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Minister calls judo beatings Japan's worst sports crisis

By Kyoko Hasegawa

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Group beating with bottles leading to death and then collusion to cover it up in the National sport and he calls this worse? Typical revisionist twit.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

@spudman - so true.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well, it is the worst, next to the death of a teenage sumo from hazings a few years ago and the recent suicide death of a teenager after repeatedly being beaten by his teacher/coach, of course. Does anyone else see a pattern here?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

"The graviest crisis" to hit Japanese sport? As if the hazling to death of 17-year-old wrestler Tokitaizan wasn't one! Call it the most face-loosing exposure of the Japanese standard training methods since it has drawn international attention as an Olympic event. Tip of the iceberg I think it is, because such methods, including verbal assaults that are nothing short of worst kind of bulling, are common practices at even club levels, with parents, driven by the craze to see their offspring take a medal podium, cautioning the so called "child toughening" training methods.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

“We should not shy away from the facts and should review not only judo but all sorts of sports to see whether they have overlooked violence in the name of achieving sporting excellence."

Well, let's hope you can do it, but I won't hope my breath.

As for the "gravest crisis", Pontepilate JUST beat me to the punch -- the death of a young sumo-wrestler is FAR more serious than this. I think they're just saying this because of the potential blow-back it could cause for getting the Olympics. But hey, if the Olympics puts enough pressure on the government to seek out and actively address any and all bullying and corporal punishment in sports (and hopefully not limited to), then let's hope the pressure and spotlight stay on them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Oops. I see Disillusioned beat me to it as well. How is it a bunch of foreign (if in Japan) posters can call this incident up from memory with such ease and yet the education minister cannot -- or at least, does not consider the murder all that bad by comparison?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Damage control

Not sincere

4 ( +5 / -1 )

a "crisis" is a "decisive moment or turning point" and that is what this is. the hazing death of the sumo wrestler, while tragic, was not a turning point for sports in japan. it only highlighted the brutish training practices of sumo. this current episode is leading to a review of the treatment of athletes in all sports in japan. cut japan some slack please.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

There is a difference between seriousness of the act, and seriousness of the consequences. This is just a simple reality. Simple, that is, for base their logic on reality, rather than fantasy...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

“The incident is the gravest crisis in Japan’s sporting history,” Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura told reporters.

As mentioned, the death of a teenage sumo wrestler and the suicide of a teenage basketball player are much, much worse. The ONLY reason this is this big is because of the basketball suicide. This is the tip of the iceberg and Japan has a lot to do to deal with the bullying that goes on in sports here.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Worst? It's only worst because it hit the international news and he can not control what gets reported there!

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Yep. Sending nadeshiko japan by economy class because theyre women, The hazings that killed a sumo trainee, the illegal gambling that nearly destroyed the sumo sport, the rape of a young girl by a gold medal winning judoka while at training camp. Yep. This is the worst. Idiot.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

buggerlugs: "Sending nadeshiko japan by economy class because theyre women,"

As much as I'm against them doing and having done that, it's not even comparable. The rest, absolutely!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

this current episode is leading to a review of the treatment of athletes in all sports in japan.


Nothing ever changes here. This latest incident is only a problem because it was reported and brought out into te open. But words are cheap. I don't for a second believe the old guys in top positions around the country want to change a thing. They might have to, but they sure as hell don't want to.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I believe that nihon should change for the better in how they treat their people and gajin if more cases like these are reveal then it may be a small hope that their culture would no longer be cruel to their citizens and if not, nihon have no values for their people and that will lose the luster from nihon image I believe that many do not want to suffer in a country they call home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Of course it's comparable. It shows how much they were worth as a team to national pride. The fact that it was considered ok to do it shows an amazing injustice in the system. Tell you what lets just pick and choose between forms of bullying. This ones ok because... Well it's not that bad, that ones a definite no no because blah blah blah. I really do think that each instance is a good example of the management or lack there of in sports and society.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The biggest joke about this whole scandal is the shock and dismay that is being expressed by the various governing bodies within the judo community, by the Japanese Olympic Commitee, and by the Japanese government. In my own personal experience and opinion, physical and verbal abuse of players in judo is widespread and widely accepted. I have seen it with my own eyes a number of times within the dojos themselves and even at competition venues. I was a member of a well-respected dojo in the Kanto region from the early to mid 2000s where one of the female members - a junior high school student, at the time - later represented Japan on the judo teams for the Beijing and London Olympics. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if she were one of the members on the current national women's team who has lodged this complaint. Although now years ago, I can still plainly remember the head coach repeatedly and audibly striking the face of the above-mentioned student, kicking her, and throwing her around the dojo (and eventually out the door) as if she were a rag doll, all for having "under performed" during randori (sparring) practice. The poor girl was no more than fourteen years old at the time and was just having an off day. Unforunately, "off days" were not tolerated. With the exception of a few adult members and former students looking for a place to practice, the majority of the members at this dojo were junior high school students and such acts of violence towards them by the coach were neither uncommon nor done in secret. When they did happen, they were oftentimes carried out in full view of adult members, assistant coaches (two of whom were police officers), and even parents. To reiterate my main point, the shock and dismay that is being expressed by the All Japan Judo Federation, Kodokan, the JOC, and the government has less to do with the violent physical and emotional abuse of judoka, and more to do with the fact that the athletes themselves have garnered the courage to stand up for themselves and have dared to try and put a stop to it.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

shimomura, you sir are a putz!

abe should hire him to write his 2015 WWII revision of history!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“gravest crisis” ? Just because it did news? It is just normal here in Japan such beatings! Sport and Japan isn't that good match! Japan and Japanese don't even know the meaning of "enjoying sports"... strange but true. I just hope things will get better soon but at this time Japan isn't a country who should host Olympics! Here no Olympic spirit at all. Just look at the faces of Japanese silver medalists! Crying because they "lost" the gold medal!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If it weren't for foreign, prying eyes, the Japanese media, politicians, and general public would not consider this an issue. Japanese culture is a bullying culture...It's an intrinsic part of their culture (friends, housewives, work, sports, etc,. Japan can never truly change unless it wants to change what the country's very soul is.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And yet there are apologists who claim this institutional physical and verbal abuse is all part of the "Buddhist culture of perfecting your art" and those of us who are outraged by its widespread practice "just don't get it".

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Not the worst... The worst to be on the news maybe...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Like we have not seen the two sides of the kinds so many times before,huh?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Correction: Like we have not seen the two sides of the coin before, huh?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

don't be so mean to him, he only had a slip of the tongue; he meant to say: "someone blowing the whistle is the gravest crisis to hit Japanese sport".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is the time that Japan can show both to those inside and outside the country that it has abandoned all violence in sports, Shimomura said.

Cough, cough. Sure...

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Over the 27-year period between 1983 and 2009, 108 students aged 12 to 17 died as a result of judo accidents in Japanese schools, an average of four a year,” Uchida said. Not even close to the worst thing that has happened to Japanese sports. These coaches need to do jail time for their crimes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“This is the time that Japan can show both to those inside and outside the country that it has abandoned all violence in sports,”

I am still unsure as to why one would want to abandon all violence in sport. What is so wrong with violence and bullying that it needs to be abandoned? Violence is defined as a bad word in dictionaries? The liar paradox from which it may be argued to imply that any positive appraisal of violence is a priori contradictory? Religious beliefs; after all some religious heroes turn the other cheek?

When the Japanese have got rid of their bullying and their violence in sport, perhaps their society will be as peaceful as other societies (cough).

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It's nice to hear that little by little, the old and ugly culture of Japan are being noticed though slowly but surely and something is being done to stop it now. It's not just sports. I have seen apprentice who wanted to become bar tenders being kick secretly by their teacher even in front of bar customers. Some who wanted to be a cook hit on their head...elementary singing chorus rehearsing until they have no more voices just for the benefit ofthe school winning the national singing competition and so on . Yes, it's the strict policies and old culture of Japan that need changes in training students.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Damn sad this. @bajihista65 The old culture of Japan, in other words the traditional culture of Japan, or rather, the culture of Japan is ugly.

What is so bad about kicking a trainee chef "even in front of their customers"? Oh no. Oh no it is v i o l e n c e.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Can someone remind me how many women Judo athletes were cremated without family consent after being beaten to death by dojos that were also, at the same time engaged in professional match fixing?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sumo was found to be totally rigged and yet no one is in jail, no one fined and this is still the worst?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What we have here is a number of commentators remarking quite rightly that violence has for a long time been a part of Japanese sports, both in their coaching and in their essence, and that this violence can also be seen prevalent in other coaching or training, and that these events are the tip of the icerberg, and that therefore the "old culture" or "an intrinsic part of their culture" meaning the culture that has existed in Japan till now, i.e. a part of the culture of Japan which is therefore "ugly," something that needs to be "put a stop to," "driven by a craze," "the worst."

"And yet there are apologists...."

Yes, you bet.

Is it not also a violence to heap this invective on a culture, upon Japanese culture, to dismiss it, to call it something that needs to be put a stop to, to be crazy, or the worst? What kind of violence is this? What of the violence of whatever the basis commentators here have of condemning Japanese society? The world view expressed here that can be so condemning seems violent to me.

To what extent is a degree of violence necessary, entailed within any culture? To what extent did Japanese violence avoid violence in other areas? Should societies aim to eradicate violence completely? Or should they control violence by giving it a place?

E.g. regarding bullying, I have read a book by an "old" Japanese educator that recommended the use of class dynamics, or in other words including bullying, as a means of class control. If such means are rejected, then is it supposed that the educational environment will operate without bullying, or is it the case that the violence is carried out by others, the teacher in particular. It top down violence better than intramural, inter-peer violence?

Or when violence is eradicated from traditional Japanese sports, the Japanese martial arts, what effect will this have on the level of violence in Japanese society? To what extent does controlled violence provide an outlet for structural violence, that exists in any society, and can not be eradicated? Does the fact that in Japan there have been examples where controls have failed, and that people have died, prove that regulated acceptance of violence (such as in Judo, coaching, training, or the legal existence of "violent groups"), is worse than, I would say idealistic, attempts at its eradication?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Add to all the above "crises", the match-fixing in the Sumo houses. Japan has quite a few "grave crisis" that are worse than this abusive coach.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


what is this book you are talking about?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think that it is not good to connect this news with Olympic bid. Which one is important or pressing issue? I hope that 15 members of national Judo team's brave make first step toward no violence in sports.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm surprise no one has pointed out that this "crisis" is refering to the fact that the beating incident has come to light at the same time that they are bidding for the olympics. He isn't refering to the beating as the crisis, but the fact it has shown its ugly head at the wrong time. Its a crisis in terms of promoting japanese sports and olympics in general. And he couldn't be more correct!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Minister arrested for excessive abuse of hyperbole

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Allegations that the national women’s judo coach used a bamboo sword to beat his athletes, including some Olympians, are the “gravest crisis” to hit Japanese sport, the education minister said Tuesday.

No. The fact that beatings and bullying is ingrained in Japanese "sport" is the "gravest crisis".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ Lowly I can't find the book that I mention above. It had a title like "Gakkyuu Kyouiku no susume" (Tecommendations for Education of Classes [as a unit]), in which the teacher/author recommended the use of "group responsibility" or rather, specifically, if one or two students were to come in late, to say to the class "Oh, I see. This class can't get together on time. I am rather disappointed." Now if students then "encourage each other to behave responsibly," that might be seen as a good thing. Indeed the only quote I can find regarding this sort of behavior is by the famous British anthropologist Joy Hendry (author of "Wrapping Culture") who references Piaget in support of the Japanese system, as follows.

"Japanese Kindergarten teachers seem, wittingly or unwittingly, to be making use of principles pointed out many years ago by Piaget in "The Moral Judgement of the Child". Rather than applying rules of constraint imposed unilaterally from above, teachers allow the child to impose rules upon themselves, rules which in Piaget’s view are concerned with mutual agreement and cooperation. With guidance, the ‘true discipline’ is achieved, which Piaget describes as “discipline that the children themselves have willed and consented to” (Piaget, 1932:365-7) Joy Hendry “From Kindergarden to School”, Comparative Education, Volume 22 No. 1 1986, p57

When a teacher treats a class as a unit, chastises it as a unit, and then leaves the room, it seems fair to assume that some sort of force will be applied to those that caused the class as a whole to be chastised. Is this a bad thing? I suggest that "constraint" (which can also be called "violence") is unavoidable, but there are variations upon who imposes it, and in what way.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Judo, national sports, should be world No.1, by all means.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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