Tran Aiming to Obtain Japanese Citizenship

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by ice9, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. ice9

    ice9 Active Member

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    Sorry if this has already been posted.

    Japanese article
    http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20120422-00000052-mai-spo

    rough translation

    >>
    Mervin Tran, a Canadian born figure skater skating Pairs with Narumi Takahashi representing Japan, is aiming to obtain Japanese citizenship, revealed on Sunday 22nd by some JSF person.

    Having Vietnamese father and Cambodian mother, Tran was born in Canada and now has Canadian citizenship. "Olympic games are every athlete's goal," Tran is reported to say, "obviously we are in a very complicated situation, but we realized (from winning the bronze medal at Worlds) that we have something to contribute to Japan."

    According to the JSF person, the success at Worlds has given Tran confidence to compete among the best in the world at the Olympics, and he has made up his mind on this issue. But the problem is that you have to meet strict criteria to become a Japanese citizen, including more than 5 year residency in Japan. "It's impossible for him to become a Japanese citizen in time for Sochi through the regular procedure," the JSF person says, "so we are hoping the government finds some ways to support us."
    >>

    I'm afraid it will be very very difficult (next to impossible :(), but good luck to Mervin anyway! :)
  2. Rock2

    Rock2 New Member

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    No way of knowing but I can't imagine that Japan would just bully through a citizenship in 2 years to a guy with no Japanese heritage, no history of living there and can't speak the language. I know they don't produce a lot of winter olympic medals, but I doubt the Federation would be that desperate.

    If they don't go that pretty much kills Team Japan's hope for a team medal.

    I love T/T, but I just have to think that their bronze was like the Dube/Davison situation in 2008. Enough teams sucked so they snuck through for their one world medal. I don't think we'll see them again on the world podium (except maybe at worlds on the Olympic year) and the JSF probably knows they are long shot...so I'm not sure they will have enough advocates to push this through.
  3. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    Tran earned Japan their first ever World championship medal in Pairs and have been earning good international results for a number of years now.

    Why shouldn't he gain citizenship based on his services to Japan?

    Yes, I know that this law has not been invoked in the past and it's extremely unlikely to get invoked now but why shouldn't it? *stomps his feet like a Rumpelstiltskin*

    Takahashi/Tran had two extremely well choreographed programs this season, both full of transitions. Probably the best programs of the season and with the exception of some of S/S' work, one of the best I have seen ever in pair skating.

    Their basics are very strong, they are elegant, she hits lovely positions in the lifts, etc. etc. etc.

    Yes, they aren't very consistent jumpers but if they manage to land their jumps again, they should easily medal again.
  4. Jenna

    Jenna Well-Known Member

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    Well, there's no harm in at least trying. I highly doubt he will get it, but at least he is making the effort. Their bronze at worlds can only help them.

    I really like T/T. They just need to find a way to make their jumps more consistent if they want to compete with the best on a more regular basis.
  5. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

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    Never understand why teams like this form when they know all the hurdles that have to be overcome. If they were to marry:yikes: would he automatically become a citizen. Then they could divorce after Sochi.
  6. carriemarie

    carriemarie New Member

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    If they land the jumps/throws- They are very dangerous...better than #2 and #3 Russians, All Canadians (ironically) and Americans. They unfortunately are good for at least 3 mistakes a competition however...
  7. carriemarie

    carriemarie New Member

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    I believe she is much older than she appears...am I right in saying 21? If it is really that simple a solution to just marry, I'll help plan the bachelorette!
  8. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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  9. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about that.

    It creates false expectations and disappointment among less knowledgeable fans.

    And if, somehow, the Diet (Japanese Parliament) did grant him citizenship, the pressure to open up citizenship to other people who have actually lived in Japan for many years but cannot meet the normal citizenship requirements (like passing a written test in Japanese) would be enormous. The problem isn't opening up citizenship, but there is something wrong about granting it only to one young man who has never lived in the country while denying it to many others who have.)
  10. bek

    bek Guest

    Except for the fact that the one man could potentially earn them Olympic medal (team) and perhaps even future Olympic medals in pairs, a lot of those people living in Japan can't.

    To be frank I think T/T should be like give him citizenship or we will skate for Canada.
  11. CantALoop

    CantALoop Well-Known Member

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    Granted the Japanese naturalization process is difficult enough, but at this point is there even enough time to get the ball rolling for Tran?
  12. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

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    If they want to be sure they can go to the Olympics he should move to Japan now and start learning the language so that he can meet the requirements for 2018.
  13. bmcg

    bmcg Well-Known Member

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    I would think their biggest selling point would be that without Tran Japan has no team for the the team event where they have a great shot at Gold. Possibility of bronze in pairs is a crapshoot and not much to bargain with. A gold in a team event would be more enticing.
  14. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    Is that a meaningful distinction?

    What about being integrated into Japanese society, speaking the Japanese language fluently, paying Japanese income tax, or having a Japanese spouse and children?
  15. maggylyn

    maggylyn Well-Known Member

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    I hope Tran is making attempts to learn Japanese. Even if he never gets citizenship, just the fact that he is representing Japan on the international stage makes it important to put in some effort to learn the language and culture.
  16. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

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    If they skate for Canada and have bad performances by chance at Canadian Nationals, they could lose to Duhamel/Radford and Moore-Towers/Moscovitch and not go to the Olympics anyway..
  17. blue_idealist

    blue_idealist Well-Known Member

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    Well, they still get to compete at Worlds even if this doesn't work, which is a big deal for them. Competing at Worlds and not Olympics is better than not having a partner at all, or having a partner who isn't good enough to qualify for the Worlds with you.
  18. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    Could he qualify under the "special relationship" provision?
  19. love_skate2011

    love_skate2011 Well-Known Member

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    that is Impossible, other than Japan being of the most strict in regards to citizenship and Immigration. regarding VIP, it may have to go to the Parliament and other things before this is approved.

    and if they give Tran special VIP treatment
    it will cause an uproar to the Korean, Chinese and Filipino minorities in Japan
    that have been living for many years but have faced so much discrimination
    regarding their citizenship status

    fact is, Japan wil look at the bigger picture
    and I still think T/T bronze at Worlds was a fluke :blah:

    pls Tran = No Japanese Heritage !
    so this a long shot maybe 2018 ?
    maybe even Canada might want to bring him back by then
  20. apatinar

    apatinar New Member

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    Unfortunately, Japan is a very closed society and there are a lot more things that are important than one man having a long shot for an Olympic pairs medal.
  21. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

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    I agre. T/T did a great job this year at worlds but P/T and B/L had a bad long program, S/H missed one lift and K/S missed two lifts, without the major mistakes of those teams they would have not won a medal. It's no different than the Shibs winning last year because the French team fell.

    They even won 2nd at NHK and won a trip to GPF only because S/S performed so badly.

    They've had pretty good results, not bad but certainly not as good as some.

    World Championships 9th, 3rd
    Four Continents Championships 5th, 7th, 5th
    World Team Trophy 2nd
    Grand Prix Final 6th
    Cup of Russia 2nd
    Skate Canada 4th
    NHK Trophy 8th, 3rd, 2nd (S/S mistakes for them the silver and a spot at the GPF)

    Their coach has said the only reason he pair them is because Tran 'looked' Japanese and he said it was more aesthetically pleasing than pairing her up with a Caucasian.
  22. victorskid

    victorskid Skating supporter

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    In the team interview before the medal presentation yesterday, Mervin said a few words in Japanese. I'm not sure what/how well but it seemed (at least to me) sort of similar to what came from the Reeds in the same interview. I would think the latter would have/should have had more opportunities to speak the language.
  23. Belinda

    Belinda Member

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    Well, I can understand why Narumi had to look outside Japan for a partner. After all she has a number of predecessors. But what about Mervin? Was he so desparate as to end up looking for a partner outside Canada?
  24. algonquin

    algonquin Well-Known Member

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    If I recall correctly, Narumi was training in Canada and asked her coach, Richard Gaulthie, to find a partner for her.
  25. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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    This thread from earlier this season has a translated French article about Tran in which he describes how he paired up with Narumi: http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/showthread.php?t=81635
  26. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    No, he wouldn't.

    Which is why it will most likely never happen. :(

    And leave Gauthier and Marcotte to train with... (there are no elite level pair coaches in Japan)?

    There are people who have been living and working in Japan for years (including those who have been married to Japanese spouses) who have been unable to obtain citizenship.

    It has never been invoked yet.
  27. walei

    walei Well-Known Member

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    How tall is Mervin, he seems kind of short for a pairs skater so maybe Narumi was one of the only girls small enough and capable enough to pair up with him?
  28. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Tran wasn't considering pairs skating, so it was her coaches who identified him as a fit with Takahashi. He wasn't a smallish (for pairs) man searching for a pairs partner.

    He's 5'9", a little taller than Robin Szolkowy.
  29. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

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    If T&T actually competed for Canada by the time of 2013 Worlds, there would be an excellent chance that T&T and the other Canadian team (probably D&R) would qualify for 3 teams. They would this year had T&T been competing for Canada.

    Anyways, I wish Tran all the best. But I'm just wondering why they didn't do this sooner. Was the bronze medal the catalist? I mean, they had a very bright future from the start, practically.
  30. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    She'd have to give up Japanese citizenship were she to get Canadian citizenship in time for Sochi, which in itself would take both expedited Permanent Resident processing and an exemption to the residency rules for citizenship. (For Permanent Residency, she'd qualify under the "self-employed" category for world-class artists and athletes.)

    She may be tied more to her citizenship than he is to Canadian citizenship.
  31. flowerpower

    flowerpower Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that Mervin is very tied to his Canadian citizenship, since he was born here, has always lived and trained here, and has a serious girlfriend in Montreal. He might, though, be willing to give it up temporarily, since he could probably get it back fairly easily.

    Narumi has lived and trained in Canada for quite a few years, so she has had residency for a long time. Her application for Canadian citizenship could probably be expedited. As I understand it, the problem is that if she gave up her Japanese citizenship (as Japan would require her to do, since they do not permit dual citizenship), it would be very hard to get back. She may not be willing to do that.
  32. walei

    walei Well-Known Member

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    I don't know how the Japanese public/media would feel if Narumi gave up her Japanese citizenship and skate for Canada. Had they done this before becoming more high profile it would be okay but now that they are World Bronze Medalists situation may be different.

    Has there been any skaters in the same situation in the past? Switching countries after they become high profile?
  33. Roxanne

    Roxanne New Member

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    Wouldn't they have to sit out a whole season if they switched to Canada?
  34. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    Sure. I think the prime example is Julia Soldatova, who was a World Bronze Medalist for Russia before switching to Belarus. The pairs skater Tatiana Volosozhar finished fourth for Ukraine at Euros four times before switching partners and and skating for Russia. Others I can think of (depending on your definition of "high profile") include Elena Berezhnaya and Fedor Andreev (who switched disciplines as well as countries).

    Two whole seasons, just like a singles skater who switches countries, which is why they are very unlikely to do it. The one-season rule for pairs and dance doesn't apply when both partners are switching federations.
  35. Roxanne

    Roxanne New Member

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    Okay. That confirms that it's impossible for them to go to Sochi. oh well. The Olympics is just one event. Hopefully, Japan will get another pair soon.
  36. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

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    Robin Szolkowy is 5'9"

    Ask Yuko Kavaguti, the reason she skated for Russia is because getting her former partner Japanese citizenship was impossible.
  37. Ozzisk8tr

    Ozzisk8tr Well-Known Member

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    Two words: Tanith Belbin.

    Seriously though, I hope he can, though it is doubtful. So sad for skaters who love their sport and work so hard can miss out on that Olympic dream because they don't fit a certain criteria. Politics and sport should never mix, like religion and politics. That's my opinion anyway.
  38. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    There are different visas under which someone can live and train in Canada. She may or may not have a Permanent Resident visa, which is the pre-requisite for citizenship, and most other visas take far less paperwork, effort, and money.

    In one of the threads about Yuko Kavaguti, someone wrote that Kavaguti could request her Japanese citizenship back ten years after she relinquished it.

    I don't remember Smirnov saying he'd be willing to give up his Russian citizenship to skate for Japan in the Olympics. I might have missed this.

    5'9" is rounding up for both Szolkowy and Tran, since they are listed at 175cm on their official bios.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  39. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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  40. allezfred

    allezfred Prick Admin Staff Member

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    Ten words: Japanese citizenship regulations are a lot tougher than American ones.

    I believe julieann was referring to Yuko's previous partner Alexander Markuntsov. They medalled at Junior World's representing Japan.
    Ozzisk8tr and (deleted member) like this.