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

Berlin Marathon - Japanese Results

Fresh off a 1:00:17 half marathon national record last weekend and a 28:55 road 10 km the one before, Yuta Shitara (Honda) lived up to expectations at today's Berlin Marathon, trying to go with the lead group and running the first part of the race alone between the first and second groups.

Whatever his plan, Shitara was swallowed up by the second pack, a good turn of events as it was travelling ahead of Japanese national record pace on track for just sub-2:06. Shitara hung with that group through 25 km before his projected time started to creep away, drifting to high-2:06 pace by 30 km, high-2:07 by 35 km, and high-2:08 by 40 km. In the end he was well short of Toshinari Takaoka's 2:06:16 national record, but with a 2:09:03 for 6th Shitara took 24 seconds off his best with the fastest Japanese men's performance in Berlin since Takayuki Inubushi's then-NR 2:06:57 in 1999. And just 8 days after the greatest half marathon performance in Japanese history.

『ベルリンマラソン動画 設楽悠太…

New Half Marathon NR Holder Yuta Shitara's Twin Brother Keita Joins Hitachi Butsuryu Corporate Team

Having left the Konica Minolta men's corporate team at the end of March this year, Keita Shitara, 25, announced on Sept. 19 that he will join the Hitachi Butsuryu team. The official announcement is scheduled for Sept. 20.

As a member of Toyo University Shitara was part of two Hakone Ekiden-winning teams before joining Konica Minolta following his graduation in 2014. His first year at Konica Minolta Shitara ran New Year Ekiden national championships' toughest stage, but since his second year he has experienced a slump. Saying, "I need to change my environment in order to get my head straight and back on track," Shitara chose to leave the team at the end of March, returning to Toyo as his training base.

The Hitachi Butsuryu team came into being in April, 2012 as the successor to the Hitachi Cable Marathon Team. It is based in Matsudo, Chiba. Under the leadership of head coach Manabu Kitaguchi, 45, it has grown steadily, placing 10th at this year's New Year Ekiden.…

Yuta Shitara Breaks Japanese Men's Half Marathon National Record in Berlin Marathon Tuneup at Usti nad Labem Half

A week after his 28:55 at the Birell Prague Grand Prix 10 km and just eight days out from the Berlin Marathon, Yuta Shitara (Honda) made the great leap forward, taking 8 seconds off Atsushi Sato's 2007 half marathon Japanese national record, finishing 8th at the Czech Republic's Usti nad Labem Half Marathon.

Shitara is probably most well-known outside Japan for going through halfway under 62 minutes during his marathon debut at this year's Tokyo Marathon and still ending up with a 2:09:27, but he's been turning heads in Japan since his second year at Toyo University when he broke a stage record at the 2012 Hakone Ekiden and outkicked the U.S.A.'s Dathan Ritzenhein to finish in 1:01:48 at the NYC Half two months later, until this year the fastest time ever by a Japanese man on U.S soil.

Three weeks before Tokyo this year he ran a 1:01:19 PB at the Marugame Half. Many people would call that a solid tuneup three weeks out from a serious marathon, but eight days? In P…