As the Tigers in the Verge of Loosing Chance in Championship, Manager Yano Resorts in Spiritual Power | FRIDAY DIGITAL

As the Tigers in the Verge of Loosing Chance in Championship, Manager Yano Resorts in Spiritual Power

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Manager Yano prayed for victory after drinking sake at Nishinomiya Shrine in Hyogo Prefecture in March of this year (Image: Kyodo News)

During the interview, most of what was said was of a spiritual nature, such as, “One day we will die,” and “You only live once.” There were almost no concrete subject. I had a hard time writing the manuscript.

A reporter for a sports newspaper in charge of the Hanshin baseball team laughs bitterly.

The interviewee was Akihiro Yano, 53, the manager of the Hanshin team. As you know, the Hanshin team has been in the bottom half of the league, having lost nine straight games to start the season. Their debt has quickly climbed above double digits, and they are in danger of losing any chance of winning the championship by themselves by the end of May.

What is troubling the players and fans of the Hanshin team, which shows no signs of improving, is the mentality of manager Yano. The symbolic moment was after the April 15 game against the Giants, when the team was down 1-15. The reporters asked Manager Yano, “Are you all right?” Holding up a piece of colored paper, he said, “My friend, the letter craftsman Sugiura, is a good friend of mine.”

I asked my friend Seiji Sugiura, a letter craftsman, to come over and draw a letter from the 365 cards available. I drew the character for ‘wave’ while imagining the team (positive words about ‘wave’ were written on the colored paper). We have our ups and downs, but let’s make big waves. I fought with the message that having fun is the most important thing.

High-fiving before the match!

The benefit (?) of the big wave of colored paper? The Hanshin team won two games on the same day. However, Yano did not thank the players or the fans for their support, and after the game, he mentioned a message from a friend.

Manager Yano’s strange words and actions are not limited to the of colored paper. He says that one of his most important ideas is the concept of “anticipation.”

He says, “It is one of the agricultural rites to celebrate in advance, in anticipation of the fulfillment of a dream. By embodying the expected result beforehand, great power is attracted and the wish is realized. Mr. Yano is fascinated by this idea.”

There is no shortage of events related to the preconception, he says. At a team get-together before the season even started, he said, “Thanks to you, we won the championship!” Before games, he has the players practice high-fiving each other in victory. At the camp in February of this year, ace Yuki Nishi and the other players, perhaps out of concern for the manager who had announced his resignation, repeatedly celebrated with Yano.

According to the May 20 issue of Shukan Post, mental trainer Keisuke Oshima, author of “The Law of Maegyo” and other books, has had a great influence on Manager Yano. The magazine also reported that he learned the idea of “pre-blessing” from Mr. Oshima. The magazine reported that he also distributes Oshima’s books to the players.

“Mr. Yano has invited therapists and experts in psychology to conduct mental training as part of his practice. Sometimes the mental lessons last more than an hour. The players are puzzled,” he says.

Mr. Yano says, “You only live once. We have only one life, so let’s be positive and enjoy it.” This season, when the debts are increasing, he tends to be depressed and not as energetic as in past years. 

Despite the enthusiastic positive mindset of winning this season, there is no sign of a big wave in the Hanshin League at this point in time. The fulfillment of Manager Yano’s wish is becoming more difficult by the day.

  • Photo Kyodo News

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