Japanese figure skating 2021-22 season news & updates

gotoschool

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960
For the men, the decision is non-controversial. I am glad Kao is right up there and he is going to be the future along with Yuma and Shun once Yuzuru and Shoma retire. Just a bit upset about Sota not getting any assignment after a promising short program (and less chaotic GP season).

For the ladies, Wakaba and Mai both messed up 2017 Worlds that Japanese women lost a spot for 2018, both struggled in the next few seasons after that, but both rebounded solidly this season. I am so happy for Wakaba but feel Mai also deserve that Olympic spot. I don't necessarily feel Mana outskated Mai at Natioals, and when the entire season is taken into account, I feel Mai deserve the spot more. It is especially sad that Mai does not even get Worlds like Wakaba did in 2018. Satoko will remain my favorite but sadly she isn't staying competitive enough with jump issues. Also sad that Rika does not get to compete.
I really appreciate your view that Mai deserved the spot more, but I don't think that Mai messed up Worlds in 2017. Mai actually finished 5th and her total score was slightly higher than her international season average with almost 198, by contrast Wakaba finished 11th with a little over 186. I believe that 13 places or less is required from two skaters to get 3 spots so if Wakaba had even done slightly worse in placement than Mai they would have still had 3 places. I hold fast to the view that the JSF's unjust preoccupation with having to have a Hamada skater at Worlds and the Olympics is the main reason Mai was unjustly lowballed in Nationals scores while doubling down by also ignoring her superior scores during the Grand Prix season.
 

Marco

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15,103
I really appreciate your view that Mai deserved the spot more, but I don't think that Mai messed up Worlds in 2017. Mai actually finished 5th and her total score was slightly higher than her international season average with almost 198, by contrast Wakaba finished 11th with a little over 186. I believe that 13 places or less is required from two skaters to get 3 spots so if Wakaba had even done slightly worse in placement than Mai they would have still had 3 places. I hold fast to the view that the JSF's unjust preoccupation with having to have a Hamada skater at Worlds and the Olympics is the main reason Mai was unjustly lowballed in Nationals scores while doubling down by also ignoring her superior scores during the Grand Prix season.

I said that because I feel I shouldn't put the blame on losing / not gaining a 3rd spot on any one skater when it is a team effort. Mai and Wakaba both messed up on their solo flip in the short leaving them having to fight from behind and earlier groups. I think this fact was not lost on the Federation when they decided the Olympic team the next season.

As for Mana over Mai this season, it could be political as you said (I am not familiar with the background of this), or it could simply be a developmental stance from the Federation to prefer an up and comer with a 3axel in both programs instead of a solid, normally consistent veteran skater maxed out at the lutz.
 

Sonata

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789
Has Hanyu been able to train in Canada at all this season? I just watched his FP from Nationals. He looks very well prepared despite his recent injury. I was wondering what his coaching arrangement is.
 

Vash01

Fan of Yuzuru, T&M, P&C
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53,159
Nagoya Figure Skate Festival (Jan. 4, 2022) - current skater list:

Skaters listed as of 12/27/21:

Shoma Uno
Yuma Kagiyama
Keiji Tanaka
Kazuki Tomono
Kao Miura
Sota Yamamoto
Shunsuke Nakamura
Tatsuya Tsuboi
Note: Shun Sato WD after Nationals due to injury

Kaori Sakamoto
Satoko Miyahara (added today)
Rino Matsuike
Mai Mihara
Mana Kawabe
Yuhana Yokoi
Hana Yoshida
Mao Shimada (current Junior & Novice A champion, age 12)
Rin Nitaya
Marin Honda

Local junior novice:
Kaoruko Wada (current Novice A Women's silver medalist behind Mao Shimada)
Kamizono Koina (?)

Newly retired skaters (2021) Rika Hongo and Yura Matsuda will appear as special guests.
Great line up!
 

Dobre

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12,571
I really should have stopped by here earlier to say . . .

Wakaba! :cheer2::cheer2: :cheer2:

I love her arrangement for the Lion King. Feel like Fear & Gibson were seduced by Circle of Life (which is such a wonderful song who can blame them); but this arrangement for Wakaba tells the story.
 

olympic

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10,484
What I really appreciate about the JPN men and women is the quiet but relentlessly good results they have in competitions, generally speaking. Looking at the results of 4CCs, their 2nd string is hitting it so far which shows depth and a great future. I wish the US did the same thing especially regards to our 2nd string of women and men. Interestingly, we are doing quite well and consistent in Pairs and Ice Dance lately.

Looking forward to the Olympics, it has been said already but I can see a scenario where if any RUS not named Valieva falters, a JPN woman could be there to snag a spot on the podium
 

Karen-W

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17,297
What I really appreciate about the JPN men and women is the quiet but relentlessly good results they have in competitions, generally speaking. Looking at the results of 4CCs, their 2nd string is hitting it so far which shows depth and a great future. I wish the US did the same thing especially regards to our 2nd string of women and men. Interestingly, we are doing quite well and consistent in Pairs and Ice Dance lately.

Looking forward to the Olympics, it has been said already but I can see a scenario where if any RUS not named Valieva falters, a JPN woman could be there to snag a spot on the podium
FWIW, Audrey Shin just skated PBs in both the SP and FS at 4CCs. She did remarkably well in holding up the US 2nd tier despite not coming home with a medal. Baby steps back to relevancy for the US women.
 

clairecloutier

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I don’t know if this has been posted before? Shoma Uno is using skate blades designed by former Japanese star Takahiko Kozuka:

 

Sylvia

Rooting for underdogs!
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70,621
@rosewood (I miss her posts) posted this in late December 2021 (last season's JPN news thread):
One trivia: Shoma changed to Kozuka blades.

Ryuichi Kihara also uses Kozuka blades. (Use the photo to compare the shape of Shoma's blades.)

IIRC Takahito Mura who is skating in Mao's Thanks Tour uses Kozuka blades, too.
Skater clients are displayed here: https://www.instagram.com/kozuka_blades/
 

Sylvia

Rooting for underdogs!
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@kittyjake5 mentioned during Japanese Nationals last month:
... Shoma is currently dealing with an ankle injury. Demi-san (Shoma's physical therapist) has been treating him and is at Nationals with him.
This fan's tweet today - "Shoma will leave for Beijing in a few days in order for Demi-san to treat his ankle as much as possible" (the end of Uno's 1/30/22 video includes footage of him landing 4T+3T, 4T+2T & 3A+1Eu+2F at the Chukyo University rink): https://twitter.com/shoma_uno_/status/1487731360303390721
 
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Sylvia

Rooting for underdogs!
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Article by Nick McCarvel (Jan. 29) titled Hanyu Yuzuru's quest for the quadruple Axel, explained:

Yuma Kagiyama article by Jack Gallagher (Jan. 29):

Jack Gallagher recapped Team Japan's performances at last week's 4CC in Tallinn & the Bavarian Open:
The three junior singles skaters easliy got their TES minimums for 2022 Junior Worlds, along with Cathy Reed's junior ice dance team of Nao Kida/Masaya Morita (Hana Yoshida is a JW alternate):
Yoshida opened her free skate to “Planet Ocean Suite” with a beautiful triple axel, and went on to land six clean triples while earning level fours on her spins and step sequence on Thursday, January 20.
[Rinka] Watanabe fell on her opening triple axel in her free skate, but recovered to land five clean triples and post level fours on two of her spins and step sequence.
Tatsuya Tsuboi dominated in the junior men’s category, winning by more than 43 points with a total of 238.34 on Friday, January 21. After a difficult couple of seasons, Tsuboi, the 2018 Japan junior champion, has been enjoying a renaissance this campaign.
The 19-year-old Tsuboi, who finished second behind [Kao] Miura at this season’s Japan Junior Championships, began his free skate with a nice quad salchow and landed six clean triples on the way to victory in Oberstdorf, Germany.
 

Sylvia

Rooting for underdogs!
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Jackie Wong's Rocker Live chat with Riku Miura & Ryuichi Kihara (Jan. 28) before they left for the Olympics: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CZS05adpEEX/

They arrived from Canada in the early morning hours of Jan. 30 ("Kihara slept for 1 hour, Miura did not sleep") and went to practice at the competition arena. Kihara was quoted as saying afterwards: "That (after winning a medal in a team competition) is ideal. Hopefully. I want to eat pizza."
 

livetoskate

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1,714
What an amazing story! I have never even heard of Gillis Grafstrom before. It's incredible that his stepdaughter is still alive and able to share the family stories. She spoke in English to the reporter and looks great too!
 

Amantide

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4,306
I enjoyed Kaori a lot. Great performance and program.
I loved Wakaba performance immensely. Not at Kaori's level technically perhaps but the quality of her skating is just wonderful. The use of her body movement is unmatched. The interpretation is top notch. I wanted to give her hug from joy when she finished. This was really her song. :love:
 

gotoschool

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Messages
960
I enjoyed Kaori's fast speed and flow and Wakaba's fabulous triple axel and impressive commitment to really go for all her elements, but I am heartbroken for Mana. I sincerely hope she is able to make it back and become even better. I think the best way to nurture Mana's development and make Japan's three places for Worlds more secure is to send Mai Mihara to Worlds especially since Mana is 6 years younger than Mai and will probably benefit from some time to recover and hone her skills. What's more Mai has certainly earned the right to be there with an average of 215+ over three international competitions and a 4CC championship win this season.
 
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shah

Shhh... shhh...
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3,800
I enjoyed Kaori's fast speed and flow and Wakaba's fabulous triple axel and impressive commitment to really go for all her elements, but I am heartbroken for Mana. I sincerely hope she is able to make it back and become even better. I think the best way to nurture Mana's development and make Japan's three places for Worlds more secure is to send Mai Mihara to Worlds especially since Mana is 6 years younger than Mai and will probably benefit from some time to recover and hone her skills. What's more Mai has certainly earned the right to be there with an average of 215+ over three international competitions and a 4CC championship win this season.
Is sending Mai likely, though? JSF has already announced the Worlds team and it includes Mana Kawabe.

I find the whole situation extremely unfair for Mai :(.
 

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