Ryuju Hino

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Ooh, so they actually have the 'omakase shimasu' etiquette in retiring as well? As in, it's 'impolite' to retire before your friends?
It actually makes me sad, this tweet, because it sounds like Ryuju actually wanted to stay around longer, but couldn't, for health reasons.
I hope he can rest his body after March. And maybe finally be able to eat big hearty meals? 🥘🍱🍚🍨🍩 And of course, we have to insert this one since this is Ryuju we are talking about:🧋I wonder if he still loves ice tea, lol.
I hope I am not doing an omakase now, Rainbow, but I asked for Ryuju GS media folder? :)
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
In the past a few interviews Ryuju and Keiji spoke of their mutual support. They encouraged each other to keep competing for years after most of the skaters their age are gone. Ryuju is feeling bad for sort of leaving Keiji behind, but the tone of his message is light-hearted, and it is not an expression of painful regret.

To put things in context, the Japanese expression お先に失礼します which means "I'd hate to leave you here, but I'm going now." is often used as a courtesy when one leaves/goes home before others. This is yet another Japanese phrase that loses its meaning if you try to translate it literally. A correct literal translation would be “excuse me for leaving before you,” and from the Japanese culture’s perspective, it shows your caring and recognition for the work others are still doing.
 

KiraraChin

Medalist
Joined
May 5, 2018
Thank you, rRainbow, for your translation and explanation! Now I understand why this post attracted attention, what a lovely and touching message for Keiji. Google Translate really didn't do it justice.

You know, I always thought Ryuju seemed like a nice guy, but seeing how much everyone loves him, and how much love he gives in return, I now think he is beyond nice, he is really special 😭
 

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
The online talkshow of Ryuju and Taichi Honda took place today. Kohei Yoshino was a guest - I think he's a choreographer who did some of Ryuju's programs? He tweeted some images from it, and I think he said he was moved by the messages of other skaters?

Anyhow, the blogger Shenlong has made this lovely video of Sota and Ryuju's long friendship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IK_L6Kw6wlA What a sweet tribute ^ ^ And I like the JPop songs she used after the program music; does anyone know them?

Edited to add: cute video of Japan JuniorNats(?) from 2006: https://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm19776482 11-old Ryuju was quite the prodigy! :giggle: They praise his spins a lot.
 
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surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Today is Ryuju's birthday, he turns 26. Happy birthday! 🍾 💐

Ryuju's media folder on GS now features several videos of him as a kid, so I have selected one of good quality to celebrate his skating journey (as you guys know, he is retiring next month, so fingers crossed for his last competition). Here it is, for those who haven't seen the previous one: https://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm19776482 (Ryuju at the age of 11, at Japanese junior Nats). Aww

Also, I have decided to share this comparison today: Ryuju's sailor dance SP from JGPF 2011- https://youtu.be/7LeNU6GoJn4 , and the same program at 2021 Kokutai (probably a nod to his Russian family?) - https://youtu.be/wuM86VbV_yU You can see how far he he has gone in terms of spins, steps, sharpness and overall expression. :points:I think he can be very satisfied with his last competitive season.
If he's revisiting old programs, I hope he can revisit La Boheme for the Aichi competition, I loved that program... or stick to Truman, which is working so well for him. :giggle:
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Number Web article on retiring skaters: (Feb. 21, 2021) https://number.bunshun.jp/articles/-/847061

Ryuju Hino is Among the Retiring Skaters

Ryuju Hino (26) who has charmed many fans is one of the skaters who have decided to retire after this season. This is his last national level competition, and after the Nationals he changed his SP to “Russian Sailor’s Dance” which he used in 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.

“It is my favorite program that Kenji Miyamoto sensei choreographed for me for the first time when I was in my first and second year of high school. Thanks to him who included various moves in this program, I became a more versatile performer. That’s why I had very much wanted to do this program one more time before I retire.

He executed 3Ltz beautifully. He placed 6th with 61.18 points. When Hino appeared for an interview, he was more concerned about his kohai (younger) team matte of Aichi prefecture team, rather than looking back on his performance. That skater was Sota Yamanoto (21).

After overcoming injuries and three surgeries, Yamamoto is aiming for the Beijing Olympics. This season, despite winning Western sectionals showing his strength, he finished 9th at the Nationals. Yamamoto contacted Hino.


Hino Shared Yamamoto’s Emotional Turmoil with Him

Hino said, “Sota is strong-willed, so I rarely give him advice. But unusually for him, he sent me a message “Please give me advice if you have something you want to tell me.” We talked a lot and Sota started to think of replacing the current FS with the old program. I said ‘At this time, It’s a good idea,’ and I sort of encouraged him.”

Hino himself had decided to change his short program. When you remember the spirit that you started with and want to reaffirm your passion for skating, the past program gives you courage to reconnect with your old self at that time.

Hino was sharing Yamamoto’s emotional turmoil with him and gazing at Yamamoto’s performance. However, Yamamoto performed his SP still feeling lost, and failed all his jumps and received zero points for some of his spins. He took 18th with 43.38 points.

Yamamoto said, “I was so worried that it was my first time having the urge to stop skating in the middle of performance. Since the NHK Trophy, little by little I have become aware that I was trailing behind other skaters. After the Nationals was over, I came face to face with myself, and realized that I had fallen to such a low level. To be honest, I’ve started to wonder whether I can continue my athletic career.”

-- to be continued
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Mostly repost from Sota thread:
-- Continued from the last post

Stunned by defeat, Yamamoto spoke his mind. But he squeezed out every last bit of his mental strength and talked about how things went on.

Hino initiated a conversation

Yamamoto said, “Hino-kun has been my senpai (senior) since I moved to Nagoya in my first year of middle school. When I was going through a hard time after injuries he invited me to eat out. He has been very nice to me. Since this Kokutai was his final one as he retires, in order not to drag him down, I would like to hang in there in the FS tomorrow.

On that night, the SP was over after 9pm and it was late at night, but Hino spoke to Yamamoto. Yamamoto recalled that night.

“It was at a late hour, but Hino-kun was kind enough to go out with me to buy late night snacks and to eat with me. If he had not been there for me, I might have been depressed alone in my room. He gave me lots of encouraging words, and he kindly made small talk with me on various things as well.


“A few years from now, it will become a beautiful memory.”

Hino said, “Sota apologized to me for the SP placement, but I said to him ‘No matter how you will skate, after all, a few years down the road it will turn into a beautiful memory for you, so do what you want to do. Don’t be concerned about me just because it’s my last Kokutai’.”

The following day FS was on. Yamamoto’s skating order was 7th and he changed his FS to last season’s “In this Shirt.” He landed 3A and his usual noble and beautiful skating fascinated the attendees. His performance seemed to show that he was holding out hope. He hugged Hino who had been watching him at rinkside, and the two sat at K&C. He bounced back and took 2nd in the FS with 127.10 points. He spoke in a steady voice.

“Yesterday I was filled with anxiety and I felt like stopping performance, but Hino-san and many people gave me words of support. Usually I fight alone, but I was able to skate today’s FS feeling lots of power given to me. After Hino senpai follows a different career path, I would like to follow in his footsteps and somehow positively influence my kohais as their senpai at Chukyo University.”

(Note: following part is about Ryuju)

The Music Stephane Lambiel Used in the Past

Hino skated 19th. This time Yamamoto cheered for him at the rinkside. Hino’s FS music was “The Truman Show” soundtrack. It was the music Stephane Lambiele had skated to before and Hino had wanted to use it for a long time. Although he fell on a quad, he landed the 3A. He poured his heart into the step sequence and he became one with the music. Earning 124.52 points he finished 3rd overall.

Hino said, “After my performance, everyone gave me a standing ovation, and I realized that it was how retirement felt like. I was torn between the wish to let the next skater get ready soon and feeling ‘I’m sorry, but please let me relish this moment a bit longer’.”

--The end--
 

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Thank you so much! The friendship between Sota and Ryuju is really heartwarming ^ ^ I'm glad Sota asked Ryuju for advice and received words of wisdom from him.
It's so interesting to read how Ryuju views skating differently now that he's resolved to retire, too. You can see he's a bit detached, but it's refreshing because you also see he's unfazed by his mistakes, and just does his thing throughout the performance. You feel at peace just watching him ^ ^ Whereas watching his kouhai... makes you want to bite your fingernails in anxiety, because Sota just cares too much.
Anyhow, it seems Ryuju is quite popular these days - according to his Twitter, there's yet another talkshow he's scheduled to participate in, this time with retiring skaters and Keiji :) With him job-hunting and preparing for Aichi, he's one busy guy!
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Ryuju's last competition is coming up this month. Here's the details of Aichi Prefecture Governor's Award Competition.
3/24/21 17:00-23:00 Official Practice
3/25/21 10:00-21:00 Official Practice & Competition
3/26/21 09:00-21:00 Official Practice, Competition & Medal Ceremony
3/27/21 07:00-22:00 Official Practice, Competition & Medal Ceremony
3/28/21 07:00-20:00 Official Practice, Competition, Medal Ceremony & Retirement Ceremony

Only on the last day, Mar. 28th, the audience is to be allowed. Everyone is the arena is instructed to practice coronavirus safety measures.
Ryuju will end his long skating career in retirement ceremony cheered by the audience. I hope the event will be held as scheduled.
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Online talk-show with Ryuju organized by Yoshimoto Enterprise: https://silkhat.yoshimoto.co.jp/projects/2599#project_info
Other guests: Keiji Tanaka, Taichi Honda, Kosuke Nakamura, Tsunehito Karakawa, Kento Kobayashi & Ryoma Kobayashi
(田中刑事選手、本田太一選手、中野紘輔選手、唐川常人選手、小林建斗選手、小林諒真選手)
Note: Keiji is the only skater who is not retiring or hasn't retired)
When: 2021.3.31(Wed)18:00~19:30 by zoom
Price: 3,500yen (live streaming only, no archive)
 

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Not much news on Ryuju of late, but I found this nice video of all skaters from Kokutai who are retiring this spring: https://youtu.be/RyZ29oX6J4w Ryuju is listed as the first. :) I think his words are the same as what Rainbow has shared here from his post-Kokutai interview.

And can anyone tell me what this is? https://twitter.com/nagoyaTVsports/status/1369592487950512134 Looks like Nagoya TV is preparing a video about Ryuju to be broadcast when he retires? So sweet of them, I hope I'll be able to watch. The photos look quite recent, and I'm happy to see Ryuju looks much more refreshed than at Kokutai. ^ ^ It's obvious he keeps training at both Howa (these photos) and Chukyo (recent twitter photo of him with Sota, Tatsuya and I think Miyabi). I wonder if the backstage photos show a part of Ryuju's part-time job. I think he worke(-s? -ed?) at Howa...
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Quadruple Axel 2021 (3/13/21) features an interview with Ryuju. This interview was done in January, 2021. The magazine is sold by:
Amazon USA (Kindle edition)
Amazon Japan
Translation of excerpt from the interview:

Irreplaceable Days
Together with Yuzuru Hanyu and Keiji Tanaka, Ryuju Hino has been getting people’s attention since novice days.
He participated in the Japanese National Championships for 12 years in a row.
For many years fans have loved his elegant and beautiful skate and his sincere personality.
He will retire after this season to start a new career. He calmly reflects on his skating life.

--This season started with the coronavirus pandemic and at the Nationals you decided to retire. It has been a special season for Hino senshu. You must have lots of thoughts at various points of time. Could you reflect on your season?
R: Since the Iizuka Cup and Howa Cup which I had always participated in the past were cancelled, my season started from the Regionals, and I felt like the Nationals came up quickly. There were only small number of competitions, but I was blessed with the opportunity to participate in the Japan Open, and I think the pressure I felt was greater this season. It was a fulfilling season packed with meaningful events.
---You announced your retirement during the Nationals, but may I ask how you made up your mind during the time period from the official practice and the free program?
R: As the level at the Nationals has been going up more and more, I vaguely sensed danger that "I may be cut after the short." But after the short program, when I saw the score and I was convinced that I was somehow moving forward to the free, I suddenly made up my mind. Until then, I had a vague idea that this would be my last season, but I finally made the decision. So, when I got out of Kiss & Cry, I told Naruse (Yoriko) sensei and Kawaume (Miho) sensei that "Tomorrow will be my last Nationals."
--So it was at the Kiss & Cry that you made a decision,
R: As a skater who has entered the Nationals for 12 years, I felt strongly that I should not perform poorly and get eliminated after the short. After I felt relieved, I asked myself if I could compete next year feeling such pressure during the short, and my answer was “No, it’s so hard.” Rather than wanting to quit, I felt like “I should end this right here.”
--What did your sensei tell you in response to your decision?
R: They said, “Why don’t you think it over again after the free for now?” I think it was so sudden that they couldn’t digest the thought right away.

-- to be continued
 
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rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Continued from the previous post:

--As skaters your age have retired one by one, various thoughts must have run through your mind over the past few seasons. In Hino senshu’s mind, what made you finally decide to retire?
R: I think Koshin (Yamada)-kun’s retirement after this season had a big impact on me. Apart from that, this season's programs were so great that I felt like there are no better shorts or frees to skate in my last season. Also, I was able to participate in the Japan Open, and this season’s Kokutai was to take place in Aichi Prefecture. I think there were more and more reasons to quit, and before I knew it, I found myself looking for reasons to hang up my boots.
--When did Tanaka senshu know about your retirement?
R: It looks like in an interview after his free performance, he was asked, “How do you feel about Hino senshu who is your age retiring?" I heard Keiji said, "I'll do my best for those my age," so I will support him with all I've got.
--What did Tanaka senshu say to you after that?
R: He didn't say anything directly to me, but when I was at Kokutai, I received a signature card with messages from all skaters of the same age group. Keiji's message was written there, and it was a touching message which started with "No way! I didn’t expect you to retire before me ....."
--- When you read the written message, it touches your heart even more, doesn’t it? After all, how much does Tanaka senshu mean to you?
R: Since I was little, everyone hated to be a loser and wanted to beat others and we were competing alongside. At Chukyo University when it was the National Training Center, we used to encourage each other by saying, "How are you doing lately?", "Next season we’d better do well," and so on. We are like war buddies who respect each other while wanting to win, and he is such an important person to me that even just the thought of “if it weren’t for him, what would I do” freaks me out. I'm really grateful to him. He is a lifelong friend who I want to see no matter how old we get.
--Speaking of skaters of your age, isn’t the presence of Yuzuru Hanyu also invaluable in your life?
R: He is also special to me. Even when I was not doing well or I couldn’t keep up motivation, he has always motivated me to do my best because I knew he was practicing at around the same time and he was improving. Kohei (Yoshino) said the same thing, so I think for skaters of our age, Yuzu is an epitome of hard work and efforts. It's a pity that I couldn't go to the place where Yuzu is, but I'm filled with gratitude and want to tell him, "Thank you for giving me a reason to improve myself."
--- I remember the 2016 NHK Cup with Hanyu senshu, Tanaka senshu, and Hino senshu.
R: I was happy that all three of us were able to participate in the international competition in the same category, and I was spending the whole time there thinking I would never forget that experience the rest of my life. More than anything, Yuzu looked really happy and that was what made me happiest.

-- to be cont'd
 

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Thank you so much! 💐 It seems Ryuju was thoroughly relieved when he made the big decision. And his last competition is only a week away now! wow... I'm happy for him, but at the same time - it's the last not-even-14-days of his career. As a fan I'm so melancholic 😿
The coaches must have been sad too, when he told them. They must have seen the writing on the wall for a while. But the Howa lady coaches seem to deeply care about their students, so I wouldn't be surprised if they felt sad after learning of Ryuju's decision; he's been with them for so long. One correction, Naruse sensei's first name is Yoriko :)
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Part 3 of the translation:

--Did you reminisce about old times the three of you spent together since you were Novice?
R: Yes. In fact, there was a message from Yuzu on the message card that I talked about earlier. He wrote something like "Time has passed, but I don’t think our roots have changed at all since then." When I read it, I thought, "It's been a long time, but some things have stayed the same, and that’s why I've been able to do my best so far." Even at the Nationals, I rarely had the chance to talk with Yuzu in person, but before the free I got to meet him for a moment, and at that time, like in the past, he said to me, "Morning!” and I was happy to hear that. I said to myself, "In the free, I am gonna give it my best shot!"
--Hino senshu has also been a dependable big brother for junior skaters. In interviews with other skaters, Hino senshu's name was often mentioned, and I think you are a person who earned the trust of everyone.
R: People often call me a big brother, but I’m just doing what my seniors did for me when I was little. Those seniors scolded me and cared about me, so I'm just imitating what they did. I mean, I admire them and I’m following their examples.
--- At the Kokutai the other day, the Kiss & Cry with Sota Yamamoto was memorable. What did you tell Yamamoto senshu to support him at that time?
Ri: After the short, I just said something like, "Okay, let’s finish tomorrow without injury" I couldn't bring myself to say "At this Kokurai I'll give it my best shot," to Sota who had been fighting with his full strength till the Nationals.
--I saw Yamamoto senshu, after finishing his free, fell into Hino senshu’s arms. Seeing usually calm Yamamoto senshu revealing his emotions, I felt the trusting relationship between the two again.
R: Actually, after the Nationals, Sota said, "I want you to tell me how you think I'm doing now. If you notice anything, please tell me," and I was worried that he felt lost. Perhaps Sota went to Kokutai without sorting things out. So I was watching his SP, sensing his struggles, and I was just watching him skate his FS. Sota is a man who has his own opinion and belief, so when he came to me after FS like that, I was a little surprised, but I guess he was overwhelmed by emotions.

-- to be cont'd
 

rRainbow

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Country
Japan
Part 4:

--I see it's a relationship of trust because both of you spent a lot of time together on the same team. I would like to look back on Hino senshu's own competitive career, but could you share your thoughts after announcing your retirement?
R: There are times that I wonder, "What did I gain from this competitive skating life ....," but I have no regrets like, "I wish I had done that." There were many moments of fun. I have some regrets that I couldn't win, but I have a longer life ahead of me, so I want to use that to motivate myself to achieve success in my new life.
---You have participated in many competitions since you were a Novice, but can you tell us what you think is your best performance?
R: Hmm. (Thinking a little) I would say the music is "Robin Hood" (2012~13 & 2013~14 FS), and I skated to it well around West Jr. Japan, the Jr. Nationals, and the Nationals. I feel awkward though, because I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging.
--Then, what is your favorite program?
R: (Thinking a little) The short is "Symphony No. 3 with organ" (2019~20 & 2020-21), and the free is " Quidam" (2016-17 & 2017-18). I’d prefer to choose from four and a half minutes programs, so my choice is "Quidam." It's a program that is packed with everything I want to do for the first time.
--Please tell us what you think was the best thing about figure skating, and what are good experiences in your skating life?
R: When I was against a wall or trying to figure out how to overcome the obstacle, many times I experienced the moment when something like adrenaline or energy was created out of nowhere. I think I’ve learned through my figure skating experience that I would be able to break through the barriers in my life. Also, I'm happy to have made friends all over the country.
--On the other side of the coin, what did you find most difficult and challenging about figure skating?
R: Since this is a sport judged by a third party, many times you do not get the result you expected no matter how much you tried. Despite the beauty of figure skating in appearance, in a sense, it may be a sport that requires something like a rebellious spirit most. Just because your best effort does not pay off fully, you should not feel let down. I think the higher your level gets, the more you need to have that kind of mental strength.

-- to be cont'd to the last part
 
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