Skip to main content

Japanese State Media: Research Shows Japanese Athletes Don't Dope Because They Have Samurai Spirit

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20160204/k10010397731000.html

translated by Brett Larner

Coincidentally timed nearly simultaneously with reports of Chinese state media confirming the existence of a 1995 letter claiming state-sponsored doping, on Feb. 4 Japanese public broadcaster NHK, headed by the controversial Katsuto Momii, aired a news report on "Why Japanese athletes don't dope."  A segment of the video is included in the source article linked above.

In the first-ever survey of Japanese medalists regarding doping, research found that many of them cited the spirit of bushido, the samurai way, as the reason Japanese athletes do not dope.  Among unending doping problems in the rest of the world including the scandal in Russian athletics, Japan has never produced a single athlete who has tested positive at the Olympics.  Against this backdrop, a Waseda University graduate school research group led by Mikio Hibino and Prof. Yoshiyuki Mano interviewed six male and six female Japanese medalists from the last three Olympic Games up to the London Olympics.

The research indicated that on the question of their "reasons for not doping," many of the medalists said that their parents and coaches had taught them, "Do not cheat," and "Giving everything you have is more important than winning or losing."  Additionally, many answered that "something similar to bushido underlies [their] beliefs," showing that the Japanese spirit of fair play stemming from bushido is a major factor.

The research group commented, "It is a deeply interesting result to find that the ancient spirit of bushido is still alive.  In the buildup to the 2020 Tokyo Games, we believe this basic research will be crucial to awareness of the importance of spreading anti-doping education around the world."  The results of the research are expected to be published next month in the academic journal "Sports Industry Studies."

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Weekend Overseas Japanese Results

Lost in the luminosity of Eliud Kipchoge's world record and Gladys Cherono's women's course record at the Berlin Marathon were a score of Japanese results there and elsewhere overseas, ranging from the sparkling to the dull. Cherono and 2nd and 3rd placers Ruti Aga and Tirunesh Dibaba all broke Mizuki Noguchi's Berlin Marathon course record of 2:19:12 which has stood since she set that national record mark in 2005.

A kilometer behind Dibaba, Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu) followed up her 2:22:44 debut in Osaka in January with a 2:22:23 PB for 5th, making her just the fourth Japanese woman ever to break 2:23 twice in her career. 2:23:46 woman Honami Maeda (Tenmaya) ran 2:25:23 for 7th, beating Tenmaya teammate Rei Ohara whose 2:27:28 put her only 10th but qualified her for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon trials, only the second athlete after 2018 Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) to qualify for the trials under the two-race average wildcard opt…

Nittai University Head Coach Masaaki Watanabe Fired Over Abuse Scandal

On Sept. 12 Nittai University announced that it will fire ekiden team head coach Masaaki Watanabe, 55, over the current power harassment scandal surrounding him. According to the university's public relations office, interviews by the alumni association with five current and one former team member reported multiple acts of violence by Watanabe including kicking athletes' legs and grabbing them by the chest.

The interviews also reported that Watanabe verbally abused and threatened student athletes and attacked their character. When runners fell off pace during workouts he was reported to have shouted, "Get the hell out of this university!" and, following the runners in a car, "I am going to f*cking run you over and kill you." Injured team members were also reported to have been subject to verbal humiliation by Watanabe, including, "Look at this f*cking cripple," and "You f*cking deserve it." Watanabe admitted the accusations but said tha…

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of Hakone Ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to stay wi…