Chairman So Takei’s Fencing Camp Issue Exposes Him as a “Kyakuyose Panda”, Only a Star Attraction to Draw Crowds | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Chairman So Takei’s Fencing Camp Issue Exposes Him as a “Kyakuyose Panda”, Only a Star Attraction to Draw Crowds

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TV personality So Takei has been the president of the Fencing Association of Japan since 2021. At last year’s All-Japan Championships, he greeted the crowd in a suit.

So Takei, president of the Japan Fencing Association, is facinga controversy.


It all started with a report by Bunshun Online on June 29. The Japanese national fencing epee team was supposed to receive a subsidy from the JOC for a training camp in Okinawa, but the camp was centered on leisure activities such as banana boating and snorkeling. The training camp was attended by 30 people, including the men’s epee team gold medalists Yu Yamada, Kazuyasu Minobe, and Koki Kano, as well as their coaches and family members.

The camp was criticized as being nothing more than a tourist camp. The source of the subsidy is taxpayers’ money, so a satisfactory explanation is required.

In response to the uproar, Takei was interviewed by the press on July 2. He said that the training camp schedule consisted of yoga and fencing-related exercises in the mornings, while the afternoons were left to the players’ own initiative.

He said, “Players who were physically tired were allowed to take time off, and those who were not feeling well mentally were allowed to go out for recreation.”

He also stated, “Some of the players enjoyed marine sports during their free time in the afternoon, at their own expense.


In an appearance on “Sunday Japon” (TBS) on March 3, Takei said, “Nowadays, if the amount of practice is too much, it is not good for the athlete.

Takei said, “Recently, the sports world has been moving in the direction that the more practice is good and the harder it is, the better it is.”

He stressed, “If we go in the direction of saying that the longer and tougher the practice time is, we are going backwards to the gut feeling of the Showa era.”

The above-mentioned reporter was not pleased with this. The aforementioned journalist commented on this.

“I understand what Mr. Takei is trying to say, but if we played mahjong in the afternoon, for example, it would be accepted as ‘for relaxation’ or ‘to develop the ability to anticipate the opponent’. It is a matter of saying what you mean.”

He points out, “The essence of the problem is that the players are not the same as the players before.

The real issue is not that the athletes were engaged in marine sports, but that they blindly trusted and approved the training camp despite the fact that there was a discrepancy between what was reported to the association in advance and the actual content.” Takei also commented on this.

“There was no system in the association to keep track of the content of the training sessions,” Takei explained.

Takei explained, “From now on,

We will have a tentative practice schedule written down in advance and have the coaches send us a report for each day. We would like to create a function that would allow us to immediately check the details when we receive inquiries, so that we can smoothly approve them after the fact,” he promised.

Around 1:00 a.m. on June 28, the day before the Bunshun report appeared, Takei posted on his Twitter account

“I can’t protect myself anymore.” 

The timing of the post was very timely, as a series of scandals had been going on in the public eye. The timing of the post may seem to indicate that Takei was aware that a series of scandals would be publicized, but on June 30, after the Bunshun report came out, he explained the true meaning of his tweet.

“I tweeted this when I couldn’t sleep and was in pain all over my body due to my busy schedule of sports experience location, golf, physical training, recording, and live broadcast. My body was screaming.”

He emphasized that it had nothing to do with the fencing issue, writing, “I am not sure if I found out about this issue.”

“Takei-san only found out about the fencing problem after Bunshun (a Japanese literary magazine) sent him a “guess” about it. He was in a hurry to find out what was going on from the people involved. He knew nothing about the training camp and was basically uninformed about the internal affairs of the association.

It is bad to say, but the association had used Ms. Takei as a “panda” to attract customers, and that had been fine up to now. However, when an event like the current one occurs, the association’s response is backward. I think this is one of the downsides of being a TV personality and the president of a fencing association,” said a fencing expert.

Takei was asked by Bakusho Mondai’s Hikari Ota on Sunday Japon,

How do you beat Bunshun?”

Takei laughed and said, “It’s hard to beat him. Please give me a break this time.”

But first, the loose-loose association must be reformed. A reporter for a sports newspaper reported the following.

“Mr. Takei defends himself by saying that the content of the training camp was not inappropriate, but it is not necessarily true that he has gained the public’s understanding. If he is serious about this, I think he needs to pause his celebrity activities and confront the association and the athletes.”

Takei’s “can-do” attitude is a key factor in his decision. Takei’s “ability to execute” is being put to the test.

  • Photo Naoki Morita/Afro Sports

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