This month, we chose a sports-related article from the Japan Times, “For Japan, the WBC isn’t just meaningful-it’s everything”. We applied an epoch-making hybrid format of face-to-face discussion and IT communication, and me and MC asked each member who is still basking in the aftermath of the victory to share their thoughts and feelings about the dramatic win for Samurai Japan in WBC.
An Overview of the Reasons for WBC Japan’s Victory.
Personality and leadership of Hideki Kuriyama-Manager of Team Samurai Japan
1-1. Setting goals
He clearly said that his goal is to “regain No. 1 position in the world,” and one of his criterions is whether the members of the team feel romanticism and excitement.
Shohei Ohtani also talks about this with the team members.
“If you admire them, you can’t surpass them. We came here to surpass them — to reach the top. For one day, let’s throw away our admiration for them and just think about winning.”
1-2. Communication with players
Normally, when it comes to the All-Japan manager, communication with the players is left to the coaches. He has personally collected information on the players to find the right person for the job, communicating roles and expectations to the players, and made efforts to improve the quality of the relationship.
1-3. Making the most of the players
This is the essence of a director and leadership that maximizes productivity through the brilliance of the players.
It is clear that more productive performance of players who work under the manager and coaches comes from what they want to do on their own initiative.
1-4. Trust in players
While many people suggested that Murakami should be replaced, the manager consistently did not change his choice. If Murakami had been eliminated with a dull outing, the manager would have received a lot of flak from the world. But he did not change his mind. “I wanted to show the world that Murakami is one of Japan’s best hitters.” He commented only that.
1-5. Unprecedented tactics
In the past, Samurai Japan had used small base ball tactics for example, with bunt tactics, which is a more precise tactic when it comes to the international arena. On the other, this time, Manager Kuriyama basically let the batters hit the ball. Although there were many strikeouts, number of hits and runs scored was good enough to win the tournament.
The manager said, “I owe the victory entirely to the players and everyone involved, and I did nothing myself.”
He showed the joy and value of dedication for which the ability to perform in a way that enhances oneself and helps others.
1-7. Player development
This time, the manager has called up more prospective stars who are still young professionals than experienced players with a proven track record. They are expected to become major players in the 6th tournament.
In the finals this time, seven pitchers were used, but instead of continuing to use pitchers who were in good form, we trusted each pitcher and brought them in for one inning at a time, and the players met to that expectation.
Many of these players repeatedly said “fun” throughout the tournament and learned the appeal of a new kind of baseball under their manager.
２.WBCが盛り上がった理由. Reasons Why the WBC was so exciting.
村上宗隆(23才), 佐々木朗希(22才), 高橋宏斗、宮城大弥、戸郷翔征 など。
Unprecedented rise of young star players, many of whom participated and played
an active role in the tournament. Typical examples are Munetaka Murakami (age 23), Akinori Sasaki (age 22), Hiroto Takahashi, Daiya Miyagi, Shoyuki Togo, etc.
2-2.MLBの対応の変化.Change in MLB response.
The WBC is organized by MLB and the MLB Players’ Association, which used to be hesitant to allow top-notch players to participate because of concerns about injuries and breakdowns. This time, many star players were able to participate, and matches such as the one between Ohtani and Trout were realized.
Samurai Japan won the tournament, and even people who had never been interested in baseball before became interested in this sport, saying that they had never ever seen such a strong Japanese national team.
2-4.WBCをメディアが大きくとりあげ、侍ジャパンの選手たちのキャラクターが面白く伝えられた。The WBC was widely covered by the media, and the personalities of the Samurai Japan members were conveyed in an exciting way.
The players sent information to their fans on SNS by themselves. They communicated with them.
Growing support for Manager Kuriyama．
His attitude of always protecting the players and thanking the fans, and his stance to put aside “I” and work behind the scenes in a player-first manner, were well-received.
３．大谷選手についてのコメント. Comment as to Ohtani.
3-1.Academics, arts and sports bring us peace and courage to people.
3-2.Both baseball pitcher-Shohei Ohtani and baseball batter- Shohei Ohtani have brought us with unprecedented glory and positive impact globally.
3-3.Thus, Shohei Ohtani’s fascinating impact is growing and enveloping fans in not only Pan-American and European continents but also whole Asian continents and Oceania.
3-4.Whilst, his loveable messages and behavior as well as greatness of dual wielding deserve peace diplomacy beyond borders and racial differences.
3-5.Another thing worth mentioning is that he always gives joy and hope to children and us- the adult fans all over the world beyond generations.
4. その他面白いプレイの話題.Other play topics of interest.
4-1. M. Murakami, who had struggled in the tournament before hitting a game-winning double against Mexico in the semifinals, hit a solo homer in the bottom of the second inning against the United States.
・Yu Darvish of San Diego Padres, the oldest player in the Samurai Japan, took the initiative on team-building and team-bonding, especially with the young pitchers.
4-2. Lars Nootbaar’s Mother
Team had an extra-nice enlisted player from the USA: Saint Louis
Cardinals outfielder – Lars Nootbaar was a nice player to fit in the other members of
the team, like by a unique pepper mill gesture shown to share the joy for the nice
plays, courageous performances. He helped tense Japanese members relax
for entering games under the international atmosphere. He really served as one of
key functions for the winning team, His Japanese mother added the friendly
atmosphere throughout the WBC tournament and it was fun for Japanese fans to
cheer the Japan team, together with her in the stands.
4-3.Mizuhara-san played an important role behind the scenes:
Last but not least, Japan team had an interpreter Ippei Mizuhara-san, not just for Ohtani. One was his great help rendered to Nootbaar to quickly fit in with other
members of the team and get quickly involved in the games right from the start.
The other was a big role needed for Japan team to communicate, in a timely manner, with umpires on many sorts of play scenes in the field. Therefore, he should be truly appreciated for his contribution made, behind the various scenes, toward the team victory.
5.スポーツと政治．Sports and Politics
Although it is said that sports shouldn’t get involved in politics, I feel sports can bring peace and spiritual stability among people and even eliminate wars or at least defuse international tensions. Russia and China are member nations of World Baseball Classic Inc. who unlike the United Nations, have fortunately or unfortunately no veto of power in the eligibility for participation. What do you
These days, I sometimes sigh at the “failure/unsuccessful” Japanese crowd, which is the exact opposite of the shining WBC.
What is the reason for this? What is it caused by ?
What is the difference between Team Samurai Japan and, say, Team Kasumigaseki (politics, government, Bank of Japan)?
As much as Samurai Japan shined, Japan’s darkness stands out.
When Japan lost the war, MacArthur said, “Japan has fallen to a fourth class country. However, the former 4th class country won a great victory over the 1st class country’s national sport. In this, I would like to grasp a hint of a new start.
６．栗山WBC優勝監督に影響を与えた京セラの稲盛和夫氏の経営管理についてリーダーの役割10か条。 10 articles on the role of a leader regarding business management by Kazuo Inamori of Kyocera Corporation, who influenced Kuriyama, the WBC winning manager.
１．Objective and significance of the WBC be clearly stated and shown to the members
2. Objective be practical and concrete and be planned involving members
3. Strong and ardent desire be hold in mind
4. Never lose to anyone in making efforts
5. Hold strong self-will
6. Have fine character and personality
7. Never give up no matter how difficult circumstances you encounter
8. Contact your members always with affection
9. Continue to motivate members
10. Be always creative in any circumstances