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Thread: Question about Japan and their skaters

  1. #1
    Custom Title Minze2001's Avatar
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    Question about Japan and their skaters

    I know skating is very important in Japan. And they love their skaters. My question is, having so many elite skaters why did the Japanese decide that Mao Asada was their sweethheart over skaters like Miki and Akiko. I am a huge Mao fan, but the Japanese media give her too much preference. I was watching a program after Nationals and they spend half of the time talking about Mao.


    If I was Miki or Akiko I will feel bad

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    Custom Title FSGMT's Avatar
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    Maybe because she is a two-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist? But I agree that Miki or Akiko should receive more attention, they are woderful skaters, too: especially Miki: in those early years when Mao was landing 3-3-3 and 3A like nothing, Miki was landing QUADS and her results have been a lot better for a lot of time, Mao clearly surpassed her just in the two pre-Olympic seasons, but, yes, in Japan they give too much importance to Mao when, frankly talking, a lot of skaters are (or have been) almost at her level...

  3. #3
    More or less: more is more sequinsgalore's Avatar
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    My own educated guess:

    - She was the young ingenue who had landed triple axels since age 12
    - Has landed triple flip-triple loops (the Japanese like the big combos)
    - Dominated the junior ranks
    - Flexibility in spins and spirals
    - Floating skating skills
    - Elegant performer w/ (usually) nice choreography
    - Titles (she trumps both Ando and Suzuki)

    Ando was also a young ingenue who landed quad salchows in her youth, but her spins weren't great and her performance skills lacking.

    Suzuki was a late bloomer, and I guess the media is always looking for the "next" thing. Her spins aren't great either, and she hasn't landed the big combos that awe.

    Mao Asada's qualities are what the majority usually look for in a ladies skater: feminity, flexibility and grace. Ando and Suzuki don't have these (as much), but you could say they make up for it in other areas.

    Asada just has that IT-quality... it's hard to put your finger on it.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 01-05-2013 at 01:57 PM. Reason: no signature files allowed

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    Custom Title Minze2001's Avatar
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    I agree with in everything you said. I am a big Mao fan and she does have the it factor. And she deserves to be Japan's sweetheart. But the special I was watching after Janpan's nationals was so telling, they spent most of the time interwing and talking to Mao and they only spent 5 minutes on the silver and bronze medalists. Before Nationals they kept playing videos about her triple axel practice.


    My question is was the Japanese media so crazy over their other champions?

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    Custom Title mary01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minze2001 View Post
    I agree with in everything you said. I am a big Mao fan and she does have the it factor. And she deserves to be Japan's sweetheart. But the special I was watching after Janpan's nationals was so telling, they spent most of the time interwing and talking to Mao and they only spent 5 minutes on the silver and bronze medalists. Before Nationals they kept playing videos about her triple axel practice.


    My question is was the Japanese media so crazy over their other champions?
    People in japan just seem to have much higher expectations of Mao, which is quite understandable when one looks and compares her record with the each others. I mean all of Miki's and Akiko's titles put together wouldn't even measure up with Mao's accomplishments!

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    Quote Originally Posted by FSGMT View Post
    Maybe because she is a two-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist?
    Mao became the national favorite by the victory at 2005 GPF in Tokyo and her position has never changed since then. Of course, "triple axel is the very important factor. Many ordinary people turned their eyes to figure skating the first time since 1992. If Mao's "biggest weapon" was a 3F-3T (like Kim), it wouldn't be the case. Ando's "quad salchow" and 3Lz-3Lo are more impressive.

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    Custom Title FSGMT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mary01 View Post
    People in japan just seem to have much higher expectations of Mao, which is quite understandable when one looks and compares her record with the each others. I mean all of Miki's and Akiko's titles put together wouldn't even measure up with Mao's accomplishments!
    Yes, Mao is the most important female skater in Japan at the moment, but Miki has won two world titles, one world bronze medal, plus one 4CC gold and one bronze, a silver at the GPF and five GP competitions; Mao has won two world titles, the OSM, two silver medals at worlds, two GPF, two 4CC gold and two 4CC silver, plus one 4CC bronze and eight GP competitions: yes, Mao has had better results (and I'm a big fan of her, too!), but not THAT better, if we watch at the real difference between her and Miki in the importance they have in Japan..

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    Custom Title hurrah's Avatar
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    The Japanese public loves Mao because of her perceived personality. She's quietly mentally tough. And not at all spiteful or hateful. Always trying her best. Persevering. Does all the things that make her a champion with a smile and without causing a furor.

    Miki has been known to show her emotional instability on twitter, for example, and so she appears to be more of a drama queen type to Mao.
    Akiko is a sweet girl but she has not had the success that Mao has had.

    But it's the rare and uncommon combination of unassuming stoicism and sunny sweetness that Mao projects that makes her a star.

    Also, I think Mao has so many outstanding qualities besides her jumps that make her a special skater. Her presence on the ice is breathe-taking. I find myself watching Mao's performances again and again (and Daisuke's as well) but not the other skaters.

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    That's an interesting take, Hurrah. Like everyone who's posted so far, I'm a huge Mao fan, but I understand the question about why Miki or Akiko wouldn't be spotlighted to a greater degree. They're both amazing and accomplished. The problem (and more skating countries should be lucky enough to have this problem!) is that Japan is so rich in skaters that even their third- and fourth-ranked skaters would give almost any other country paroxysms of rapture. (Imagine if Miki were Canadian right now, or--wow--Australian!) Any one of these would be the star in a national program.

    I like the idea of that particular trait of Mao's, being "quietly mentally tough" as you say, being valued as much as her beautiful and exciting skating. It's a trait I value greatly also, and it makes me feel good that I've chosen the right skater to admire. I still love to watch all three of these talented ladies, who have given so much to skating fans everywhere.

  10. #10
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Of course she's a outstanding skater and her records prove that. But for me, it seems a little bit surprising that no one's mentioning her looks. IMO she is definitely prettier than Miki and Akiko (from an asian's view). Media loves making beautiful/ handsome sports icons. If there's a young skater not only beautiful and sweet but also excellent enough to prevail others in skating ability, media is thrilled to support her. Especially when she has a great rival at the same age, no doubt that it's more attractive story for media.
    I'm not saying it's right or wrong but just saying it's a fact. Media - and corporations(advertisers) - likes pretty faces to sell.
    Last edited by sather; 01-05-2013 at 09:46 AM.

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    [QUOTE=hurrah;695678]

    But it's the rare and uncommon combination of unassuming stoicism and sunny sweetness that Mao projects that makes her a star.

    ./QUOTE]



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    I think Miki's reputation in Japan took a hit when she bombed at the Torino Olympics, placing 15th. That was the same season Mao emerged as a major star.

    I think two other factors are: 1) Mao is a greater all-around talent than Miki, plus, Mao has an Olympic medal and 2) There is something just very charming and appealing about Mao--that smile of hers is so engaging--and I think it makes her a natural for commercials and ads.

    Miki is a lovely girl too. As is Akiko. They all deserve to be popular. But somehow it seems like advertisers tend to focus on just one star at a time. Sort of reminiscent of the Yamaguchi/Kerrigan situation in 1992/94--two highly successful skaters from the same country, but Kerrigan wound up getting the lion's share of attention and endorsements.

  13. #13
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Mao has been establishing herself as Japn's sweetheart over MANY years. I guess there's absolutey no way that Japan would let go of the hype around Mao until she retires herself. In the early years of her career there were several sensational events (her beating Slutskaya in GPF, being considered as a favorite for Turin, landing 3 Axels, initiating rivalry with Kim) that placed Mao under the limelight, and combined with her signature image of a sweet-phenom-girl-with-an-absent-minded-smile-who-does-not overanalyze-and-calculate (the kind of type with which the Japanese go mad!), I guess evrything was set to precision to stimulate the fanaticism over this young lady.

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    In addition to her better overall competitive record, Mao presents her programs better and engages more with the audience. You can see her making eye contact with the judges and audience. Miki seems to always be looking down and doesn't take as many risks with different program styles. Akiko has some nice programs now and great presentation but she does not have nearly as impressive results as Mao or Miki.

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    Custom Title mary01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FSGMT View Post
    Yes, Mao is the most important female skater in Japan at the moment, but Miki has won two world titles, one world bronze medal, plus one 4CC gold and one bronze, a silver at the GPF and five GP competitions; Mao has won two world titles, the OSM, two silver medals at worlds, two GPF, two 4CC gold and two 4CC silver, plus one 4CC bronze and eight GP competitions: yes, Mao has had better results (and I'm a big fan of her, too!), but not THAT better, if we watch at the real difference between her and Miki in the importance they have in Japan..
    Please take a better look at the records when you compare! the ONLY thing in common they have is that both Mao and Miki have two World titles!

    before the 2010-2011 season Miki only had one Major title and that was the World title in 2007 which she barely won over Mao.

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