Coach Moriyasu Slammed on the Internet Despite Qualifying in Soccer World Cup | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Coach Moriyasu Slammed on the Internet Despite Qualifying in Soccer World Cup

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Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu poses for a photo with supporters after defeating Australia in hostile territory to qualify for the World Cup for the seventh consecutive time. Japan coach Kaz Moriyasu poses for a photo with supporters after defeating Australia to qualify for a seventh consecutive World Cup ( Photo: Kyodo News)

In March, Moriyasu Hajime booked their ticket to the World Cup in Australia. Both the six consecutive wins in the final qualifying round and the victory away from home in Australia were the first in the history of Japan’s national team. Looking at the results alone, it would not be surprising to hear Japan is called the strongest team in the world. But there is a sense of uncertainty about the future of the team.

It has been nearly three and a half years since the team was launched, but it is difficult to see the growth and strengthening of the team.It is also difficult to find strong points as a team, and it is hard to say that the soccer is interesting to watch. In short, while the results have been overwhelming, the content has not been satisfying for those watching. This discrepancy may be one of the reasons for the unsettled feeling.


Perhaps this is one of the reasons for the unprecedented amount of online criticism of Moriyasu.

“What you say and what you do are always different. Your off-the-cuff remarks have been manifested in your actions for the past three and a half years.”

“Please dismiss him as soon as possible. Such unintelligible lineups, player changes, and tactics? Enough is enough.”

(Quoted from a Yahoo comment on the summary of coach Hajime Moriyasu’s press conference after the Japan vs. Vietnam match on March 29, 2011)

“I know it was tough for the players and those watching, and I’m sure I was criticized, but I’m really glad that we were able to go to the World Cup as a result.”

(Gekisaka) Kaoru Mitomo, the “savior” of Japan, scored two legendary goals! (Yahoo commentary on Moriyasu J’s decision to go to the World Cup in Qatar after defeating Australia in hostile territory)

Even in the immediate aftermath of the breakthrough, there were many comments that were not so joyful but rather had a few things to say, ranging from dissatisfaction with the match to criticism. More often these are directed at the coach than the players. However, this too is a far cry from the reactions of those who have actually been in contact and interacted with the players.

For example, Saburo Kawabuchi, with whom I have a close relationship, said, “He has a very strong stomach. I was surprised. Personally, I thought that I could entrust him (as director) if he has this kind of determination. I have no choice but to go all the way.

The atmosphere at the interview site is also relaxed, making one wonder what the tense atmosphere was like under Halil Hodzic before the last World Cup in Russia in 2018. But there was also an unusual face-to-face interview session at 7:00 AM ..

The interviews themselves were brief, but it was clear that the mood was created by the PR team’s concern for those who had made the effort to come to the site and the personality of coach Moriyasu, who accepted them. “I don’t want to do that,” the early-morning interview would not have been possible. This mood is far removed from that of the discussions that develop in social media such as user comments in the Internet media and social networking sites.

On November 16, 2011, Twitter users were tweeting immediately after the Omani national team’s third straight win in the Asian final qualifying round for the World Cup, and the hashtag “#Moriyasu dismissed” was trending, even though the team’s participation in the World Cup was now dimly in sight.

Why does such a divergence occur? We asked Shinichi Yamaguchi, Associate Professor at the Center for Global Communications, International University of Japan. Yamaguchi is an expert in Internet media theory and the author of a book titled “A Study of Internet Flames.”

He says, “The basic premise is that it is a matter of course that people who meet people do not speak ill of them. People who post on the Internet are not interested in personalities, but only in how well a person is coached and how well he or she performs.”

Based on this premise, he explains that sports are a field prone to flames.

In sports such as baseball and soccer, there are many people who have their own  “I theory.” In the past, these words would have disappeared in a pub, but they remain on the Internet. Also, it is easy to be criticized when you go against the unspoken norms among some people. There is a philosophy among some soccer fans that says this is the way a team should be led, and if it goes against that philosophy, the team will be criticized.

On the other hand, he also points out that negative comments can be easily posted on the Internet in general, not just about soccer. The following explanation is not limited to soccer, but is general.

People who post on Yahoo!.com are people who have very strong feelings, and there is a bias that the opinions they express tend to be extreme and negative of a sense of justice, because they “can’t forgive the other person” or because they are “disappointed. However, justice here is not social justice, but justice within a person’s own mind, so if there are 100 million people, there will be 100 million different kinds of justice.

The more people who believe that Japan’s national team should fight in this way, the more negative reactions will naturally appear on the Internet, and if this is the case, then the various reactions to Moriyasu Japan should be taken as an indication of the current popularity of soccer. This may be a sign that many people have shifted from the style of cheering for the team, watching the game on terrestrial TV and enjoying drinks at izakaya (Japanese style pubs) to watching the game and exchanging opinions on the Internet, which used to be the preserve of maniacs, and that this has become more visible.

Also, the tension between the so-called media and social media was different at Moriyasu Japan. In the former, there were considerably fewer critical articles and the tone was more moderately compared to the Halil Hodzic era, when the team played the last qualifying round. If there were any, they often transmitted the intent of the criticism in the form of quotes from comments made on social media. The style of articles was what is generally derided as a “kotatsu article.”

  Yamaguchi also explains the difference in attitude toward Moriyasu Japan between the media and social media, despite the fact that these are opinions that exist on the Internet.

Even on social media, there is peer pressure, and even if you support Moriyasu Japan, you don’t want to be told off by aggressive people, so you stop posting opinions that you support. Also, if there are a lot of positive articles in the media, there is no place for readers to vent, saying,’Why are there only positive articles when I am negative?

  In a sense, social media is a mirror or the flip side of the media.

Moriyasu Japan will play four friendly matches in June and two in September before heading to the World Cup in Qatar in November. With only a limited amount of time left, it is unlikely that there will be any sudden changes in the team members or tactics. Still, I would like to believe that if only the team can achieve results in the World Cup, all of this confusion will blow over.

  • Interview and text Miko Ryokai

    Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1975. Graduated from the Department of History, Faculty of Letters, Japan Women's University, and began covering soccer in 2001. Currently resides in Düsseldorf, Germany, where he has lived since March 11, 2011.

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