Yuzuru Hanyu performs at “Fantasy on Ice” at a venue in Makuhari, Chiba, on May 27 (Photo: Kyodo News)Three months have passed since the Winter Olympics in Beijing. National figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu (27, ANA) restarted his career on May 27 at “Fantasy on Ice (FaOI)” held in Makuhari, Chiba, after three years in the COVID-19 crisis. It is an ice skating show with top international skaters visiting Japan as guests and live performances with musicians. Starting with Makuhari, the tour will travel to Nagoya (June 3-5), Kobe (June 17-19), and conclude this weekend in Shizuoka (June 24-26). 12 shows will be held in 4 cities throughout Japan, and once it was decided that Hanyu would perform, tickets were hotly contested. Hanyu, who revealed his financial situation, wondered whether he would continue to skate and declare himself a professional, or retire for the upcoming new season.
“I will do my best, so please look forward to it.”
On the first day of the performance on May 27, Hanyu performed with popular singer Suga Shikao, who wrote SMAP’s first million-selling song “Yozora no Mukou”. With Suga Shikao’s live performance of “Real Face” the debut song of “KAT-TUN,” he easily landed a quadruple toe loop and a triple axel (a triple jump and a half) perfectly to meet the fans’ expectations.
Many figure skaters reach a turning point in their careers at the Olympics, and Hanyu’s departure was closely watched after he failed to win his third consecutive Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in February, finishing in fourth place for the first time in 94 years. His statement, which could be taken either way, said that he would continue to skate as an amateur or turn pro. This added to the attention he was receiving.
Hanyu is the world’s top skater, but he is not a professional. It is because he is an amateur that he has competed in three Olympics so far, and all kinds of legends have been created.
The main sources of income for figure skaters who have not declared themselves professionals are as follows.
(1) Subsidies from associations, federations, etc., as specially designated athletes
(2) Exclusive contract fees (in Hanyu’s case, ANA)
(3) Prize money from competitions (Olympics, World Championships, Grand Prix (GP) Series)
(4) TV and commercial appearance fees
(5) Royalties from photo books and publications
(6) Ice show guarantees
In April, two months after the Beijing Olympics closed, the Japan Skating Federation approved Hanyu as a Specially Designated Athlete for the 2022 season.
“The JSF has designated athletes other than those who have announced their intention to retire,” said Yosuke Takeuchi, director of the Japan Skating Federation’s Training Department.
Hanyu was recommended by the Japan Skating Federation and will receive an annual subsidy of 2.4 million yen from the Japan Sports Promotion Fund. In addition to the grant, he also received a “Subsidy for Athlete and Coach Study Activities” from the Japan Football Lottery (toto) when he was based overseas prior to the COVID-19 crisis. This was paid to athletes and leaders working abroad and amounted to approximately 3 million yen over a six-month period, but Hanyu has not received this 3 million yen since F.Y. 2020, partly because he returned to his base in Japan due to the COVID-19 crisis. Thus, Hanyu’s current fixed costs are 2.4 million (see (1)).
Hanyu has also had an exclusive contract with ANA since 2013, but the contract fee (2) is said to be a contract with a large range in amount depending on the season’s performance and social conditions. A sports newspaper reporter analyzed the situation as follows.
“Before the Tokyo Olympics, when swimmer Daiya Seto, who was expected to win the gold medal, had his contract with ANA terminated due to personal problems, it came to light that he received an estimated 100 million yen per year in compensation. In Hanyu’s case, even in good times, it was less than half of that amount, but even so, I heard that Hanyu himself said, “I am grateful” and kept his contract.”
“Now that ANA has been hit hard as a company by the COVID-19 crisis, it may not be able to pay the peak amount. Since the contracts with other athletes and teams that they had signed before are not being renewed, I think the current contract with Hanyu is tens of millions of yen.”