Before the Spring Koshien Tournament, Tohoku High School’s Captain Yu Darvish Faced Rumors of Multiple Romantic Relationships | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Before the Spring Koshien Tournament, Tohoku High School’s Captain Yu Darvish Faced Rumors of Multiple Romantic Relationships

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Gut-punching in the bathroom of the dormitory. His teammates shouted, “Hurry up and close the door! shouted one of his teammates (April 2, 2004 issue).

10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, what was “FRIDAY” reporting? Let’s take a look back at the topics that were hot at the time with “Playback Friday”. This time, we’ll deliver the article “Koshien & Worries as Spoken by Yu Darvish Naked,” which was published in the April 2, ’04 issue 20 years ago.

In 2004, the most attention at the spring Koshien was focused on Yu Darvish (then 17), the previous year’s summer tournament runner-up pitcher and the highly anticipated number one draft prospect in the fall, from Miyagi Tohoku High School. It was an article that closely followed him just before heading to Osaka.

His back strength and grip strength have almost doubled since entering high school.

“Are you feeling good? If we rate last summer as 100, would you say you’re at 150 now? Instead of aiming for victory at Koshien, I’m thinking more about taking each game as it comes.”

This line was said just before Yu Darvish’s arrival in Osaka on March 13. He stated that he’s in 1.5 times better condition compared to last summer when he marked a pitch speed of 149 km/h.

“Last spring, when we lost in the second game, I’d say it was around 80 in terms of condition. I injured my side and right arm at the opening ceremony of the Spring Tournament. And in the summer, I had a back injury too, so my condition wasn’t great.”

At the opening ceremony of the previous year’s Spring Tournament, Darvish injured his side and arm when a fan pulled him. He mentioned that he no longer worries about it.

“It’s in the past. I think I was also careless. But because it’s Koshien, I don’t feel pressured. I don’t have a goal of throwing at a certain speed. I’m more suited to making hitters hit than striking them out. I think that’s when the team’s rhythm comes together.”

When he entered high school, he struggled with growing pains, but his height finally stopped at 194 cm, and he began to develop mature muscles. When he entered high school, his back strength was 120 kg, and his grip strength was 38 kg on both sides, but they doubled to 240 kg and 57 kg on both sides, respectively. However, more than that, it was his mental strength that grew, according to Masahiro Wako, the coach of Tohoku High School.

“After the summer Koshien ended, appointing Yu as the team captain allowed his ‘me, me’ personality to pay attention to others. I think he gained confidence in himself and started to feel consideration for others.”

Darvish, who had garnered nationwide attention, also showed his ordinary side as a typical high school student. He mentioned that his favorite thing about dormitory life was going shopping at a convenience store about 200 meters away.


“When I go, I usually read magazines like ‘Friday’. Can’t they do something about those sealed bags? If I really want something, we chip in money among the team members to buy it. (laughs)”


Furthermore, when I got a glimpse of their dinner, they were having a lively conversation in Kansai dialect with teammates. There was a discussion about the most popular talent in the baseball club being Aya Ueto, and when Darvish made a dissatisfied sound, saying “Eh?”, he was teased with remarks like “Because she’s your type,” creating a cheerful atmosphere.

After dinner, Darvish suddenly asked the magazine, with a serious face, “I have a favor to ask. Could you write about it?” When asked what it was about, he said the following,

“Actually, there’s a story going around that I’m ‘Nanamata’… I’ve never seen it, but on internet forums, there’s a rumor that I’m dating seven girls at the same time, and that’s why they’re saying I’m ‘playing seven roles’. Like, they saw me walking in Kofuncho (Sendai) one day, and another day it was a different girl. This is completely untrue because I’ve never been to Kofuncho. It’s really frustrating (laughs).”

In the Spring Tournament of that year, Darvish achieved the 12th no-hitter in tournament history against Kumamoto Kogyo. However, he was unable to pitch in the quarter-finals due to a shoulder injury and was eliminated in the quarter-finals. Since he also lost in the third round of the summer tournament, he did not bring the championship flag back to Tohoku. However, he was still praised as a monster since Daisuke Matsuzaka in the fall draft and joined the Nippon-Ham Fighters. His subsequent achievements need no further explanation.

Since 2012, he has been active in Major League Baseball, and his leading role in leading Japan to victory in the WBC last year is still fresh in memory. The showdown with Shohei Ohtani in the opening game between the San Diego Padres and the Dodgers held in Seoul on March 20 was watched by the entire country of Japan. Darvish had already exuded a sense of greatness like this article since he was a third-year high school student.

Smiling in front of sukiyaki for dinner in the dormitory cafeteria. He devoured two bowls of rice in one sitting (April 2, 2004).
Checking out the stretching and training session taken by the trainer with the camera. He was delighted to see how it looks like.
  • PHOTO Ryu Kanzaki

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