Playback ’93] Japan’s first professional volleyball player? Motoko Obayashi was shaken by a “300 million yen” offer. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Playback ’93] Japan’s first professional volleyball player? Motoko Obayashi was shaken by a “300 million yen” offer.

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Obayashi answering a direct interview with this magazine at a practice in Tokyo.

What did “FRIDAY” report 10, 20, and 30 years ago? In “Playback Friday,” we take a look back at the topics that were hot at the time. This time, we will look back at the article from the December 3, 1993 issue, which was published 30 years ago, “The mother is very enthusiastic! Will Motoko Obayashi, a women’s volleyball player, go pro for 300 million yen? The following is a report of the article.

Japan’s women’s volleyball team failed to medal in two consecutive tournaments, in Seoul in 1988 and in Barcelona in 1992. Motoko Obayashi (then 26) was Japan’s ace attacker in both events. She became acutely aware of the gap in power between Japan and foreign countries, which had players playing in the world’s top class leagues, and began to think, “I want to work as a professional player. It was at this time that she was offered the chance to become a professional player.

If I had such a chance, I would like to join,” he said.

On November 9, 1993, the world’s first “multinational women’s professional volleyball team” was launched in Hong Kong. The team was a dream team, with Chinese national hero Rao Ping as player and coach, and a number of influential members from around the world, including Cuba’s ace Luis, who had won the Barcelona Olympics.

The team was sponsored by the Yaohan Group, which at the time had a strong presence in the distribution industry with department stores in 16 countries. Naturally, an offer was made to Obayashi, and the contract fee was said to be 300 million yen. Will Obayashi be the first in the women’s volleyball world to declare herself a professional? While the world was watching, an event occurred that suggested that Obayashi would “go pro. The article at the time read as follows

Shigeo Yamada, the general manager of Hitachi, who is named as a special advisor, and Hiroko, Obayashi’s mother, were present at the “Yaohan International” formation ceremony and the “Yaohan 3rd Anniversary Party” on the 11th, so it was only natural that everyone thought, “This is finally happening. Moreover, Yamada said, “I want Obayashi to think on a higher level in order for volleyball to become a major sport. At the party, Hiroko also expressed her strong desire to join Yaohan, saying, “If I had such a chance, I would like to join Yaohan.

However, in response to her mother’s statement, Obayashi made a comment in a sports newspaper as if to refute her , saying, “You don’t understand my feelings. To find out what Obayashi really meant, this magazine directly interviewed her while she was at a training camp with the All-Japan team, and she told us the following.

Are you saying you don’t get along with my mother? No, that’s not true. We are a normal father and son. But my mother was angry with me about that comment. But I have my own ideas about the Yaohan transfer, and my mother has her own ideas. I don’t want to put my thoughts out there just yet. (Recently) I hurt my back. I wonder if I injured it because of this mess.

However, when asked by the magazine, “Is the 300 million yen contract really worth it?” He smiled wryly and kept his words vague when asked by this magazine, “Is the 300 million yen contract true? At the time, many people in the know believed that the reason he did not talk about turning pro was because he did not want to be seen as the only one standing out from the other players, and that he would probably turn pro next spring.

However, Obayashi ultimately turned down the offer.’ The V-League was expected to be launched in the fall of 1994, and one of the plans was to turn pro. Obayashi later said, “I thought, ‘If I can get a professional contract with Hitachi, that would be the best,’ so I turned down the offer. He also revealed that the offer from Yaohan was 50 million yen for a three-year contract.

However, the V-League, which was launched in October, never turned professional, and Obayashi was abruptly dismissed from Hitachi due to internal team turmoil over the professionalization of the league.

Nevertheless, Obayashi did not give up on his dream of becoming a professional volleyball player, and in January 1995, he became the first Japanese professional volleyball player when he signed a contract with Ancona of Serie A in Italy.

On a night in mid-May, I was standing in line waiting for a cab at Tokyo Station.
People around me couldn’t help but look back at her 184cm beautiful style.
  • PHOTO Masatoshi Okauchi (1st photo)

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