Football (Japan) Lost In Translation . . . Relaunched 2012!
Japan Football: Zaccheroni, Samurai Blue, and general J chatter
2018-11<<12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031>>2019-01 ←Navigate Entries with This Calendar
Weekly Soccer Digest No 780
Well, the internet is chock full of places where you can read plenty of articles and get lots of information; however, once a week (or two) I like to hit the bookstores and stand in front of the magazine racks and browse. In Japan, this is called "tachiyomi" (literally "stand-reading")...and is a big part of traditional Japanese culture....sort of... well, everybody does it!

The two main football magazines that most people go to first especially for J-league content are Weekly Soccer Digest and Weekly Soccer Magazine (lovingly referred to as "SakaDai" and "SakaMaga" for short). There are other magazines that tend to feature better more in-depth interviews (like Sports Yeah!) but they are not 100% football-related so I figured I would start off introducing the football-only magazines first.

This week I bought the Digest. (pic of cover for next issue,featuring FCTokyo's Ishikawa and Konno) The cover of the issue I'm holding now is a full-body shot of Emerson running (Urawa Reds forward). The content was written after the 6th Round (so now that we are almost at the 8th Round it's a bit behind, but...). The first article I thought I'd bring to the blog is an interview with Makoto Hasebe mf for Reds. He is one of the rising stars in the J league right now, and there was a bit of speculation a couple weeks ago when scouts from Italy came to Japan and made a point to attend his games. He is my favorite player in Reds, and since I haven't done any entries about Reds players yet (I think) I thought this was a good interview to use as an intro to Hasebe. The translation I promise will be awkward and amateurish, but hopefully it will get the point across. (good luck, me!)

Interview with Makoto Hasebe (Reds):

Q: First of all, people watch your play from last season and they are basing their great reviews/opinions of your performace as a dmf, not as an omf (which is Hasebe's "true" position). How do you feel about that?
A: The fact that people gave me good marks as a dmf is a good thing. My play options have grown. Considering my career in the long run, this experience won't impact me negatively.

Q: But what if because of it you no longer get to play as an omf/playmaker anymore?
A: There is a difference between the kind of position and responsibilities the coach expects of me and the kind of position that I personally prefer. But it doesn't bother me, I don't mind if people think I've been doing a good job as a dmf.

Q: Don't you ever feel like "I don't want to play any position other than the one I want to play"?
A: That's...yeah, it doesn't go that far. I do have a preference, a special place in my heart for that position, but I'm not stubborn about it.

Q: Have you come to experience some enjoyment from playing as a dmf?
A: Hmm.. I've gotten more comfortable there. I know now what plays work better in which situations. But I've also gotten challenged/tackled pretty harshly from behind a lot now -- when that happens, I'd like to use one-touch passes more; that would make the job more difficult for the opponent.

Q: You have been getting tackled much more now, haven't you?
A: For me, I have the option of dribbling up from my dmf position to the front. For the opponent, it's easier to mark/challenge the dribbler. When that happens, the option of passing becomes available. My main characteristic is passing, so I hope I'm able to take advantage of those situations like that.

Q: In your mind, what do you feel is your most effective play?
A: I guess it's my instinct to utilize open spaces and send passes with a follow-up play in mind.

Q: But many of the Urawa players tend to like getting the passes sent to their feet, not to spaces in front of them.
A: But if it's near the goal, I could send a vertical pass through the defenders and Emerson would definitely run after it. But if it's a little distance from the goal, it's true we like to first get the ball at our feet and then take a long-range shot. Also, in Alex (Santos)'s case he receives the ball at his feet; but recently he's been giving me the option of passing through to his left side on the other side of the defender -- I guess people trust me more and my teammates are making an effort to run to open spaces more.

Q: Urawa's weak point, it could be said, is that if you get scored on first the team starts to panic and the quality of the play goes down.
A: In order to control the game more, I do believe that we midfielders should connect the ball between us more and try to calm things down when that happens.

Q: It's important to embody the kind of football that the coach envisions, but it would also be good to take that up another level and stimulate some growth within the team -- for instance, making more of an effort to increase possession.
A: Our team invariably likes to take it forward as quick as possible -- it's part of the team's agreement. But within that understanding, it would also be nice to add some spice to our plays by throwing in different things. For that we'd need to develop a consciousness for that kind of change in tempo as a group though.

Q: Also, I'm sure you'd like to ultimately take some shots at the goal as well, I'm sure.
A: I'd like to get goals, sure.

Q: You always take the shot with a very specific course for the ball to go.
A: Yes, I usually go for those just-in type shots. Which is why during practices I end up hitting the post most of the time. Or I miss the goal altogether. (laugh)

Q: When did you start taking shots with this type of thinking?
A: Hmm. I'm not sure.

Q: Some players say if they just take a shot with a nice strong kick it tends to go in. But you don't think that way?
A: Maybe it's just my play style. Rather than pure strength, to go for a specific course.

Q: So in that way, you have your wits about you when you take a shot, enough to aim so narrowly like that. Though you do get emotionally charged up.
A: (laugh)

Q: From your comments in the media, the image of Makoto Hasebe is someone who's pretty bold. But in ordinary life you're pretty normal, right?
A: When it comes to games, I just change -- it's been that way since grade school.

Q: You're yelling at everyone..
A: All the time.

Q: Right now you're young on the team and not the captain so you may keep a lower profile, but back when you were in school, you must have been pretty vocal to your teammates, scolding, encourageing.
A: Yes, I wan't shy about opening my mouth...and pretty unsparing about it. Even now I'm still pretty vocal. (laugh)

Q: But it must be great to have a place to get that charged up in life.
A: So true. But to be honest, normally I hardly ever get angry. I guess I burn up all my stress out on the pitch. (laugh)

[photo from]
There are a couple more articles (not interviews) that I wanted to document for this blog, so I'll work on that asap. If anyone reading has any requests about translating a specific article or wanting to get more info on a specific team/player, let me know by leaving a comment. I'll keep my eyes peeled for relevant articles that have enough meat that it would be worth reading.

Comment On This Entry
Post Your Comment
Only Show This Comment to Depflight
The Trackback URL for This Entry
Trackback To This Entry
copyright © 2004-2005 Powered By FC2ブログ allrights reserved
copyright 2005 - football (japan) lost in translation