If someone asks you who Korea’s opponent is,메이저놀이터 you’ll probably say Japan. Especially when it comes to sports. There’s a strong sense that you can’t lose a “Korea-Japan game” even if you lose every other game, and athletes do indeed prepare for it, sometimes to the point where coaches have to advise them not to get too caught up in it and ruin the game.
However, if you look at the recent sports between the two countries, it’s hard to argue with that. Let’s start with soccer. South Korea’s U-17 national team recently faced Japan in the Asian Cup final and lost 0-3. This is the fifth consecutive loss for South Korea against Japan at all levels of the national team. Even the scores are all 0-3. That’s how close Japan is to being Korea’s nemesis.
The same goes for baseball. South Korea’s baseball team has lost six straight games to Japan, starting with the 2017 Asian Baseball Championship. A 4-13 loss in the group stage of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March was a particularly grim reminder. Japan celebrated with the trophy, while South Korea was embarrassed afterward when players were caught in a drinking controversy.
At the 2023 Women’s Japan Basketball League (WJBL) Summer Camp in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture, Japan, from July 15-17, KB Stars head coach Kim Wansoo and Shinhan Bank head coach Gunadan agreed: “We need to learn from Japan.” They emphasized that Korean players should emulate the attitude of Japanese players. But at the same time, they recognized that such a spirit comes from the soil of society, namely sports infrastructure.
In fact, Japan has a rich women’s basketball infrastructure that cannot be compared to Korea. In one region alone, there are more than 500 high school teams with 30 to 50 players. South Korea, on the other hand, has only 13 high school girls’ teams that participate in weekend leagues. In a head-to-head match between girls’ middle school teams, only five players are allowed to participate, leading to a skit in which the team with the least number of players on the court suffers a forfeit after losing players due to injury or ejection.
It’s hard to imagine a player coming from a place where so many players compete to get to the professional level, and a player coming from a place where there is a shortage of players and the league has to worry about survival. And yet, we’re quick to criticize the mental strength of athletes whenever they’re underperforming. This is the essence of the baseball team’s drinking controversy. Even when it comes to women’s volleyball, which has been in a downward spiral since its main players, such as Kim Yeon-kyung (Heungkuk Life), left the national team, it is not uncommon to hear sarcastic comments about fans who don’t even know volleyball and players who have become celebrities because of their popularity.
I walked around Takasaki at 6 p.m. on the 15th, after the first day of the summer camp. At a playground, three boys were playing volleyball. “Twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two.” Their skin was tanned from the sun as they repeatedly received and tossed the ball while counting. As I watched them play volleyball, smiling in the heat, I realized that it had been a long time since I had seen children playing sports on the streets of South Korea. They told me they were in the sixth grade, and beamed as they shouted “Thank you!” at me as I left.
I wondered where Korean 6th graders were at that time of day. Lack of Exercise Kills Kids