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

How it Happened

Ancient History I went to Wesleyan University, where the legend of four-time Boston Marathon champ and Wes alum Bill Rodgers hung heavy over the cross-country team. Inspired by Koichi Morishita and Young-Cho Hwang’s duel at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics I ran my first marathon in 1993, qualifying for Boston ’94 where Bill was kind enough to sign a star-struck 20-year-old me’s bib number at the expo.

Three years later I moved to Japan for grad school, and through a long string of coincidences I came across a teenaged kid named Yuki Kawauchi down at my neighborhood track. I never imagined he’d become what he is, but right from the start there was just something different about him. After his 2:08:37 breakthrough at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon he called me up and asked me to help him get into races abroad. He’d finished 3rd on the brutal downhill Sixth Stage at the Hakone Ekiden, and given how he’d run the hills in the last 6 km at Tokyo ’11 I thought he’d do well at Boston or New York. “If M…

The Kawauchi Counter

Yuki Kawauchi's 2018 race results: Jan. 1: Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon, U.S.A.: 2:18:59 - 1st - CR
Jan. 14: Okukuma Road Race Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:03:28 - 7th
Jan. 21: Yashio Isshu Ekiden, Saitama: 1:01:03 - 1st - ran entire 20.0 km ekiden solo and beat all 103 teams of 6 runners each
Jan. 28: Okumusashi Ekiden First Stage (9.9 km), Saitama - 29:41 - 6th
Feb. 4: Saitama Ekiden Third Stage (12.1 km), Saitama - 36:54 - 4th
Feb. 11: Izumo Kunibiki Half Marathon, Shimane - cancelled due to heavy snow
Feb. 18: Kitakyushu Marathon, Fukuoka - 2:11:46 - 1st - CR
Feb. 25: Fukaya City Half Marathon, Saitama - 1:04:26 - 1st
Mar. 4: Kanaguri Hai Tamana Half Marathon, Kumamoto - 1:04:49 - 12th
Mar. 11: Yoshinogawa Riverside Half Marathon, Tokushima - 1:05:50 - 1st - CR
Mar. 18: Wan Jin Shi Marathon, Taiwan - 2:14:12 - 1st
Mar. 24: Heisei Kokusai University Time Trials, Saitama
              5000 m Heat 4: 14:53.95 - 1st
              5000 m Heat 6: 14:36.58 - 2nd
           …

Guinness Certifies Kawauchi's World Record 78 Career Sub-2:20 Marathons After Half Marathon in Panda Costume

Known as the Civil Servant Runner, Saitama Prefectural Government employee Yuki Kawauchi's career record of 78 sub-2:20 marathons was officially recognized as the Guinness World Record at a ceremony in his hometown of Kuki, Saitama on Mar. 25.  Raised in Kuki, Kawauchi began working for the Saitama Prefectural Government after graduating from university. Running while working full-time as a civil servant, he has qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic trial race.

Earlier this month on the 18th Kawauchi ran Taiwan's Wan Jin Shi Marathon, winning in 2:14:12. His 78th time running faster than 2 hours and 20 minutes, his achievement was certified as the official Guinness World Record. He actually broke the previous record on Jan. 1 at the Marshfield New Year's Day Marathon in the U.S.A. with his 76th sub-2:20 but followed up with two performances, one in February and the other last week, before Guinness could ratify the record.

The official recognition ceremony took place Mar. 2…