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Japanese State Media: Research Shows Japanese Athletes Don't Dope Because They Have Samurai Spirit

translated by Brett Larner

Coincidentally timed nearly simultaneously with reports of Chinese state media confirming the existence of a 1995 letter claiming state-sponsored doping, on Feb. 4 Japanese public broadcaster NHK, headed by the controversial Katsuto Momii, aired a news report on "Why Japanese athletes don't dope."  A segment of the video is included in the source article linked above.

In the first-ever survey of Japanese medalists regarding doping, research found that many of them cited the spirit of bushido, the samurai way, as the reason Japanese athletes do not dope.  Among unending doping problems in the rest of the world including the scandal in Russian athletics, Japan has never produced a single athlete who has tested positive at the Olympics.  Against this backdrop, a Waseda University graduate school research group led by Mikio Hibino and Prof. Yoshiyuki Mano interviewed six male and six female Japanese medalists from the last three Olympic Games up to the London Olympics.

The research indicated that on the question of their "reasons for not doping," many of the medalists said that their parents and coaches had taught them, "Do not cheat," and "Giving everything you have is more important than winning or losing."  Additionally, many answered that "something similar to bushido underlies [their] beliefs," showing that the Japanese spirit of fair play stemming from bushido is a major factor.

The research group commented, "It is a deeply interesting result to find that the ancient spirit of bushido is still alive.  In the buildup to the 2020 Tokyo Games, we believe this basic research will be crucial to awareness of the importance of spreading anti-doping education around the world."  The results of the research are expected to be published next month in the academic journal "Sports Industry Studies."


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