Arama They Didn't

6:36 pm - 02/05/2013

Coach Of Japanese Women's National Judo Team Admits To Beating Athletes

Tokyo hopes to host the 2020 Olympic Games, but a shocking story about the Japanese national judo team has has cast a pall over the nation's sporting image. Leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games, 15 female Japanese judokas were regularly slapped in the face and beaten with wooden sticks by national team coach Ryuji Sonoda, who admitted to the abuse after a tipster notified the All Japan Judo Federation.

Though the victims remain unnamed, some of the judokas participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics, where the Japanese women's team took three medals. Sonoda initially distanced himself from the allegations and told Kyodo News on Jan. 30, 2013, that "until now I have been doing things the way I saw fit, but I will mend the things that need fixing." On the following day, Sonoda offered the following apology to press and formally resigned from his position:

I would like to deeply apologize for causing trouble to all the people concerned with what I have done and said. I think it will be difficult for me to continue being engaged in the training program any longer. I wish to submit my resignation.

Despite admitting his guilt, Sonoda is not facing criminal charges, according to Inside The Games, with the All Japan Judo Federation simply stating that they will "face a harsher punishment if a similar incident happens in the future." The president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, vowed "prompt internal reform."

The scandal was just the first in the last week for the Japanese judo program; on Friday, two-time Olympic gold medalist Masato Uchishiba was sentenced to five years in jail for raping a teenage member of a college judo club.


Disgusting. Things like this plus how they treated the Nadeshiko soccer team as second-class athletes makes my blood boil.
aammmyyy 6th-Feb-2013 01:40 am (UTC)
"Despite admitting his guilt, Sonoda is not facing criminal charges, according to Inside The Games, with the All Japan Judo Federation simply stating that they will 'face a harsher punishment if a similar incident happens in the future.'"

Wut. Seriously, no charges at all? That's so wrong. And what do they mean by giving a "harsher" punishment next time? There wasn't any punishment this time around to begin with. He resigned of his own will (because he knew that people would be angry with him as they should be). Seriously, I don't think just letting this situation go by is such a good idea.

Edited at 2013-02-06 01:42 am (UTC)
rainbow_yarn 6th-Feb-2013 08:56 am (UTC)
"We didn't tell this guy that it should be common sense not to use violent tactics on his students, so he won't get punished. Anyone else planning to do it in the future, though, watch out! We'll really get on your case!"

oh okay
___varying 6th-Feb-2013 09:42 am (UTC)
Ugh. Smh, Judo Federation.
inachan89 6th-Feb-2013 10:34 am (UTC)
Ah??They won't punish him,waiting for the next time before doing something??The hell...
cugami 6th-Feb-2013 01:33 pm (UTC)
Wait. They treated Nadeshiko soccer team as second-class athletes???
fauxparadiso 6th-Feb-2013 09:06 pm (UTC)
Even though they had previously won the World Cup while the men's team did not, they were made to fly in coach while the men's team flew in business/first class. They were told that they'd be able to fly in business if they won the Olympics as well. It's nothing as terrible as these physical attacks, but it's still a revolting example of sexism.
cugami 7th-Feb-2013 12:14 am (UTC)
wtf Japan.

How they treat women is the primary reason why (among many many things) I find it insane for any foreign woman to willingly go there and stay. Japan's a good place to tour, but to spend the rest of your life in it?
fauxparadiso 7th-Feb-2013 12:39 am (UTC)
IDK, as a foreign woman you probably won't be held to the same societal expectations as a Japanese woman, depending on the company. I would love to go back someday but i'd have to work somewhere that respects women and visibly promotes their work. Not to say sexism won't still occur, but unfortunately, as a woman I'm bound to have to face it in some form no matter where I live.
cugami 7th-Feb-2013 01:09 am (UTC)
Corporate life as a woman in Japan still puts you in the second class citizen category (or maybe third, considering the second class already applies everywhere else around the globe for the most part). Japan's pretty kind to foreign visitors/tourists, but the moment you live there, it's something else entirely. Although I must say that my aunt got rather lucky, but I'd put the luck along with the fact that she could throttle any man in her field of expertise (she's a chemist in Japan for a big company). My mom also gained a good rep while she was there because she's an architect, but she refused all invitations to stay and left eventually.

My impression during that period was that the respect only came the moment Japanese men (and women really...) realize that you're smarter than their colleagues, have more accomplishments than they currently have (i.e. decorated professional), and unattainable :/
nova_usagi 7th-Feb-2013 06:26 pm (UTC)
Kind of ambivalent about the Judo thing. Recently Japan is very hyper sensitive about the school bullying and teachers being too harsh on students.

If it was hazing or sexual harassment or money embezzlement, different story. But coaches and superiors being harsh on players or team members is kind of grey area, no?

Doing gymnastics as a small kid, the coach used to yell at us and make us continue right after messing up on the beam, floor, or bars and getting banged up. If we were crying but nothing was sprained or broken, we still had to continue.

I did a bit of kendo and the teacher was an old dude who used to whack us with a kendo sword...and we didn`t have that protective gear on. It hurt and sucked, but whatever we were there by choice.
fauxparadiso 7th-Feb-2013 10:49 pm (UTC)
Even if you were to go along with getting struck by the kendo sword because of it being related to the sport, there's no excuse for slapping them in the face regularly. It crosses the line completely.
nova_usagi 16th-Feb-2013 02:38 am (UTC)
Maybe I missed that. I watched some of it on the news, including video footage of the guy "bullying" a girl or two during practice...where he was speaking roughly and was pulling a girl around a bit by her gi like in a match, etc. I thought all of the abuse was related to the training/sport. Again, I probably missed that.
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