Is Miki Ando's skating coach a Japan hater?

Is Miki Ando's skating coach a Japan hater? Miki Ando and her coach, Nikolai Morozov

Miki Ando, 21, recently won the gold medal at the Cup of Russia ISU Grand Prix figure skating event in Moscow, her first victory in three years. Despite changes made to her short program only four days before the performance, Ando skated with grace and confidence – showing the trust between skater and coach, according to a sports reporter.

The personal relationship between Ando and Nikolai Morozov, reported on earlier by Shukan Post, seems to be going well. But rumors have been picked up that the Belarusian coach is causing uproar among figure skating fans.

An incident happened in the evening of Oct 16 when Mao Asada, 19, finished third in the short program. Morozov, also coach to Japanese skater Nobunari Oda, was in Paris for the French Grand Prix, accompanied by Ando who was there to continue her training.

At a restaurant where some Japanese were dining, Morozov, in a tipsy state, walked over to the table to announce that “the Japanese are stupid, coming all the way out just to see this kind of competition” and further added, “I hate the Japanese. If I could, I’d push a button to do to Tokyo and Osaka just like they did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

The episode was reported on the blog of Hiro Yoshida, a writer who resides in Europe and contributes articles to sports magazines. According to the blog, a friend of Yoshida happened to be dining at the restaurant and argued with Morozov, pointing out that he is coaching several Japanese skaters. Morozov’s reply was: “Miki is an exception.”

Yoshida declined Shukan Post’s request for an interview, stating he would not elaborate other than what he had stated in his blog. However, Morozov is known for openly criticizing the Skating Federation, and there may be serious repercussions if the reported incident is a fact. The federation has so far refused to comment on the matter.

Problems involving foreign coaches of Japanese figure skaters are not limited to Morozov. Asada scored poorly in the Grand Prix series, and now with a very slim chance of entering the GP Finals, she is not receiving support from her Russian coach, Tarasova. Apparently, Tatiana Tarasova has chosen to be with her Russian skaters during the Moscow competition rather than travel to Japan for Asada, who may have to perform in the upcoming national championship without her guidance. It is said that Tarasova coaches Asada three months a year and the rest of the training is delegated to an assistant. In view of her recent performance, the Japan Skating Federation has expressed its intention to discuss the matter with Tarasova, as the skater’s performance will affect the Vancouver Olympics.

Sports journalist Gentaro Taniguchi comments on foreign coaches who fail those in their charge, citing as an example former soccer manager Philippe Troussier, whose verbal outbursts had an adverse effect on the Japanese national team. “Occasionally foreign managers or coaches become uncontrollable from the Japanese perspective. When such problems emerge at a crucial moment, though, the outcome is irreversibly damaging.”

While Ando’s outstanding performance has much to do with her professional and personal relationship with her coach, the question is whether his influence will be limited to not just her skating skills, but her personality, as well. 

  • 0

    imacat

    The reference to Troussier is funny.

    Ahh... poor little Japanese soccer players... did big bad Troussier give you a verbal bashing when you messed up? Had to blink back the tears?

  • 0

    LoveUSA

    He was either drunk or somebody hurt him really badly to say that he wants to bomb Tokyo and Osaka.

  • 0

    WilliB

    This is a news story? It sounds like more personal sour grapes. A friend of a friend posted something on a blog... yeah right.

  • 0

    Foxie

    As long as he gets Ando's skating right, what can we complain about. Who cares about what someone says on a blog.

  • 0

    yabits

    “Occasionally foreign managers or coaches become uncontrollable from the Japanese perspective.

    This is a very interesting and telling sentence. What is it about this deep-seated need to control other people's emotions?

  • 0

    Weasel

    Convenient to publish this story, as I don't have to wait in the checkout line at the market to find it in some daily rag.

  • 0

    LFRAgain

    " . . . the question is whether his influence will be limited to not just her skating skills, but her personality, as well."

    Umm, no. This isn't the question at all. Nor should it be.

    Sounds like Nikolai Morozov is a complete ass. But that should have nothing to do with how the public perceives Ando's "personality" as a result of his tutelage.

  • 0

    Porcorex

    The Japanese are not good coaches and not good for international competitions, this is product if Miki Ando won the tournament Asada Mao does not sell magazines or advertisements Tues not it?

  • 0

    marushka

    A drunk guy in restaurant sad something bad.. who cares, if he is good coach for Miki Ando and she can achieve her goals, its most important for her. As for Tarasova, maybe Ando needs to spend some time in Moscow in order to be coached personally by her…

  • 0

    bobobolinski

    I don't know about skating, but I always thought Troussier did alright at the football. Won the Asian Cup in 2000, and in 2002 drew with Belgium and beat Russia and Tunisia, before going out in the knock-out stage; compare with 1998 (lost all three) and 2006 (one draw, two defeats), he's probably been the best international coach Japan have had. Maybe he didn't make much attempt to assimilate?

  • 0

    Badsey

    Mao Asada has nothing todo with Morozov.

    If someone that is not skilled in the art is critical of someone that is they will brush you off quickly. -You are better off to say nothing because you are nothing (to them).

    Just because Miki Ando and her coach are popular in the news doesn't mean you have the right to go right up to them and be critical.

  • 0

    meloveulongtime

    Like Russia is better...damn that is a sad country

  • 0

    as_the_crow_flies

    “Occasionally foreign managers or coaches become uncontrollable from the Japanese perspective.

    This is a very interesting and telling sentence. What is it about this deep-seated need to control other people's emotions?

    I thought it was about the only interesting thing in the article, too. I think the new Foreign Minister (Chiba) summed it up in an interview last month when she said that Japan has to move away from a policy of controlling foreigners (in Japan).

    Who knows (or cares) about Morozov's personal attitudes, but I think that the place of foreign players, managers or whatever in sport in Japan is definitely to be controlled. Can't have anyone outshining the locals in fair competition, after all. The fact that sports are chock full of non-Japanese trainers is proof that it's impossible for any country to really go it alone any more and continue to dominate a sport. The whole thing's globalised. Control is definitely a pipedream that even the Japanese sports like sumo will have to realise can't be sustained.

  • 0

    spudman

    Well if the coach is taking the yen then it's up to then to fall in line. Who cares about results when fragile egos are at stake. Odd that Japanese JHS coaches are the biggest bunch of bullies ever sanctioned by a state. But they are Japanese and get angry with physical abuse with control. What a joke of a statement.

    “Occasionally foreign managers or coaches become uncontrollable from the Japanese perspective. When such problems emerge at a crucial moment, though, the outcome is irreversibly damaging.”

  • 0

    Badsey

    Morozov coached Shizuka Arakawa to an Olympic Gold (Japan's only medal) and now Miki is looking like she will medal also. -Isn't this the same Miki that Japan Skating/Media Inc gave up on after the last Winter Olympics? Now you hear all these Ando stories right before the Winter Olympics.

    Japan media Are their own worst enemy. If not for Miki, Morozov would most likely be gone already.

  • 0

    Jbizzle

    Miki chan is sexy two bad she is with this clown.

  • 0

    Potsu

    Is this article all because Asada Mao lost badly ?? That IS the Japanese way,to always blame someone/something else....happening a lot recently.

  • 0

    Altria

    Word on the street is he's coaching her in the bedroom as well.

  • 0

    bdiego

    Another coach who hates the fans, what a surprise. He was drunk anyways, not the first and not the last.

  • 0

    bogva

    Agree with bobobolinski - the example with Troussier shows why "the Japanese perspective" is wrong! He is the most succesful football coache EVER in Japan! No name guy who could make the youth team (I think under 21) champions so federation gave him the men team. Then he won the Asia cup and did extremely well in all other competitions. Seems Japanese need some harsh words to perform better!

  • 0

    pawatan

    Yay, 4th person rumors! I'm sure that is dead-on accurate as to what he actually said. /sarcasm

    That being said, more news on Miki is always welcome.

  • 0

    gogogo

    Gossip... the source is a 4th person account written on a blog...

  • 0

    tkoind2

    “Occasionally foreign managers or coaches become uncontrollable from the Japanese perspective."

    Japanese need to realize that not everyone follows the "Japanese" way. And just because a coach is training someone does not mean he or she has made a promise to be "Japanese-like". People here need to get over this notion of Japanese behavioral superiority.

    I love Japan, my Japanese friends and much of the culture here. But that does not prevent me from disagreeing with a lot of how things are done here or from being very critical of some aspects of Japan. I am equally critical of my own culture.

    But I will say this, Japan has a special ability to put up barriers and to make even simple things painfully difficult. This can be madening for those of us who are not Japanese and not as patient with unnecessary barriers put up by the local culture.

    Japanese athletes choose to engage foreign coaches to gain competitive edge. They should not expect them to become Japanese but should expect them to behave as they naturally do. If Japan does not like this, then Japan should not engage foreign talent. And her athletes can suffer the consequences of such intransigence.

  • 0

    numbskull

    Word on the street is he's coaching her in the bedroom as well.

    Most rumors start as mere fantasies of little boys. Looks like a possibility with that one.

    So this guy said he wants to push the button on Tokyo? Yeah, I love Japan, but sometimes I feel that way too. But even when I feel that way, if any says Miki is in Tokyo now I will demand she be taken to a save place. A girl that cute will always be the exception!

  • 0

    kirakira25

    My daughter loves ice-skating and seems to show some talent for it too - but the BS that seems to go with most high level sport in Japan seriously puts me off encouraging my kids to develop their talents. Our local elementary school baseball team looks like a cult! All shaved heads and 6.30am practice sessions, spacey eyes and nudging and pointing at my 3 year old when we walked past them. For what possible reason???! He is 3 years old for Gods sake! They looked like they wanted to sacrifice him or something!

  • 0

    tkoind2

    Not only sports. kirakira25, the same barrier intensive behavior shows up in music, event planning and just about anything else you want to get involed in. This is sadly a very deeply rooted part of Japan and unlikely to go away any time soon.

    Encourage your kids to participate. The skills they learn in overcoming the barriers will serve them well later in life if they have to live here long term.

  • 0

    naoko705

    Don't trust what was on "Shukan Post", people....

  • 0

    Junnama

    Funny story - although I'm not sure what the point is, possibly:

    1. Japanese athletes so fragile that they can't stand a different way of doing things?

    2. Ando's coach is an anti-Japan bigot, who for some reason coaches so many Japanese skaters?

    3. Asada's coach is to blame for her performance?

    4. Or just - foreigners suck in general...

  • 0

    JA_Cruise

    "tkoind2" Why would you want to protect this chump? Disagreement from a foreigner is one thing, however Morozov's comments are blatently racial. I agree that Japanese shouldn't expect foreigners to accept all behaviorial dished out to them, but this article has nothing to do with that. Stay on topic please.

  • 0

    kirakira25

    @tkoind2 - thanks for the advice. I think I am also biased because of the experiences I had as a kid doing fairly high level gymnastics. The cliquiness was unbearable. My 3 year old was about to enroll in a soccer club which seemed pretty reasonable until they told me we had to pay 20,000 for his "uniform" - hes 3 for Gods sake! Why cant he just have a kick-around with his friends and wear a coloured bib?!

  • 0

    dolphingirl

    I was wondering what the point of this article was. Perhaps they are worried that sweet little Miki will be corrupted by the outspoken and evil Morozov. This is all purely gossip. Assuming he did actually say that, I would be pretty upset if I were her. But if Miki is happy with her coach and he is doing a good job, then that's all that matters.

  • 0

    The758

    “Occasionally foreign managers or coaches become uncontrollable from the Japanese perspective.

    Sounds more like the classic Japan Doesn't Like Foreigners syndrome

  • 0

    Badsey

    it's kind of hard to make the foreigner claim when ~80% of the time they are in New Jersey.

  • 0

    isthistheend

    What a catch that Miki Ando. And at the perfect age! Mazultov to Morozov, nice work if you can get it. All the xxx about Japanese clickishness, hello? Ever ride a train recently. I think you could start screaming in Japanese about their clickishness or bad manners and people would hardly bat an eye. Its a culture that has different ways of handling pressure, and speaking about it certainly isn't a forte....at least in public.

  • 0

    sfjp330

    There is a unique Japanese-ness that exists in the marrow of Japanese enculturation and socialization that fuels their group survival barometer. When something threatens this innate Japanese-ness, it becomes necessary for it to be either categorized, and thus controlled, or eliminated. Now, the Japanese know, just like any other culture, that elimination can never be violent or overt, so it becomes subliminal and subtextualized.

    These prejudices and discriminations are perfectly legal. They are meant to serve the same purpose as the Japanese educational system: to produce productive members of society and to deter any disturbance of the perceived fragile balance of peace that exists therein. of course, this is done on an ex post facto basis for foreigners, who have already formed defined expectations of liberty and/or freedom. Thus causing the Japanese/foreigner tension.

  • 0

    ca1ic0cat

    I thought the custom was that if you were drunk you could say pretty much anything and it was excused. Oh well. She's winning so he can't be that bad a coach.

  • 0

    LoveUSA

    his article brings an intrique to the NHK cup this weekend. I never watch it but now I am tempted to watch it and cheer for Miky Ando.

  • 0

    GW

    I laughed when they brought up Troussier as an example, the man was clearly the best thing that ever happened to J-soccer, too bad most of it evaporated after he left, but thats to be expected.

    Basically all the J-Athletes out there wanting to compete internationally you all need to get a SPINE!

    I have experienced this spinlessness in work a few time where Japanese & foreign crews work for an event, typically they have some meeting where the J-side says HAI HAI to everything, but when work gets started the foreign guys find out that hai doesnt always mean yes or agreement, I have seen some tops blow & the J-side just freezes & shuts down. Its kind of hilarious to see or hear about but then makes completing the event a real PIA. I have seen foreign guys force themselves to grovel/lie to the j-side so work can re-start, it aint pretty. Japan can kind of get away with growing up in Jpn but no way outside or in the inernational arena.

    Again Jpn grow some nads, you need`em!

  • 0

    GW

    shud have been "japan can get away with NOT gowing up..."

  • 0

    Tommygun

    Guy seems like a bit of a scum bag.

  • 0

    bcbrownboy

    While Ando’s outstanding performance has much to do with her professional and personal relationship with her coach, the question is whether his influence will be limited to not just her skating skills, but her personality, as well.

    Personality?

  • 0

    tokyotom

    typical russian, drunk and obnoxious we all wish we were from siberia, it is the whole world's secret desire

  • 0

    hellhound

    That guy is right

  • 0

    Smythe

    I cannot comment on this one though I have some personal feelings. ONLY this involves the ways of some drunk Americans, to a Japanese figure skater, which also has to do with JPn culture, I am sure said figure skater to be good PLUS how a Russian handles or looks at things for I am a Canadian. That is basically three/four reasons I cannot make a comment only to mention I read it from start to finish along with comments of other regulars on JT.

  • 0

    Junnama

    Smythe, I don't think anybody will understand that last post, I know I didn't.

    As an aside, if that is Arakawa's old coach, I am glad he got his hair cut. He looked like a lounge lizard before...

  • 0

    viking68

    I'm with the other poster. Thought you could vent anything under the pretense that you were drunk, even if you weren't.

    However, bombing Tokyo and Osaka seems a bit on the extreme side. I would take offense if I were Japanese.

  • 0

    ratpack

    Wow seems like the media have already worked out the excuse if the japanese skaters fail at the Olympics. Too bad the skaters don't have the nads of Roger Federer who did so so so much without a coach. His coach came along once he was already number 1 in the world and with grand slams under his belt. If the skaters fail at the olympics (or fail to even get to the olympics) I hope they dont point their fingers in other directions away from themselves...after all they are the ones who decided to have that particular coach in the first place aren't they????

  • 0

    BigInJapan

    It is very impolite in Japan to accuse someone for what he or she said drunk.

    If every nasty or offensive statement that some high-profile Japanese makes on a nomikai would be on news... The Japanese should grow up at least their own standards. I should just post what Todai professors or Society heads say on international conferences before they vomit all over everything.

  • 0

    Hirota56

    would not put it past him

  • 0

    Eizenhauer

    He should be go through extradition immediately and never be allowed entrance in Japan again. Such losers like this bimbo coach should be knocked out first, sent to prison for a few days and then sent back to their country. If you can't love Japan then get a f... out of here!!

  • 0

    WhatMeWorry

    Goog point on the double standard of drunken quotes. It seems that Japan wants foreign help up until they achieve success and then they yank the athlete back home to claim the victory. I agree that Japanese like to blame others and not take responsiblity. It's always the foreigners' fault.

  • 0

    Miyaratmosphere

    WhatMeWorry at 01:50 PM JST - 18th November

    Goog point on the double standard of drunken quotes. It seems that Japan wants foreign help up until they achieve success and then they yank the athlete back home to claim the victory. I agree that Japanese like to blame others and not take responsiblity. It's always the foreigners' fault.


    My sentiments exactly!!

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