A video showing a volleyball coach repeatedly slapping a high school student — just days after Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympics — is the latest example of brutality to tarnish Japanese sports.
A short clip posted on YouTube showed the teacher at Hamamatsu Nittai Senior High School in Shizuoka Prefecture smacking the student’s face at least 13 times in 16 seconds. It was authenticated by the school.
The episode was captured on a mobile phone by another student during a practice game in Gifu Prefecture, on Sunday. By lunchtime Wednesday it had garnered nearly 1.5 million viewings.
“Don’t joke around, kid! Do you understand? You’re stupid,” the teacher yells in the video as he repeatedly slaps the child’s face.
According to the school, the teacher has admitted the physical abuse of the second-year student, saying: “I wanted to shake him up, but I went about it the wrong way.”
Second-year high school students are 16 or 17 years old.
Toshitaka Shiozawa, the assistant principal, said the 41-year-old teacher had also beaten another student the same day. He declined to reveal the teacher’s name.
Neither student suffered any lasting injuries in the attacks, Shiozawa said, adding the school was considering punishing the teacher.
Japan banned corporal punishment in schools after World War II, but it remains far from uncommon, particularly in sports education, despite a number of high-profile cases.
In December, a teenager killed himself following repeated physical abuse from his high school basketball coach in Osaka.
Earlier this month, world judo champion Shohei Ono was suspended from his university for physically abusing junior members of the judo squad.
Japan’s judo community was rocked in January when it emerged that the coach of the national women’s team was found to have beaten athletes, sometimes using a bamboo sword, calling his charges “ugly” and telling them to “die” in the runup to the London Olympics.
The new incident comes less than two weeks after Japan won the 2020 Olympic Games, and after the announcement that Japan is to form a sports agency to boost elite athletes’ performance.