Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. Head Coach Disgraced for Use of Corporal Punishment Still Coaching Team on Volunteer Basis

translated by Brett Larner

On Oct. 8 the Aichi Prefectural Board of Education confirmed that a 50-year-old male coach who officially left his position with the national-level Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. ekiden team in April after revelations of his systematic use of corporal punishment against male and female team members is still active in coaching the team at the present time.  According to Board officials, the former employee began working with the team again on a volunteer basis in May, overseeing 14 of the 27 team members.  A Board member commented, "Former employees are free to volunteer their guidance, but we don't like to see a team divided into two parts like this."  Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. vice principal Shigeyuki Furui told the Mainichi Newspaper, "We'd like to see him formally coaching official practice sessions."

The former coach developed Toyokawa Kogyo into one of the country's strongest high school ekiden teams, but in January this year problems came to light.  It was discovered that over the last five years he had beaten thirty team members, seriously injuring five.

Translator's note: Click here for more background on the scandal surrounding "former" Toyokawa Kogyo H.S. head coach Masaaki Watanabe's frequent beating of team members. The disconnect between appearance and reality evident in this story is a commonplace aspect of Japanese society.

The video below surfaced last month showing corporal punishment being used on a student by the volleyball coach at Hamamatsu Nittai H.S., roughly 30 km from Toyokawa Kogyo H.S.  Along with abuse scandals in other major sports, in May the JAAF established a counseling service for athletes who experience physical abuse and sexual harassment from coaches and other authority figures, an indication of how widespread practices like these are are in Japan's sports culture.

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