Ai Fukuhara’s “imprinting from childhood” is behind her refusal to stop her “outburst. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Ai Fukuhara’s “imprinting from childhood” is behind her refusal to stop her “outburst.

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Fukuhara is confident that she is right, but… (Photo: Itaru Chiba/Afro)

Former Olympic table tennis medalist Ai Fukuhara (34), who has been locked in a bitter dispute with her ex-husband Chiang Hung-Chieh, is now in a state of “rebuttal” that has left those around her speechless. The more she argues against Jiang, the more her image continues to be tarnished. Fukuhara’s thinking is said to have been greatly influenced by her experience as a prodigy table tennis girl.

Last month, Jiang held an emergency press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, where he revealed that the Tokyo Family Court had issued a temporary restraining order ordering Fukuhara to hand over her eldest son, whom she had taken away last July, but that Fukuhara had not complied with the order. Mr. Jiang said,

I want you to follow the court’s order and return the child peacefully. I want to see my sister (eldest daughter) as soon as possible.

Fukuhara, on the other hand, was not so happy. Fukuhara, on the other hand, responded to this press conference through her representative. She also took to the Chinese social networking site Weibo,

As a mother, I think it is my responsibility to protect my child no matter what. I don’t think we should spread the word about the conflict between adults. (I will not allow my children to be taken advantage of. I will do my best to protect them.

I will do everything in my power to protect them. However, this “as a mother, I will protect my children” statement was met with an outpouring of criticism.

She said, “I can’t expect the people around me to understand if I make this kind of objection when they say I took them away from them. Even so, there is a deep-rooted imprint in her from her childhood that ‘someone will save her in the end’ and ‘the media will be on her side in the end'” (a person involved in a wide-ranging TV show).

From her childhood, she appeared in the media as “Ai, the crybaby,” and became a national idol with her earnestness and tears when she lost. She continued to be active in international tournaments as a “prodigy table tennis girl” and was enormously popular not only in Japan but also in China. A reporter for a sports newspaper who used to cover Fukuhara often commented on his impression of her.

She has been in contact with adults and the media since she was a child, so she is very good at winning their hearts and minds. She immediately understands what kind of comments are being asked of her and is able to comment on them. When I meet and talk with Fukuhara in person, I am drawn to her charm. She has also become more attractive as a woman with age. It seems that she was irresistible with her translucent white skin, her soft personality, and her smile. During her college years, there was even a happening when she was chased around by a man with a marriage certificate while she was competing in a tournament.”

In 2004, Fukuhara married Jiang and had two children, but they divorced in 2009 when it was reported that Fukuhara was allegedly being harassed by Jiang and his family, leading to their divorce. However, many people who knew Fukuhara defended her. Perhaps that is not the reason, but even after the news of the alleged affair, Fukuhara has been a visiting associate professor at Aomori University and the general manager (GM) of the World Table Tennis (WTT).

She is not a scandalous person,” said Mr. Kurokawa. “Not only in the entertainment industry, but adultery is a fatal scandal. But she was appointed to a key position such as GM. She is a legend in the world of table tennis, so I wouldn’t say it was a forced decision, but considering the problems that have occurred, I wonder if it was really appropriate….

I suppose we who have been lifting her up for many years are responsible for this. However, as far as this issue is concerned, it is time to realize that the assumption that ‘she will be on our side in the end’ is also about to reach its limit. If it becomes a battle of ugliness and self-centered statements in the future, the situation will surely get tougher and tougher” (a wide range of people mentioned above).

The headwind for Fukuhara, who can no longer gain sympathy for her tears, is likely to become even stronger.

  • PHOTO Itaru Chiba/Afro

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