Tokyo Gov Ishihara at it again, calls NJ judo Olympians “beasts” spoiling Japan’s sport


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Hi Blog.  The Sanitizer-General I referred to in my last Japan Times JUST BE CAUSE column is at it again:


(読売新聞 2012年8月4日06時03分 スポーツ報知)courtesy of MS




Translation (by Debito):

Yomiuri:  Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro (79) said at his regular press conference on August 3, regarding the difficulties the Japanese judo team is having at the London Olympics, “Watching Westerners do judo is like watching beasts fight.  An internationalized judo has lost its exquisite charm.”  He added, “In Brazil, it’s said that they eat chocolate in their norimaki, but I wouldn’t call that ‘sushi’.  It’s a shame that judo has also gone the same way.”

That’s the entire article.  How sporting of him.  These are the type of people who, for example, seek to keep NJ out of Sumo by limiting stable to one “foreign wrestler”, and they include naturalized citizens as “foreign” as well (unlawful under the Nationality Law; still waiting for the lawsuit).  Judo will be the “Japanese sport that got away” since they “internationalized” it, I guess; but that’s why it’s an Olympic event and Sumo, run by racists (and sexists), will never be.

Anyway, for the record.  This will be my penultimate post before vacationing for the summer.  Arudou Debito

66 comments on “Tokyo Gov Ishihara at it again, calls NJ judo Olympians “beasts” spoiling Japan’s sport

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  • I don’t want to go outrageously off-topic, but I think, given the baseball quotations above, it might be relevant to mention that last year (I believe, it might have been the year before), there was an English Premiership football (soccer) game between (I think) Arsenal and Manchester Utd. in which there were 22 different nationalities on the pitch at the same time. Nobody had a team-mate from the same country.
    Can you imagine that here???

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Joe #51

    I can’t imagine that here for two reasons.
    Firstly, (as with the ‘all Japanese national rugby team’) more and more J-League 1 teams are adopting an ‘asians only’ policy to soccer players. I suspect that the root cause of this is decreasing sponsorship due to sponsors feeling the pinch of the economic situation (soccer sponsorship not being such a high priority). Overpaid NJ soccer ‘has-beens’ (or more correctly, ‘never-were’s’) are not worth the high price tag for most clubs.
    Secondly, the goal of all Japanese sportsmen is assumed by the J-media to be playing outside of Japan. This is a part of the ‘international recognition’ that Japan craves. Although not soccer, take Darvish as an example. Hardly well known amongst the J-populace in general until he goes to the US. Suddenly he is poster boy of the moment, and household celebrity. Not to mention the fact that his ‘international success’ makes him ‘Japanese’ and not ‘haafu’. handy that, isn’t it? Anyway, the point being that J-soccer is at such a poor level that there is no attraction for foreign players of any merit, nor is there the funds to pay them with, in Japanese soccer.
    As events like the World Cup and the Olympics show, UK Premier League soccer is the best on the planet precisely because of the international nature of the teams. An ‘all GB’ team is a national embarrassment to the UK every time they step onto a pitch.

    — I’m not sure I agree with your assessment that Darvish was “hardly well known amongst the J-populace in general until he goes to the US”. He was making headlines all over the sports shimbun for years. Then again, I’m potentially biased as he was a huge star in Sapporo.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @Debito #52

    I may have been incorrect about Darvish, but as far as I can recall, he wasn’t well known enough to go on TV in Kansai and sell coffee before he went to America.

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    @52 Jim – I have to concur with Debito on Darvish’s fame, though from the perspective of a baseball aficionado rather than a Sapporoite. Everyone who followed baseball knew who he was ever since he was in high school. Going abroad brought him into the worldview of people who don’t care about sports, because now his stories make the regular news (or did at the beginning of the season) and not just the sports news.

  • Sadly though, most of Darvish’s countrymen would not consider him “real Japanese”. I was sadly disappointed to find this attitude prevalent amongst my Japanese acquaintances with regard to fellow elite sportsman and olympic gold medalist, not to mention ridiculously hot specimen of manhood, hammer-thrower Koji Murofushi (Dutch mother, J father).

    — Best to support this opinion with some evidence.

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    @ Mark In Yayoi #55

    Yes, precisely what I wrote was that he became a household celebrity, rather than well known amongst home town fans, and baseball otaku.

  • @50 Baudrillard,

    I guess you and I have different definitions of genius. In my book, dressing up like a effete bellboy and disemboweling oneself because one’s nation refuses to return to the nationalist mindset that resulted in the near destruction of the nation does not count as a sign of genius. Rather, it counts as the sign of a deeply sick individual. And don’t try to trip me up on little details about whether or not Mishima was old or young when he offed himself (he was 45, which isn’t exactly young). You’re trying to change the focus of the discussion because your hero has been shown to be a sick, pathetic nationalist. And, anyway, you continue to miss my point: he has a lot in common with Ishihara: both men can’t or couldn’t stand the fact that Japan got their asses kicked in WWII and both men wish(ed) Japan would remilitarize and give world domination another try. They are exactly like the “Chickenhawks” in the USA who can’t get over the fact that the USA got their asses handed to them by a small southeast Asian nation called Vietnam. Worship Mishima if you will, but don’t make the mistake of thinking him a noble person or even a genius. Frankly, if you’re not Japanese, your worship of Mishima is not any different from a non-German worshipping Hitler. And, in both cases, sensible Germans and Japanese of the modern day worship neither Mishima nor Hitler. To quote Pink Floyd: Baudrillard, you’re nearly a laugh, but you’re really a cry.

    — Alright, cool it, please.

  • @Eric C. Whatever, can we drop this please? I am bored by your profanity and recycling of the mantra you spout about “asses kicked in WW2”. I don’t really care that much about Mishima, but you do a service to Ishihara to compare them. You are overreacting if you think I “‘worship” Mishima and have not been reading my posts properly in which I lace my “praise”of Mishima with criticisms. I dont know why Debito allowed your last post which rakes up old Sh*t and adds nothign to the discussion.

    Please supply a source for your personal opinion ” both men can’t or couldn’t stand the fact that Japan got their asses kicked in WWII” for Mishima. I back up my claims with quotes and references, you just keep saying this again and again. Mishima was more interested in a return to the samurai past and Bushido (however impossible this might be, it was a fantasy but Mishima was a fantasist, not a politician). Read Nathan’s “Mishima”: a biography”.

    Comparing a non politician to Hitler is laughable. That’s like me saying you are like Putin because you have a non democratic streak.

    Opinions are nice, everyone has one, but tell us something we do not know and add a quote or a source. zzzz.

    — Okaaaay, this thread is now closed.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    …And my thoughts on the whole thing is that the founder of judo, Jigoro Kano, would probably say the Japanese team also fought like beasts.

  • Ah, what should we say in Europe about Japanese efforts at playing soccer (known to us as “football, FWIW)? Should we send our Japanese expats home?
    And I wonder what Americans are saying about the Japanese version of baseball.
    Oops, big blunder – that ain’t baseball, but 野球. A typical and traditional Japanese sport… 😀

  • Why did the government close Japan to the rest of the world allowing only a Dutch presence in Nagasaki hundreds of years ago? The idea of Japanese culture being diluted by non Japanese is not a new concept. Ishihara has simply made a political career out of fear and insecurity as did the Tokugawa shogunate. He must be taken with a teaspoon of salt and cleansed from your system on a regular basis. If Ishihara wants to jump in a time machine and live in a “pure” Japan he will struggle to find it because it has never existed except for in books and movies. In fact with his blinking eyes he would be considered an evil omen and boiled in a vat of oil.

  • Knee jerk reaction: Sour grapes from an old man desperately trying to remain relevant. 

    Analysis: In true Ishihara fashion he unsubtly insinuates that Westerners don’t really understand the true meaning of Judo and thus somehow cheated to win. How could the fair and right minded Japanese be expected to win against such underhanded skulduggery? Once again Japan has been victimized – a familiar thread indeed. 

    But upon closer inspection (and I hope I am not drawing too long a bow here) he seems to have given a glimpse into the disillusionment, uncertainty and creeping fear that lingers just below the surface of this country. Judo is supposed to be Japan’s Olympic bread and butter; a source of national pride and certain medals. To have performed so poorly, in the back of the collective mind of the population, further exemplifies the waning of Japanese power. One could draw a parallel with the once mighty electronics industry, now a shell of it’s former self. The same goes for the automotive industry. Faced with a host of issues and looming crises (both internal and external) Japan no longer has the global traction it once had, and people like Ishihara feel the sting keenly. The real danger is that such conditions are fertile soil for nationalists like Hashimoto and his ilk.


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