Japanese Olympic Snowboard Athlete Apologizes for His Attitude

February 12, 2010

If you were around for the last Winter Olympics, I am sure you heard about the complete meltdown of the Japanese Snowboarding Team. The bad rap songs by Melo Imai, the team failing in the qualifying round then reportedly destroying a wall in their Olympic village dorm. Melo Imai is said to have completely broken down and is now working in the sex industry in Japan.

kokubo japanese olympic snowboard teamAnother famous quotation from a member of the Japan Snowboarding Team four years ago was, “Eat my full-course.” (“Kokubo no furukosu wo meshi agare.”) Kokubo, the snowboarder who said it promptly failed in the qualifying round.

Now Kokubo is back with a vengeance. Four years older and none the maturer, Kokubo deemed the team uniforms “uncool” and let his pants creep down to expose his undies, loosened his tie, and untucked his shirt. He also was sure to take a break from his training to go to the beautician for hours of whatever it took to turn his hair into temporary dreadlocks.

When asked by reporters about his “rival”, United States snowboarder Shaun White, Kokubo seemed to suddenly fall into a bad mood and started giving one word answers and ignoring some of the questions from the media.

He later apologized (video below) with the same bad attitude, sounding like a scolded junior high school kid.

UPDATED VIDEO: The other video had been taken down so here is another one in which you can hear him saying “Shut up” (Urusee na) before apologizing, and when asked what he wants people to think of him when the see him compete, he answered “Cool” (Shibui). He’ll have his chance… I know a lot of people that are looking forward to the halfpipe just to see how he redeems himself or fails.

I know that the clothes don’t really matter too much, but he is also representing his country. Agree or not, he agreed to talk to the media and represent Japan in a positive way. (Similar to many of the rules about being available to the media found in many pro sports.) It is also a shame that he couldn’t compliment other snowboarders or just say he would do his best.

I am not sure yet how Kokubo made the team, but Japan often has very strange ways of choosing its Olympic team members, and it is not always based exclusively on ability. It would be nice to see someone on the team make it out of the qualifying round though. Japan vs USA showdowns are always fun in my household.


1 jay@newzjapan February 13, 2010 at 11:28 am

There are rumors that the Japanese Olympic Committee have decided to keep Kokubo from walking because of his immature attitude and breaking JOC rules. Let’s see if he gets a last minute reprieve.

2 shreda-holic February 18, 2010 at 10:35 am

have you seen Kokubo ride man he kills it, and so what if he wears clothes a certain way- i understand the japanese are strict with appearance and the international olympic community is full of tight wads, this kid kills; goes bigger than most pros; and doesn’t give an f- i rode with him at the b-shoot at northstar where he was boosting 20 plus feet on a 30 ft hip- he’s got skill and deserves to compete with the olympic caliber rider- don’t bag his skills based on the olympic standard. As far as snowboarding goes he’s a bad a..

3 jay@newzjapan February 18, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Shreda-holic – Thanks a lot for commenting. I’m glad to hear from someone with personal experience writing.

I think the problem people in Japan have with him is more about saying shut up to the media, and his attitude toward fans, teammates, and the snowboard officials. If it were just the clothes it wouldn’t have gone as far as it did. When he gets back to Japan he’ll have a chance to talk to the media again and hopefully they’ll recognize the effort he made.

I respect him making his second run at the Olympics with a bloody mouth though. He and Aono both had respectable performances so hopefully that will do a lot to smooth the snow between him, the fans, and the media. I’ll try to follow up on this story if I see anything positive come up.

4 Jacob March 25, 2010 at 11:23 am

Is he crazy?

or just a sneaky japanese.

5 jay@newzjapan March 25, 2010 at 11:53 am

He must be a little crazy, right? I mean he’s in an extreme sport. Actually this month he won his event at the US Open so congratulations to him for that.

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