a message from the emperor


From the Emperor to the young King

A video on Yuzuru and his idol Plushenko at Sochi Olympics that I enjoyed. So I translated the main points to share:

Russia’s emperor, Evgeni Plushenko, suddenly withdraws from men’s singles event due to back pain/injury. 

There is a skater who has been chasing after him….. Japan’s young ace, Yuzuru Hanyu.   It can be said that Plushenko was the starting point for Hanyu.

10 year-old Hanyu-senshu who copied Plushenko’s hairstyle.

@2.59 Yuzu: “He is just very strong. In any situation, he always performs with no misses; in any situation, he lands his jumps. He captivates the audience and the judges. I want to become like him and I aimed for the Olympics.”

The first big competition that he is skating with Plushenko is Sochi. (*my own comment: Yuzu grins sheepishly and looks at his idol during practice. So cute.)

Before the men’s singles event is the team event.
(Plushenko’s performance.  *No sound here due to Olympics copyright, I think.  Yuzu is watching intently and clapping.)
Yuzu: “Really, I think these have become irreplaceable memories of my entire life.”

Men’s singles, Hanyu performs his short program. He scores above 100 points, the highest marks in the world. It was the moment that opened up a new era.

However, the next day, it’s the free skate that the gold medal hung upon.
He was not the Hanyu of the previous day. His presence of mind was lost.

Yuzu: “Coach Brian said to me, you have practised a lot. Usually I can answer him. But then I couldn’t. So I thought, ahh I am nervous…”
(Free skate) 
Hanyu-senshu thought he had missed the gold medal.
Yuzu: (Eng) “I’m first? I’m the first? OMG!!!……. Ok…… I was so surprised.”

What decided between victory and defeat were the points in the 2nd half. He pulled himself together and gave his very best.
Japan’s first Olympic gold medalist in men’s figure skating. At 19 years of age, he reached the highest peak.

Hanyu-senshu has become the new king. But it seems that his ideal is still ahead of him.
Yuzu: “I won the Olympic gold and maybe there might be skaters who will start to admire me, like how I started to admire Plushenko.  But I am not done yet;  I want to become a strong skater, like him.”

Plushenko watched Yuzu’s performance and has a message for him. From the emperor to the young king: “Even though he failed (in his jumps), he skated right to the end and he would have grown from it. He has a strong core and I would like him to aim higher, to challenge difficult jumps, and to reach a world that is yet unseen. Because figure skating should evolve.”

(translated by me.  Apologies if there are any mistakes; please let me know.)

The emperor—it is said—sent to you, the one apart, the wretched subject, the tiny shadow that fled far, far from the imperial sun, precisely to you he sent a message from his deathbed. He bade the messenger kneel by his bed, and whispered the message in his ear. So greatly did he cherish it that he had him repeat it into his ear. With a nod of his head he confirmed the accuracy of the messenger’s words. And before the entire spectatorship of his death—all obstructing walls have been torn down and the great figures of the empire stand in a ring upon the broad, soaring exterior stairways—before all these he dispatched the messenger. The messenger set out at once; a strong, an indefatigable man; thrusting forward now this arm, now the other, he cleared a path though the crowd; every time he meets resistance he points to his breast, which bears the sign of the sun; and he moves forward easily, like no other. But the crowds are so vast; their dwellings know no bounds. If open country stretched before him, how he would fly, and indeed you might soon hear the magnificent knocking of his fists on your door. But instead, how uselessly he toils; he is still forcing his way through the chambers of the innermost palace; never will he overcome them; and were he to succeed at this, nothing would be gained: he would have to fight his way down the steps; and were he to succeed at this, nothing would be gained: he would have to cross the courtyard and, after the courtyard, the second enclosing outer palace, and again stairways and courtyards, and again a palace, and so on through thousands of years; and if he were to burst out at last through the outermost gate—but it can never, never happen—before him still lies the royal capital, the middle of the world, piled high in its sediment. Nobody reaches through here, least of all with a message from one who is dead. You, however, sit at your window and dream of the message when evening comes.
—  Franz Kafka, “A Message from the Emperor,” 1919

Princess Vera Konstantinovna the Younger

On [one] occasion, Princess Vera recalled being entrusted to carry a message from her father to the Emperor. In the way of children, she created a drama around the short trip, involving being pursued by enemy soldiers intent on taking the message from her. She forced her small pony to greater and greater speeds, weaving in and out and around the trees and lakes in the park between Pavlovsk and the Alexander Palace. Arriving at the Alexander Palace, she puller her pony up in a Wild-West stop, threw herself off his back, and raced up the steps into th entryway, to be greeted by the startled faces of several servants, who had come to see what the noise was all about. 

Greg King & Penny Wilson: Gilded Prism