The Japan success story explained

EDITORIAL

11 June 2022

Japan has dominated the male bouldering scene for many years and during the female semifinal in Brixen, where Japan got their best female result ever with four girls Top-8, I ask Yoshiyuki Ogata to explain their success. In short, he says they train hard and often together in different gyms around Tokyo. Sometimes new boulders have been set but in the end, they start creating new different dynamic boulders. All their training is focused on bouldering and he and everyone want to be the best. Toma Narasaki actually said yesterday, "I want to become a climbing legend in history". Most of the team train 23- 30 hours a week. Ogata also says that it is very deep in their culture to work together as a group.

- Benji (their german coach since 2008) challenges us to speak English and interact with the other climbers. This has also helped to stay in the isolation and to be a part of the community.
- Nice T-shirt, Sean Bailey passes by and comments that Ogata is also using the brand new Mellow T-shirt.

Ogata says, he only climbs outdoors and that he is focused on the World Cup and then the Olympics. After Brixen, he will fly home together with Kokoro Fujii, who has just become a father, to stay four days in Japan before returning for a one-month Europe trip. Asked about who of his team mate is the new star, he points at Rei Kawamata. The 18-year-old was #5 and #3 in Salt Lake City and apparently, he is much stronger than Ogata.

Kawamata is shy but when Ogata tells him that their coach wants him to practice English with 8a he smiles and says he injured one finger in SL. He is not fully recovered and says that he mainly trains on a spray wall by himself besides going for the team training twice a week in Tokyo. His English is not so good but Ogata confirms his injury story saying he is so strong that he only needs two fingers. Several times in the chat Ogata hears his teammates scream "Gambare!". He turns his head around and sees a Japanese is on the wall and he goes wild - GAMBARE!

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