Skip to main content

12 Members of Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. Ekiden Team Confirmed Beaten by Head Coach, 2 Leaving School as Consequence

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20130126-00000066-mai-soci

translated by Brett Larner

Translator's note: Click here for more background on this story, which comes shortly after the suicide of a national-level high school basketball team's 17-year-old captain following beatings by the team's coach.  Although none of the Japanese media reports on this story mention the head coach by name, Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. is coached by Masaaki Watanabe.  Yesterday the Aichi Prefecture Government website featured an interview with Watanabe in a series titled "Shining Stars," but as of this morning the interview, #24 in a series, has been deleted.

At a special session at Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. on Jan. 26 addressing allegations of the use of corporal punishment on student athletes by the 50-year-old male head coach of the school's national-level ekiden team after requests from the Aichi Prefectural Board of Education for him to exert more self-control in his leadership, Board officials revealed that two members of the team had left Toyokawa Kogyo during the 2012-13 school year as a consequence of being beaten by the coach, one transferring to another school and the other dropping out.  The Board also confirmed that during the same period of time ten other team members had also experienced beatings.

At the session, school principal Yoshihisa Takemoto told members of the media that at an altitude training camp in Nagano late last July the coach hit a team members in the face with both hands twice.  One of the blows hit the student's ear, damaging the eardrum seriously enough to require two weeks of treatment.  The coach explained the incident by saying, "The student's awareness of things was pretty dim, so I was making reality clear to him."  Following this, the student left the team and in September transferred to another school.  In October the coach repeatedly slapped a female team member in the face in front of the other students, leading to her dropping out of the school at the end of December.

A questionnaire about whether they had experienced corporal punishment was distributed to all Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. students on Jan. 11.  Ten members of the school's ekiden team responded that they had been slapped in the face, kicked, or received other physical punishment.  Many of these students indicated that they had been beaten on multiple occasions.  The coach told the school administration, "Corporal punishment is not part of my leadership," but administration officials determined that his actions did in fact constitute corporal punishment.  On Jan. 25 the administration sent a report to the Prefectural Board of Education that a total of twelve team members including the two students who left the school had been subjected to corporal punishment.

Principal Takemoto commented, "This is not something we want here.  We need to carefully consider the situation."  On the question of why the school administration did not inform the Prefectural Board of Education that two students had left the school after receiving corporal punishment he replied, "We prioritized respecting the decisions of the students and those responsible for them."

As part of the Jan. 26 session, administration officials held a meeting with the adult leadership of the school's ekiden team to explain the details of the situation to them.  The other adults responsible for the team were virtually unanimous in their support for the head coach to remain in his position, saying, "If the ekiden team is going to make the National Championships then we need our coach and his strength."  The administration said that they would allow the coach to continue working but urged him to exert more self-control in his leadership.

Additionally, at the session it was revealed that an advisor to the boys' volleyball team had slapped a team member, while another teacher had likewise struck a student in the classroom.

Comments

Joe, Shanghai said…
Wow, this reminds me of how football coaches get amazing leeway to abuse kids because parents are so bent on winning. Hard to believe it's even a question of whether to let the coach stay.

Most-Read This Week

Japanese National Track and Field Championships Preview

The 101st edition of Japan's National Track and Field Championships takes place Friday through Sunday at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. It's a strange time in some ways. Despite the overall upward trend spurred on by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the count of athletes who might make the London World Championships off their performances at Nationals is low. The marathon, walks, combined events and relays aside, based on current qualifying times only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m could field full three-member squads, and not many events look set to join that list. The progress over the last few years in men's distance on the track seems to have stalled, with nobody qualified for London in the 5000 m and the only man qualified in the 10000 m already a scratch. Is it a just a hiccup or a sign of problems in the buildup to 2020?

Visit the JAAF's National Track and Field Championships website for entry and start lists, live results, photos an…

New Balance Nationals and Record-Breaking Times Nationwide at Japanese High School Regionals

The New Balance Nationals Outdoor was the weekend's big high school meet in the U.S.A., but from Thursday through Monday regions across Japan also held their qualifying meets for the July 29 - Aug. 2 National High School Track and Field Championships in Yamagata. Performances were at a high level across the board, with at least eight meet records nationwide in distance events.

Five girls broke 4:20 in the 1500 m, with Helen Ekarare (Sendai Ikuei H.S.) leading the way with a 4:09.67 meet record to win the Tohoku Region. Nozomi Tanaka (Nishiwaki Kogyo H.S.) was the fastest Japanese girl, winning the Kinki Region title in 4:18.32. On the boys' side, four broke 3:50 in the 1500 m, three of them in the Kinki Region meet. Yusuke Takahashi (Hyogo H.S.) took the Kinki title in 3:46.86.



In the girls' 3000 m, five girls including both Ekarare and Tanaka were under 9:05 nationwide. Ekarare and Tanaka both doubled with 3000 m wins, but the fastest time came from Tabitha Kamau (Kamimu…

Ageo City Half Marathon Leads Weekend Action - Preview

by Brett Larner

Rainy weather lies ahead for a busy weekend of racing across the country.  Track is a part of the calender from April through December, and this weekend features several large time trial meets including the Shizuoka Long Distance Time Trials Meet and, closer to Tokyo, the Nittai University Time Trials Meet.  Men's 5000 m is the focus at Nittai with 37 separate heats in one day, the fastest heat led by 12 Japan-based Africans including Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC), Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) and Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta).

The main action this weekend, however, happens on the roads, and there's no question that the Ageo City Half Marathon is the main event.  Ageo, the race that university coaches use to thin their rosters ahead of deciding their lineups for January's Hakone Ekiden, is one of two Japanese half marathons vying for the title of world's greatest half, locked in a duel with March's National University Half Marathon to produce the d…