Japanese fans wish Worlds not to be postponed till October nor held in Japan
I wish to inform you all who are willing to read this that most Japanese fans are against ISU and JSF's decisions so far in having Worlds in October, esp in Japan. I've written a message in much more detail in my next post. I was advised by one of the mods here to post something innocuous first after my post had been mistaken for spam several times. This is not the actual message I would like you to read, so I'd appreciate it if you'd read the next one, too. Thank you in advance. From Tokyo, Japan.
Before I start writing about the Worlds issue, as a Japanese citizen living in Tokyo, I'd like to thank all the people who have expressed their concern for my country's unfortunate chain of disasters for the past few days. Many countries have sent people and supplies to help the victims in the upper north damaged areas, so although there have been many casualties and countless people still missing, things are slowly but surely heading towards rivival. Right now the Fukushima nuclear power station is the main problem as other reactors are still heating up, followed by the explosion of reactor no.1. However, specialists have announced that radiation leaks will influence only up to a range of about 30km around the station, and from thorough exams the people who have evacuated from those areas have been found clean of radiation. Also note that the crucial ammounts of radiation will not be reaching Tokyo which is about 230km from Fukushima, and it seems yesterday they have finally been able to shower some water on the reactors to reduce heat so things are calming down a bit hopefully towards the better.
Now fortunately, ISU has officially anounced that they will be postponing Worlds until October. JSF seems to have agreed with this with chairman Seiko Hashimoto stating she'd like Japan to be able to host it then. Most Japanese FS fans are totally against this decision, and also raged about how JSF and Hashimoto has reacted to it. I am a member of a Japanese FS forum called JAPAN FIGURE SKATE FORUM. Almost right after the first major earthquake and tsunami hit the northern parts of our country, many members in the forum had posted their worries for what will become of Worlds along with condolences to the people in the damaged areas. We were all shocked when ISU first announced they will be holding the competition as planned in Tokyo, due to our irresponsible skating federation telling them all is calm and safe in Tokyo. Although Tokyo had been hardly damaged compared to the north, we've been having after-shakes constantly eversince this disaester, some of them strong enough to cause accidents for the skaters during their performances. Not once single person has stated that they should have Worlds in Tokyo as scheduled this month, nor even next month, nor even in October. This has been the most strongest and widespread Japan has ever had, and we nor specialists are not sure of the outcomes or when exactly the country can be assured as safe, so how can JSF possibly think even for a moment that having Worlds 2011 in Japan can be possible at any time? I am certain that many fans in Japan has been sending messages of criticism and protest against how JSF has been acting, for I've seen many posts in various FS related bulletin boards and blogs in Japan encouraging fans to do so. I have done so myself in my blog and forum, and many other fans have helped me out in spreading the word. I have even asked members in FSU to mail JSF (email@example.com) or Hashimoto (firstname.lastname@example.org) to reconsider their choices. Japanese organizations such as JSF are very conscious on what society thinks of them, I'm sure English messages from overseas would surely make them fear their international reputations are going down (if they ever had any, that is...). Worlds is an international competition which doesn't belong only to us, and I hope you'd understand that the majority of Japanese fans are very well aware of that. We do not wish to deprive other countries' fans and especially their skaters their rights to hold Worlds within the season in a country other than ours which wil enable them to focus on the competition without having have to be concerened about their safety.
We've already found out from Takeshi Honda, Shizuka Arakawa and Akiko Suzuki's tweets that Yuzuru Hanyu and all the other FS related people residing in the Miyagi prefecture are all right. There has been no casualty reports on anyone in Japanese FS so far. There's no need for Worlds to be cancelled as any gesture of mourning, or just for the sake of Japan in any way.
One of our moderators in our forum resides in the city of Sendai in the Miyagi prefecture which was the closest area to the center of the earthquake. She mailed me from her cell phone about 4 days ago and said she does not want Worlds to be cancelled nor even postponed, and that she wishes it would be held as scheduled. She made it clear that she doesn't want the competition to be influenced from what's happened to her and the people in Miyagi. I mailed back and told her that Worlds has been postponed already, but it's not her nor the people in the damaged area's fault, but that it was simply a matter of security. But like her, should Worlds be completely cancelled because of the chain of disasters which hit my country, many Japanese FS fans in the damaged areas may end up feeling bad. They shouldn't of course for it's not their fault in any way, but I imagine some might be able to avoid it. There must be many FS fans in the damaged areas who care for all the skaters, not only ours just as much as all of you here. They are most likely to be aware that should Worlds really be postponed to October, some of the skaters who've achieved their tickets to Worlds this season may not be able to enter. This terrible earthquake happened only in Japan, and even only in part of Japan. The world does not have to stop functioning just because of it. Almost everyone in Tokyo and the non-damaged areas here are going on with our usual lives, and they're even going to start baseball season soon (though there are still arguments whether this is right or wrong). A minor league baseball game has already been held in the Gifu prefecture on Monday, the players and the audience all took a moment of silence for the victims of the earthquake before they started the game, and a large amount of the ticket profits has been donated to the damaged areas. So sport events are already starting to be held as usual in Japan. I hope this fact would add to convincing all of you that FS fans in Japan do not mind at all for Worlds to be held in another country during the season. We want it to be like that as much as anyone!
I am very sad to know that JSF seems to have given FS fans in other countries the mistaken impression that we feel otherwise. I've decided to post this message here since a non-Japanese member in FSU has advised me to do so. Most Japanese FS fans have always felt JSF to be unreliable even before all this. You can take my word for it that alot of us actually hate them. We've found out some years ago that some officials in high posts had been using up budgets for the skaters, they did not bother to make any statements concerning the comments Yuna Kim had made on Korean tv mistaking she had been intentionally disputed during warm-up which led to our skaters being falsely accused. It was only after countless fans in Japan had requested them to do so that JSF finally announced there had been no such thing going on according to their investigations. I hope these facts would convince you more of how much fans in Japan do not think well of JSF, and do not agree at all to them concerning Worlds. We were excited about Tokyo being chosen to have Worlds this season, but we're always excited about Worlds where ever it's being held.
I believe we are a fairly well organized country, and we've always managed to overcome the worst of times so we can make it through this one too. Please do understand once again, how FS fans in Japan are feeling about Worlds. There is no need to cancel nor postpone the competiton till October, at least not for our sake, and we do not wish for that to happen. Let's all look forward to Worlds being held sometime later (maybe next month or May), in a location where it's safe for all skaters to focus only on their performances. Although it would be disappointing, under the circumstances the Japanese people will have no hard feelings should Worlds be relocated outside of Japan. Please do not let ISU nor JSF take away the competition from the skaters who had worked hard to enter it. Fans in Japan would greatly appreciate it if any of you would be willing to send a message of protest to not only ISU but to JSF and Hashimoto. Their email addresses are written in the second paragraph of this post. Thank you for reading this. I hope all of you overseas would never have to experience what the damaged areas in my country is going through now.
Thank you all for taking your precious time to read this post.
Rooting for the divas with Kwanford
Thanks for posting and welcome. I'm sure we're all eager to know what Japanese fans are feeling and thinking right now. My prayers are with you and your country, including your magnificent skaters.
ETA: That was a response to your first post. Now I've read the second one. I'm so glad to hear that things are gradually getting back to normal, and very glad to know that Japanese fans feel the same way about Worlds as so many international fans do. Thank you so much for posting here. I hope you've seen the petition that fans are sending to the ISU with a cc to the Japanese federation. Personally, I would rather not send a direct protest to any Japanese group at this moment, out of respect - but the JSF did receive a copy of my comments to the ISU urging that Worlds go on asap.
It seems skating federations are always making people unhappy! Sigh... I'm sure they do a lot of good too.
Last edited by Spun Silver; 03-19-2011 at 11:36 AM.
Thank you for sharing the thoughts of the Japanese skating community with us at GS.
Moderator's note. Thank you very much, Pochi@Shinku, for persevering with your most welcome and informative post.
To all new and prospective Golden Skate members, GS has a spam filter that automatically removes a new member's first post if it contains a link. This is to keep the board free of the miriad spambots that routinely prowl the web droppoing ads for viagra and stuff. These first posts are then reviewed by the moderators for content.
Thanks to all new GS members who, like Pochi@Shinku, tried again and checked their Personal Messages. Needless to say, we would hate like the Dickens to turn away any skating fan who wants to join us.
A hearty welcome, Pochi@Shinku. Thank you this insight into the feelings of Japanese fans. Post often, post long!
Thank you for your warm welcome and concern for the people in my country. And yes I have seen the petition, I've already signed and have noted Japanese fans about it in my forum (http://japanfigureskate.forumotions.com/), Mao Asada Fan forum, Yahoo!Japan FS bulletin board, and my personal blog. Many have already contacted me and told me that they have signed too. Other Japanese bloggers have relayed the info in their sites too. If you check some of the messages, you'd notice quite a few Japanese fans have left messages in the petition site. Most of us in the undamaged parts of Japan can't do anything but donate some money for the people in the damaged areas, so this is the only way I can feel like I'm helping in someway more or less for my FS fan friend in Miyagi, and others in the damaged areas who care for FS. My friend is not the kind of FS fan who only roots for her favorite skaters, nor just the Japanese skaters. She's a staff for the Absolute Skating site as well as our forum, and she has recently asked us to write messages to encourage Adrian Schultheiss (hope he's okay now) and posted them to him. In the evening of the first major quake followed by the tsunami, she managed to find a pay phone that was working, and phoned me asking to mail the staff in Absolute Skating that she is okay but won't be able to contact them for a while. I was so surprised that she had gone through all the trouble just to request that in her terrible situation, but that's the kind of responsible person she is. It may seem crazy to some people for her to be caring about FS sites on the net, or what would happen to Worlds now...I thought so too at first, but it means that much to her. I've mailed JSF telling them about her too. I hope they would seriously consider that there are such fans in the damaged areas, and would do the right thing in the end.
Originally Posted by Spun Silver
ETA: demarinis5 and mathman, thank you for reading my post and welcoming me here!
Last edited by Pochi@Shinku; 03-19-2011 at 01:06 PM.
Thanks so much for your posts Pochi@Shinku. The situation in your country caused by the natural disasters is heartbreaking.
I join many other voices from GS and the USA in sending prayers for the victimes and best wishes for a rapid recovery.
Welcome Shinku, I too don't want Worlds to be cancelled nor to be postponed till October wich is utmostly bizarre.
You were right in saying the very most of us Japanese figure skating fans feel the same way.
But IMO you were not accurate in portraying the JSF.
The JSF's staffs, (not the ex speed skater Hashimoto,) in my view, probably share the same feeling if not opinion with us.
Please refer my post:
I don't buy this notion that it's the JSF insisting October.
It's very clear that it's not the JSF who first said it.
One may say that it's the same if the JSF didn't reject October when asked, but IMO it's their desperate procedure they are taking in effort to convince the sponsers they had no choice.
I'm pretty sure the JSF knows they can't meet with the conditions asked in Speedy's letter.
But they have to show gesture to the sponsers that they are doing their best financial wise.
OTOH the ISU obviously wants the JSF to say "We can't fulfill the conditions you requested in the letter of 15th" and through this ISU can put on JSF the responsibility of the financial losses.
I imagine the JSF well knows how awkward it is to place Worlds in October, and its immense incoveniences, and also, that the ISU will not share the financial losses whatever the outcome.
Just my guess.
Last edited by sorcerer; 03-19-2011 at 02:04 PM.
Rooting for the divas with Kwanford
Pochi@Shinku, thanks too for letting us know that the poster who asked for messages of encouragement for Adrian Schultheiss is in the most affected area. I just sent her a note of support.
Constable , Costume Police
Pochi@Shinku..thanks for your posts, and my very great sympathies to the Japanese fans . I wouldn't be surprised if there was an element of truth in sorcerer's post ,too..but we're not likely to ever be privy to behind-the-scenes conversations.
Thank you all for taking the time to read my posts. Also, I was very happy to know that the lady at JSF sorcerer talked with on the phone made it clear that it was ISU which had asked JSF whether they can hold Worlds later on. Thank you for the info! I had read in some foreign articles that Mr.Cinquanta had sent a letter to JSF asking that as well, so I guess it's time I give our fed a bit of a break on how they've been reacting.
However, I'm disappointed to have to post here that Hidehito ITO who seems to be the head of the figure skating department in JSF has made some comments to the press such as 'We did not think other countries would volunteer to host Worlds. The (Japanese) skaters have already reset their feelings to prepare for October', 'I understand that Worlds being held in Japan is still prioritized at the top of the list', 'We're still having a hard time finding a rink (for October) but I want to have Worlds in Japan if it's possible', 'Japan still has priority (over other countries). I want Worlds to be held in Japan for the sake of the (Japanese) skaters and fans'.
Many fans in Japan are now quite upset with Ito. The most highly agreed comment posted by the readers to the last link in the article says: So JSF had not given up having Worlds in October in Japan yet...Did they not mention they want WTT sometime in Fall as well? I honestly think it's too much for the skaters to be participating in so many competitions (at that time). And we have no idea what kind of state Japan will be in even by Fall...Although I am disappointed about not being able to have the competition in Japan, since it seems that the US, Canada, Finland, Germany and Russia are willing to take our place, (why not appreciate their offers) and hand it to them?
This comment has achieved 5,627 votes for 'I agree' and only 72 for 'I disagree', and all the other comments which most people agree to are saying mostly the same. It's obvious that Ito does not read the internet much, for he seems to totally misunderstand the opinions of most of the FS fans in Japan.
I'd also like to add that although Ito has mentioned our skaters in his quotes, there has been no skater in Japan who has stated that they think Worlds being held in October is what they want. They have said that to the press or in their homepages that should Worlds be cancelled or postponed due to the earthquake, they will accept any decisions which are made and will go on practicing as usual.
As our skaters are Japanese citizens, they could not possibly say out loud that they do not want Worlds to be postponed till October, even if some of them felt so. They are in a position to send their condolences and consider the sufferings of the people in the damaged areas, rather than give their honest opinions on what they would prefer to be done for Worlds. They cannot possibly request anything concerning Worlds, unlike some of the foreign skaters who have already made their appeals against Worlds in October. I cannot be sure how are skaters are feeling about Worlds right now, but please note that none of them has commented that they are happy with the October plan to say the least. I'm sure they are also concerned about all the skaters in other countries who were scheduled to enter, and as they are skaters themselves understand how much Worlds must mean to them.
Seiko Hashimoto, who is head of JSF has not made any official comments concerning Worlds yet eversince ISU has announced they will be waiting for JSF's reply. Ito has been the only one who has been talking to the press it seems, so I now think too that maybe Hashimoto may not be feeling the same as him. There may be some conflicts even within JSF about what should be done with Worlds.
I do hope though that they will let some other country to host the competition during Spring, and that JSF will in the end appeal to the World that they are thankful for the countries which have volunteered for the sake of the Japanese skater and the Japanese fans as well.
Welcome, Pochi@Shinku! And thanks for the gift of precious information you brought us. I hope that your future posts will be on much happier occasions.
I'm relieved to hear that the Sendai skaters, including several of my favorites (notably Arakawa and Suzuki, but everyone in Japan is my favorite right now and I think of all of you) are safe. I'm also glad to hear that Tokyo is recovering and has so far not experienced serious radiation. May this progress continue.
I am a member of a non-skating web site, and many on that site are also thinking of Japan. People from as far away as South Africa are holding you in their thoughts. Whenever people can think of something constructive to do, it is being done. Please continue to tell your fellow members of the Japanese forums that they are never out of our thoughts and prayers. And please do keep us posted about the situation, both in the skating world and in the larger everyday struggle to rescue people and repair the unimaginable damage.
Shinku, I read between the lines of Itoh's words.
The most important part is that he is confessing that the JSF still hasn't found the appropriate venue.
The rest could be just "talk" aimed to make the sponsers hear it, or else he is quite blind in understanding the international situation the JSF is in.
It is already public knowledge that Speedy requested some kind of official declaration of safety as a fundamental condition. And also in this article below we can read that the JSF was informed from the beginning that the decision deadline is late March or early April, the dates that also appear in Speedy's interview.
Basically, Itoh is saying the JSF tried but hasn't yet met the conditions set by the ISU.
And Speedy has already said he'll move on forward by Monday or Tueday.
So it's all clear.
(Yes, I am disappointed in Itoh especially in the sense that he's not even aware that his every word will be introduced worldwide everytime and immediately.)
ETA: Olympia, though your post is for Shinku, allow me to thank you too. The circumstance in Tokyo was quite normal for about two days after the quake (except for the traffic jam), but now it's much more in an exceptional status with electricity cuts, less trains, looooong qeues to get gas into cars, empty shelves in superstores and convenience stores, very few neon lights down town. But we are already getting used to it. We'll be fine, especially with all these positive vibes coming from all over the world. Thank you again.
Last edited by sorcerer; 03-20-2011 at 12:46 PM.
Thank you Olympia for your deep concerns for us. The damages are terrible in the north-east of Japan of course, and the Fukushima power station still has problems, but the other areas are quite normally functioning. It's raining today here in Tokyo but it's been announced to have no harm. We still have to stay alert about what's going on in the Fukushima station, but I don't think that many people in Tokyo are worrying about radiation at this point. Please pray for those in the damaged areas and in Fukushima, but no need to worry much about other areas. Btw, Saitama Super Arena statium where Japan Open is held every year has been opened to people who have no where to go. The stadium is very large, even much larger than Yoyogi Stadium, so many families who were fortunate enough to evacuate from Fukushima are staying there too. There are many people helping out those who are in need, and we are doing whatever is possible right now. It will take a long time for us to overcome this disaster, but though slowly we are starting to head towards the end of all this. Please tell your friends in other sites that things are calming down.
sorcerer, thank you for sharing your views on Ito's comments. I do agree that he was mostly just 'talking' for himself, and not making any official statements on behalf of JSF. And yes, maybe he was aiming for the sponsers to hear what he said. But I personally think he does want to have Worlds in Japan if possible. He must've worked hard preparing for the compeition in his position, so I can imagine how he must feel, and also do think he has the right to feel so. But he shouldn't have said it out loud. His words have already made fans in Japan quite upset, and most people cannot help thinking that his words are the words of JSF, whether that's right or wrong.
I did hesitate at first whether to post his words here or not. It's not my intention to make JSF look bad, and all I basically wanted to do was to let people know overseas that most Japanese fans are against the October idea, and are only wishing what's best for the skaters, Japanese or not. But as the foreign media seems to be focusing mostly on ISU, and they seem not to be reporting much about what JSF wants or thinks about this situation, I thought it would only be fair to let people overseas know about what members of JSF has been saying to the press in Japan. Even though it was ISU which proposed holding Worlds several months later in Japan, and not JSF, JSF had reported to ISU in the very beginning of all this that Yoyogi stadium isn't damaged and Tokyo is calm and safe enough to have Worlds as planned. It was far too early for them to report Tokyo was safe at that point, and problems in the Fukushima nuclear station has surely proven that afterwards. Fortunately Tokyo has not been exposed to crucial amounts of radiation so far, and I'm guessing that wouldn't happen later on either. However, if this nuclear power station incident had happened in some other country, and Worlds was supposed to be held in a city within 230km from the station, I wouldn't want our skaters to go there for Worlds even if the country's govenment assured us it was safe. JSF had not checked thoroughly about some of the dangers which Tokyo still might be in, and I'm sure they did not consult any earthquake researchers on how long the after-shakes may continue before notifying Tokyo was safe to ISU. That was the first and worst mistake they've made on the issues on Worlds. That first move of theirs shocked alot of fans in and out of Japan. So even if they are not against some other country to host Worlds right now, they would have to work quite hard in making that believable IMO. Ito speaking out like that was surely foolish when you think about that. Most fans are annoyed and flabbergasted at his words, unfortunately I think not many are willing to read between the lines of his words like you. But I do think your insights do have a point, and hope that JSF will not make any official statements similar to what Ito said. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.
ETA:Seems JSF has officially declined hosting Worlds 2011! Now let's hope ISU would be willing to have it in some other country before October! http://www.isu.org/vsite/vcontent/co...s-item,00.html
Last edited by Pochi@Shinku; 03-21-2011 at 04:50 AM.
sorcerer, I just wanted to tell you that I have mailed Chairman Hashimoto thanking her for the decision JSF has made, and also apologized to her for being a bit harsh in my previous mail to her asking to let other countries have Worlds this season. I also mentioned that I had not considered how much the staff who had been preparing Worlds in Tokyo must've been disappointed on how things turned out, and that I think I should've cared for their feeling more when I wrote my mail, and also asked others to mail JSF about how they feel.
I've thought it over and now can clearly see that it wasn't only the people in the damaged areas who have lost everything in seconds, due to the earthquake and tsunami. All the people who had participated in preparing Tokyo Worlds had lost something that meant alot to them too. Fans can never be certain of what's going on inside JSF, so although many have posted their suspicions that JSF wants Worlds no matter what because of their relations with the sponsers assuming it's all about money, we have no proof of that so I think it isn't right to spread rumors as such. I will try at least to make members in my forum understand that, so that no further criticisms are pointed towards JSF. Some of our members have already started mailing JSF to thank them for their decisions as I have, and hope others will follow.
I want to thank you for all your posts here, since if it weren't for them I don't think I'd ever would've stopped to think about all this. All Japanese fans have been able to enjoy FS because of JSF until now, and that certainly won't be changing in the future. Many fans have always been against almost everything JSF does over the past few years, I did think it had been going too far, but this time I allowed myself to react in the same way as them. I hope that fans will be able to acknowledge the simple fact that JSF cares and loves the sport as much as we do. They may not be capable of doing everything correctly, and fans should let their voices be heard to them in such cases of course, but I hope more fans would be willing to do that on the basic understanding that JSF is not our enemy. FS fans including me care so deeply for the skaters, that we tend to think we have to fight for them when something unfair is about to happen to them. But I think and hope that Japanese fans should keep in mind that JSF must care for the skaters too.