A mere two weeks after Japan won the right to host the 2020 Olympic Games, a disturbing propensity to take athletic performance a bit too seriously in the Japanese sports world stands exposed once again.
A high school volleyball coach in Hamamatsu, a small city about halfway between Tokyo and Osaka, reportedly administered beatings to two students in the same day Wednesday. The first incident, in which the coach slapped a male student, who appears to be about 16 years old, 13 times in a span of 16 seconds, was captured by another student on cell phone video.
The surreptitious videographer uploaded the clip to YouTube and it went viral immediately. By Thursday morning (Thursday evening in Japan) the clip had amassed more than 2 million views.
Watch the video below. Captured images from the video are at right.
In the clip, the coach -- whose name has not been made public -- can be heard admonishing the student in words that translate into English roughly as, “Quit joking around, kid! Do you get it? You’re stupid!”
The incident took place in Gifu Prefecture where the Hamamatsu team was playing an away scrimmage game.
The assistant principal of Hamamatsu Nittai Senior High School, Toshitaka Shiozawa, confirmed to the Japanese press not only that the video was authentic but that the 41-year-old coach had slapped around another student the same day.
The school was considering taking disciplinary measures against the coach, who reportedly explained his actions to school authorities, saying, “I wanted to shake him up, but I went about it the wrong way.”
Corporal punishment in schools has been banned throughout Japan since World War II, but it is a frequent occurrence nonetheless. Athletic programs seem particularly afflicted by coach-on-athlete violence there.
An Osaka basketbal coach, Hajime Komura, is now on trial for repeatedly assaulting a student who later committed suicide. The student left a note saying he could no longer endure the coach’s torments. Komura could face a year in prison. A verdict is expected later this month.
SOURCES: Japan Times, Japan Daily Press (2), YouTube