The April 11 report in Josei Jishin that Yakult’s Munetaka Murakami (23), the No. 4 player in the Samurai Japan team, and women’s golf player Erika Hara (24) were romantically involved still attracts the interest of many fans. According to the article, the two began keeping in touch through an acquaintance and enjoyed a private date at a karaoke bar in Tokyo’s Minato Ward last October.
Murakami mentioned the news report on the same day, saying, “He is one of my good friends,” and then added, “The karaoke, too, is not all true…It says they went alone, but they went together including their friends,” which led to the majority opinion on the Internet that they were probably not dating. I think it is significant that Murakami immediately responded sincerely and denied it, and that there are no photos or other evidence. Both are extremely busy athletes, so even if they were still dating, it would be difficult to capture the decisive moment in the future.
There are many couples who are athletes in the same sport, but when it comes to top athletes in different sports, it is not only difficult for them to make time in their schedules for each other, but also the opportunities to meet are limited. We would like to introduce a couple of such rare cases of couples in different sports (all ages and affiliations are as of the time of this report).
Ryoko Tani (judo) and Takanobu Jumonji (cycling) (August 16, 1996 issue)
Ryoko Tamura missed the gold medal in the final of the Atlanta Olympics, which she was sure to win. She was saved from her disappointment by Takanobu Jumonji, a bicycle racer who won the bronze medal in the 1000m time trial. The day after the final, Yawara and Jumonji went to an upscale shopping center and bought gold earrings instead of medals. Holding hands, gazing at each other, and walking shoulder to shoulder, they were lovers themselves.
Ai Fukuhara (table tennis) and Kei Nishikori (tennis) (December 5, ’08 issue)
The two were spotted on Takeshita Street in Harajuku. They were enjoying a youthful date, stopping at a NIKE store and shopping at a toy store. When they stopped at a cafe, Fukuhara looked up lovingly at Nishikori’s profile and leaned into him, and when they shared a passionate kiss at Harajuku station, I was thrilled, but then they went back to the National Training Center, where designated players sleep.
Yu Darvish (baseball) and Miho Koga (golf) (February 4, ’11 issue)
Yu Darvish, the Nippon Ham ace who is currently in divorce settlement with Saeko, was boldly accompanied by Miho Koga, “the original beautiful golfer,” to a voluntary training session in Miyazaki. The two were rumored by some to be dating, as they body-touched each other without regard for the public eye, but Dar denied the rumors completely on Twitter. However, what this magazine saw in Miyazaki was Koga crouching at Dal’s feet and tying her untied shoelaces, or the two of them spending day and night together in the condominium where they were staying.
Reiko Ushioda (badminton) and Tatsuya Masushima (soccer) (June 22, ’12 issue)
The “OGUSIO” were one of the most beautiful pairs in the badminton world. The duo dissolved after the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and Kumiko Ogura retired from the scene in 2010, but Reiko Ushioda continued to play with the aim of winning her first medal. Her new partner was Tatsuya Masushima of Kashiwa Reysol. After a walk, a drive, a dinner, and a breathtaking display of chemistry, they joined forces on her 29th birthday.
Rie Tanaka (gymnastics) with Hayato Sakamoto (baseball) (May 15, ’14 issue)
The sports media was abuzz with selfies of gymnastics fairy Rie Tanaka and the young star of the Giants, Hayato Sakamoto. The timing of the photo is said to coincide with the time when Sakamoto, who used to play flamboyantly in Ginza and Roppongi, started coming home straight from work. Expectations were high for the birth of a big couple, but… Tanaka got married to a regular guy in 2005.
Seiya Suzuki (baseball) and Airi Hatakeyama (rhythmic gymnastics) (August 23 and 30, ’19 issue)
Seiya Suzuki, the No. 4 player for the Hiroshima Carp, and Airi Hatakeyama, a former representative of Japan’s rhythmic gymnastics team. Even though he was tired after a series of summer games, he rushed to her after the game by cab and stayed with her until morning. Immediately after this magazine’s report, Suzuki proudly declared their relationship. They became a married couple in the off-season.
Kaho Sakaguchi (beach volleyball) and Chishi Matsui (rugby) (December 31, ’21 issue)
Kaho Sakaguchi, known as the “fairy of the beach volleyball world,” and Senshi Matsui, a member of Japan’s 7-man rugby team for the Tokyo Olympics, entered the family register one month ago. They were already living together as husband and wife. In a direct interview with this magazine, Sakaguchi said, “I wasn’t hiding it,
I didn’t hide it from anyone. I thought I would wait until I had greeted all the people who had taken care of me.
Kimiko Date (tennis) and Bismarck (soccer) (May 28, 1999)
Kimiko Date, the first Asian female tennis player to be ranked in the world’s top 10 in singles tennis, had a worldwide love life. Her first romance was with Bismarck, a midfielder for the Kashima Antlers. She never missed out on the rich skinship and even made a prenuptial trip to his hometown in Brazil, but her goal was to marry German racer Michael Krumm (they divorced in 2004).
PHOTO.： Sota Shima (2nd, 7th, 8th, 9th) Takahiro Kagawa (3rd, 6th, 12th) Yasuhide Ueshige (4th, 5th) Soichiro Koriyama, Kojiro Yamada, Ichiro Takatsuka, Yuri Adachi (13th, 14th) Noriaki Takatsuru