Words from Atsuto Uchida, who played in Germany
“From the point of view of the interviewer, it is hard to say that he is a very easy subject to interview. They are not friendly, and although they speak with substance, they are difficult to listen to because they don’t use their voices. He asks counter-questions to questions that he does not understand. Of course, it is natural to ask questions that one doesn’t understand, but it is different from the many interview subjects who just smile and answer in an appropriate manner, and if you are used to an easygoing person, you may even think Kamata is difficult. However, I realized from Kamata’s comments on this day that I had been looking for a typical good boy, even during the interview.”
He occasionally showed his humor, but this was also a little confusing. When asked how the order of the penalty shootout was decided, Kamata said, “The coach said it would be either me or Hasebe-san, and I immediately said I would kick because Hasebe-san is not very good at penalty kicks,” he explained with a straight face while adding a little “Hasebe diss”.
“When I asked Hasebe about this, he replied, “The coach asked me if I would kick the ball, and I said, ‘Of course I will.’ I was thinking, ‘Don’t let it come around, it won’t come around’ (laughs).’ Hasebe’s story is easier to laugh at. But this must be Kamata, and it is okay to laugh at the part about Hasebe’s poor penalty kicking.”
After the championship was decided, there was the usual scene where the players came to the stands to share their joy and dance and sing. The same was true after wins over Barcelona and West Ham, but Kamata was even more reluctant to participate in the celebrations than Hasebe. However, he complains about the long duration of the event, saying, “That one, once it starts, it goes on forever.”
However, when he is quietly watching his teammates in the back of the group, feigning indifference, someone always pulls him into the circle. Then they are pushed to the front and wave their hands in the air with their teammates. Kamata says, “That kind of thing doesn’t really fit in with the Japanese,” but he must be happy about it.
Watching Kamata reminds me of something Atsuto Uchida used to say when he was playing for Schalke.
He said, “It is impossible that you don’t fit in with your teammates, that you don’t get passes, that you don’t have a place because you can’t speak the language. If you get results on the pitch, that’s all that matters.”
“Looking at Kamata, I see those very words. He gets results on the pitch, people around him try to understand him, and I think that’s how he has become a beloved figure at Frankfurt.”
“In the mixed zone after the final, when the English-speaking media spoke to him, he turned them down, saying loudly, ‘I can’t speak English.’ I thought, ‘No, he speaks English,’ but he is definitely a difficult guy to understand because of his innocence in this area. I thought as I listened to his comment at the beginning of this article that this might change if he is called up to the Japan national team again and has more chances to show results on a bigger stage.”