the Saga Prefectural High School of Technology and Engineering team discovered several of his players up late at night past the curfew talking in the kitchen of the ryokan where the team was staying. He whacked each of them over the head with the grip end of an aluminum bat, cutting the scalps of two of the boys.

    It was a big story in the media for a time. The principal apologized to the Japan High School Baseball Federation and the manager was suspended for a year. But he came back to his job as powerful and respected as ever.

    Every year, it seems, there are similar occurrences. In February, the Japan Student Baseball Association handed down suspensions for 20 different acts of violence in high school baseball clubs. One of them involved the manager of the Fuji Gakuen High School team in Yamanashi Prefecture, who was found to have whacked players over the head with helmets, slapped them in the face and employed the ketsu batto technique.

    Said the manager, to reporters, “I was just trying to teach them something.”

    Another high school baseball manager, this one at Kashiwanittai High School baseball team in Chiba, slapped several first-year students for committing crimes such as arriving late to practice and riding two on a bicycle.

    The suspensions ranged anywhere from one month to six months and not one manager lost his job.

    Well-known sportswriter Masayuki Tamaki has called taibatsu “the disease of Japanese baseball.” He said, “The worst thing I ever saw was a high school manager explode at an infielder during a practice session for making several errors.

    “The coach made the player stand 10 feet (3 meters) away and drop his glove and then hit a barrage of screaming line drives at him, 19 in all, I counted, that ripped into his chest, abdomen and legs. When the coach was finished, the player bowed and said thank you to him, which was the typical reaction in such cases. It made me sick.”

    Hazing by senpai (upperclassmen), who often act as surrogate disciplinarians of their kohai (lower classmen) is also systemic and involves a variety of tortures.

    Ichiro Suzuki, as a 10th-grader on his high school club, was forced to kneel on the rim of a lidless garbage can for an extended period of time as punishment for overcooking the rice in the team dormitory.

    On other occasions he had to kneel with a bat between his calves and buttocks. He described these sessions as unbearably painful.

    Such practices may continue into the pros. In last year’s Japan Series, we were treated to the sight of Giants catcher and captain Shinnosuke Abe striding out to the mound and slapping second-year pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura in the head to scold him for a lapse in control.

    “Snap out of it!” he yelled. It was all on nationwide TV.

    Sawamura’s reaction?

    An embarrassed smile.

    Such occurrences are difficult to imagine in the United States, where the inevitable result would be a fistfight. But in Japan they have been a part of many a team’s standard operating procedure.

    Taibatsu in baseball starts early. Star slugger Hideki Matsui once said that one of the most valuable experiences of his school days was when a junior high school coach slapped him for throwing his bat.

    I live right across the road from a Little League field in Toyosu, and while I have yet to see any physically abuse behavior, I have seen coaches will shout out insults like “Omae wa dame da!” (damn you) “Bakayaro!” (idiot) as part of the daily routine.

    Former Giants pitcher Masumi Kuwata, now an outspoken opponent of taibatsu in Japanese sports, said that he had been hit by coaches during his elementary school career more times than he can remember.

    Of course, the United States has had its share of abusive coaches. I remember my high school baseball coach would hit us in the crotch with a baseball bat to see if we were wearing our protective cups.

    Our football coach used to slap his players. This was in a small town in Northern California before the 1986 law prohibiting corporal punishment was passed. California is now one of 31 states to have such a law. Nineteen states, in the southern U.S., from Arizona to Florida, have yet to pass such a law.

    Indeed, anthropologist Aaron Miller argues in his new book, “Discourses of Discipline: An Anthropology of Corporal Punishment in Japan’s Schools and Sports,” that Japan is no more, or less, a violent culture than anywhere else in the world.

    There is no single view of violence in Japan. Japan has as much diversity of thought opinion and practice in Japan as in any other nation and to say the Japanese are violent — or non-violent — is erroneous.”

    What makes Japan different from the U.S., if I can very loosely generalize here, is that Japanese coaches are more militaristic.

    As the aforementioned Tamaki says, “In Japan, regardless of whether the coach and player are professionals or amateurs, their relationships in the Japanese sports world are characterized by a strong top-down hierarchy of command and obedience.”

    Thus the coaches tend to put themselves above the players and act like drill sergeants, demanding uniformity from their charges while with Americans (again to generalize), the coach is more of an instructor or adviser — someone who works with and alongside the player and who allows more freedom and flexibility in an individual athlete’s routine.

    This is why you can see even the youngest rookie in America address his MLB manager by his first name.

    “Hey Davey, how is it going?” you might hear a rookie say to Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson.

    Seldom in Japan. It is usually with hat off and (often shaven) head bowed that rookies address the manager. Similar behavior is seen in relationships between senior and junior and relationships between teacher and pupil.

    There is another difference as well. Whereas in the U.S. sports were traditionally played for enjoyment and release of tension — at least on an amateur level — in Japan, generally speaking, the idea of athletics for fun was a foreign concept.

    The martial arts, which were the primary form of athletics in Japan before the introduction of foreign sports in the Meiji Era (1868-1912), were a tool of education, designed to build physical strength and character, based on the idea that one must suffer to be good.


    There were 200 samurai academies at the time of the Meiji Restoration teaching the martial arts, among other things.

    Taibatsu was also a feature of the apprenticeship system in old Japan and of Zen Buddhism as well, if not necessarily a feature of society in general.

    But taibatsu in Japanese sports is a legacy of the martial arts which date back to the 16th century and which by their very nature involved a lot of physical punishment.

    Do the kata wrong in kendo practice and you could get a crack on the head with a bamboo sword. Do the kata wrong in jujitsu practice and you got boxed in the ear. In sumo, of course, it was the same, with its use of the shinai. And in Zen Buddhism as well.

    There was also a focus on endless training that was designed to make one surpass the bounds of one’s physical and mental endurance, and this could also be viewed as a kind of taibatsu.

    Swordsmanship master Tesshu Yamaoka, a former samurai who was an official in the court of Emperor Meiji, opened a kendo school in Tokyo in 1880, in which students had to fight two consecutive full days of 200 matches each to reach the first level.

    The day was 16 hours long, starting at 4 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m. They fought against 20 opponents who were permitted to rest and attack in rotation. Three such days of 200 matches each were required to reach Stage 2, seven days of 200 matches each to reach Stage 3 and 1,000 days of 100 matches each to reach Stage 4.

    Judo clubs held monthlong winter camps where participants rose at 4 a.m. for a barefoot run of several miles on frozen ground, followed by several hours of workouts.


    Part 2

    Severe sports training methods became taibatsu in time
    by Robert Whiting

    Special To The Japan Times

    Jun 2, 2013

    Second in a two-part series

    The martial arts were the inspiration for the famous baseball team at the First Higher School of Tokyo, a late 19th century powerhouse that helped make yakyu, as baseball came to be known, the national sport of Japan.

    Ichiko, as the First Higher School of Tokyo, was also known, was an elite prep school, with its students in the 18-22 age range. There were five such Higher Schools in Japan. Graduates went on to the Imperial University, from which the future movers and shakers of Japan emerged. The majority of the students in these school came from samurai families.

    Ichiko’s practice regimen, developed by the students themselves, included year-round training every day and intensive summer and winter camps.

    It was nicknamed “bloody urine” for it was said that the players practiced so hard they urinated blood at the end of the day.

    On the Ichiko practice field, it was forbidden to use the word itai (ouch) because that was considered a sign of weakness. If you got whacked in the face with a ball and it really hurt, then you were allowed to use the word kayui (it itches).

    In one drill designed to hone fighting spirit, which, as we have seen, would be carried down through the ages a pitcher stood a mere 6 meters away from home plate and fired fastballs with all his might at a catcher who wore no protection. By the end of the exercise, the pitcher was exhausted and the catcher’s body black and blue.

    Students wrote in their memoirs that they were channeling the spirit of the samurai warriors of old.

    It is also worth noting perhaps that the Ichiko students in the general student body had their own kind of taibatsu (corporal punishment).

    If a student behaved in a way that disgraced the school by, say, public drunkenness or paying too much attention to his looks so as to attract a member of the opposite sex, he was called to an evening torchlight council of his peers where he was punished with a severe beating. Fellow students lined up and took turns punching him in the face.


    In 1918, famed Waseda manager Suishu Tobita incorporated the Ichiko way of endless training and development of spirit into his practice routine and won many championships. He was famous for saying, “Student baseball must be more than just a hobby. In many cases it must be a baseball of savage pain and a baseball practice of savage treatment.”

    Tobita would make his players field ground balls until they dropped, or as Tobita himself described it, “until they were half- dead, motionless, and froth was coming out of their mouths.” His system came to be known as shi no renshu (death training).”

    Said Tobita, whose managerial methods greatly influenced the way baseball was played in Japan for generations to come, “A manager has to love his players, but on the practice field he must treat them as cruelly as possible, even though he may be crying about it inside. That is the key to winning baseball. If the players do not try so hard as to vomit blood in practice, then they cannot hope to win games. One must suffer to be good.”

    In this way the line between hard training and taibatsu in Japanese sports was blurred. Which was worse, a slap on the face or being forced to field ground balls to the point you were half-dead and froth was coming out of your mouth?

    The use of taibatsu was also reinforced by the militarists who assumed control of the school system in the decades leading up to World War II, instituting aspects of martial arts training into the education of Japanese students, including a more militaristic senpai-kohai (upperclassmen-lowerclassmen) system, military music and army-style training for everyone.

    This issue of violence of sports has popped up periodically since I first came to Japan.

    I remember when the big sports story at that time was of the coach of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic women’s volleyball team, Hirofumi Daimatsu of the national champ Nichibo Spinning Co. team, known as the “ogre” for his savage training methods.

    He worked the girls every evening, making them practice after office hours from 4:30 p.m. to midnight with only one 15-minute break. A typical practice routine was the “receive,” a tumbling acrobatic maneuver where the girls had to dive to the floor to retrieve the ball and keep doing it, again, and again, and again, until they couldn’t get up anymore.

    When they reached the point of exhaustion, the coach would say, “Dame. Omae wa yameta hoo ga ii.” (“You’re no good. You ought to quit.”) Everyone seems to agree it was a form of torture, whether or not slaps and kicks were included, but the “Witches of the Orient” as Daimatsu’s girls were known, won a gold medal with that method and Daimatsu became a national hero.

    Captain Masae Kasai, a 31-year-old who broke her engagement to train for the Olympics, led the charge, as the women’s team beat Russia so badly in the finals that the Muscovite ladies locked themselves in their dressing room for a good cry.

    One of the most popular TV shows of the late 1960s and early ’70s was the animated series “Kyojin No Hoshi” (Star of the Giants) about an impoverished boy named Hoshi Hyuuma who undergoes years of brutal daily training and beatings by his father during Japan’s postwar years in order to develop the physical skills and, more important, the spirit required to be a pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants.

    Konjo was, and is, the sine qua non of a good athlete for it was (and still is) believed that superior mental strength and willpower could overcome any perceived deficiencies in physical power, and no measures in the pursuit of that end were considered too extreme, including beatings for they helped a player overcome his “natural predilection for laziness,” as Tetsuharu Kawakami, who managed the Giants to nine straight Japan championships 1965-73, liked to put it.

    The harsh training methods of the Giants, featured in a positive light in the “Kyojin No Hoshi” series, received a black eye in 1973 because of the death of a 20-year-old pitcher name Toshiko Yuguchi. Yuguchi, unable to tolerate the daily physical and verbal abuse he underwent as a farm team player in the Kawakami system, suffered a nervous breakdown and entered a mental hospital where he suddenly died.

    The cause of death was ruled heart failure, but the magazine Shukan Post conducted an investigation and concluded it was a suicide.

    Although Kawakami and Giants farm team pitching coach Hiroshi Nakao were heavily criticized in some media outlets, neither resigned and the Giants’ system of “education” went on as before.

    In soccer, it was much the same. Sadao Konuma was the coach at Teikyo High School, and was very successful in that role.

    He wrote a book called “Learn From Soccer,” published in 1983 by Kodansha Ltd., in which he wrote, “When I was young, I used my hand before my mouth . . . and my fist used to be swollen from punching them so much. . . . Admonishment is education and hitting is education. Even if the means are different, the aim of correcting the students is the same. But I am not good at arguing verbally why things are right and wrong — like why cigarettes are OK for adults but not for schoolboys.”

    To punish older boys who beat up younger ones, he would force them to sit in the seiza position, and then he would hit them in turn. On one occasion he broke his hand doing this. He recalled that after a while his reputation was such that no one dared misbehave and he was only hitting boys once a year or so.

    A major story during the 1980s involved the Totsuka Yachting School, a private institution designed to improve the antisocial behavior of children with emotional problems enrolled in the school by their parents through the use of extreme discipline. The school’s founder and headmaster was a former top yachtsman named Hiroshi Totsuka. After two children died and another two went missing, presumed drowned, because of harsh treatment, Totsuka was sent to prison for injury resulting in death.

    But when he emerged, six years later, he picked up right where he left off, insisting his method of education was not abuse. The only change in his operating method is that now he lets the older trainers beat younger students rather than do it himself. In the past seven years, there have been three suicides and one drowning at his school.

    Then there was the 2007 case involving sumo stablemaster Tokitsukaze, who was sentenced to prison for five years for ordering the use of violence on a 17-year-old wrestler named Tokitaizan to “educate him” and instill some spirit in him.

    As a result, three senior sumo wrestlers took to beating the young wrestler regularly. They would strike him with beer bottles, a metal baseball bat and other objects. He was beaten so badly that he eventually died of a heart attack.

    The media attention and public concern that surrounds these such cases invariably dies down, however, and life goes on as before. Taibasu continued.

    A great many Japanese have experienced taibatsu in one form or another while growing up and they say, “I went through it.” “I turned out OK.” “It’s good.” “It will help my kid grow up.”

    Tokitaizan, in fact, complained to his parents about the abuse and twice ran away from the stable, but in each case they persuaded him to go back.

    In “Discourses of Discipline: An Anthropology of Corporal Punishment in Japan’s Schools and Sports,” anthropologist Aaron Miller writes of a 52-year old Kyoto volleyball coach who once threw a chair at his players yet was named “Super Teacher” by the Kyoto volleyball coaches.

    As a detective in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and himself a martial arts expert, told me last month “You can’t teach kendo, judo or karate without taibatsu. That’s how you reprimand students for poor performance.”

    “But,” he said referring to the recent well-known case involving Japanese women’s judoka who complained of taibatsu against them at a training camp prior to the London Olympics, “you should never hit a girl.”


    Most recently in baseball we have had the story of Dave Okubo the former Seibu Lions coach.

    Okubo was fired by Seibu in 2009 because he assaulted 19-year-old pitcher Yusei Kikuchi while coaching him on the farm team.

    Okubo had roughed Kikuchi up because Kikuchi had the effrontery to complain about being fined ¥100,000 for showing up late to the “early work” segment of a joint voluntary training session.

    (As Okubo explained to the young pitching prospect, in Japanese pro baseball the word “voluntary” usually means compulsory.)

    Upon being fired, Okubo sued Seibu, insisting that his method of teaching was entirely “appropriate” and did not warrant his dismissal. His case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

    Okubo lost at each step in the process and after the final ruling was handed down, according to the Shukan Post, tried to commit suicide as a result but was saved by his wife and children.

    Now, interestingly, he is at Rakuten, managed by Senichi Hoshino, known for his tough training and, of course, his own history of abuse.

    I personally have tended to think many analysts I know believe that the taibatsu system is too deeply ingrained in Japan to be rooted out. A recent NHK survey found that 40 percent of all secondary schools in Japan have experienced violence, while a survey taken in February this year by the former Giants pitcher Masumi Kuwata of 270 active professional baseball players revealed that 46 percent had been physically punished in high school by their managers and 45 percent in junior high school.

    Fifty-one percent had been punched or hit by their senpai in high school and 36 percent in junior high school. What’s more, 83 percent said it was sometimes necessary.

    As former pro ballplayer Kazushige Nagashima put it, somewhat awkwardly, “We may have been smacked in the butt by bats and bottles and otherwise physically disciplined at those levels. But we felt there was real love there.”

    Speaker of the House of Representatives Bunmei Ibuki, 75, declared recently, in a lecture to a study group of LDP politicians in Gifu City, “If we forbid corporal punishment, education becomes impossible . . . in order to raise a human being, there are times when, from the time of childhood, beatings must be administered.”

    But change does occur, as the above-mentioned Okubo case would indicate.

    In truth, there have been no reports of either he or Hoshino slugging anyone in Sendai recently.

    Trey Hillman and Bobby Valentine, former managers of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and Chiba Lotte Marines, have shown how to win championships in Japan with a softer, gentler approach, as have mangers in J. League.

    The use of the 1,000-fungo drill has decreased. And I am told by reporters who cover sumo that the use of the shinai (bamboo stick) and bokuto have been eliminated from the sumo stables in the wake of the Tokitaizan death.

    Said a veteran Tokyo-based lawyer, an acquaintance of mine with long experience in social litigation, who prefers to remain anonymous, “What’s different is not the taibatsu level — that’s existed for decades. What’s changed is the recipients. Japanese males today are being feminized. They carry around handbags with as many cosmetics in them as women do. They use eyebrow liner, curl their hair in the gym and remove facial hair through electrolysis.

    “There is an over-sensitivity to physical contact and they have lost the ability to take punishment and fight back. Maybe it’s because people are having smaller families. One or two kids instead of four or five. Little Taro is overprotected.

    “A 50-year chart of the Japanese male will show, I believe, a decline of testosterone. Maybe what Japan needs is conscription.”

    Moreover, while Japanese have traditionally eschewed litigation in such matters, in contrast to Americans, that too has been changing.

    There may also be more traction now because of the recent well-publicized incidents of taibatsu involving the female judoka, which came on the heels of the suicide in December of the Sakuranomiya Senior High School basketball captain in Osaka who had been repeatedly beaten by his coach.

    But I have a suspicion that the increased attention on the part of the authorities is mainly because Japan’s bid for the 2020 Olympics has put the issue and the nation under international scrutiny. So has a recent report by the Japan Judo Accident Victims Association showing that over a 29-year period from 1983, 118 students died as a result of judo accidents in Japanese junior and senior high schools (60 percent of them from brain injury). This is six times higher than any other sport in Japanese high schools and compares most unfavorably to zero judo deaths in sports clubs in the U.S. and Europe.


    Whether this will be a drastic lead to permanent change remains to be seen. But for now, I remain cautiously pessimistic.

    The trick is to determine in modern society where hard training ends and assault or violence, which is and always has been a criminal offense in Japan, begins. And that is not an easy thing.

    ##

    Other Japan Times articles by Robert Whiting here:
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/author/int-robert_whiting/

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