What Yuzu wrote in his elementary school graduation album
A Moment ~Hanyu Yuzuru~
In these 6 years, the thing that has remained most in my mind is skating. I learned of fun and frustration and many other things. 5 years after I started skating, in grade 4, I participated in nationals for the first time. I was more excited than nervous. I practised harder than usual while thinking “I must win.” The day came. My turn to go was number 1. The people from my club told me, “Number 1 is tough, but please try your best.” I said, “I’m good at being number 1, so it will be alright” and the nervousness of everyone and myself was eased. "Number 1, Hanyu Yuzuru kun.“ The cue came and I started my performance. I thought of nothing else and became totally absorbed in giving my best to my performance. In a blink, I was at the ending moment with my final pose. The large crowd gave me a thunderous applause. Now I still remember that moment. I was very happy. And for the first time, I thought, "I want to thank the audience.” In this big competition, I learned the feeling of “wanting to thank the audience”. I want to continue skating and learning many things along the way.
(translated by me) (pic credit: horiyan)
*He won the gold at this competition but he did not mention it at all. Instead, he wrote about feeling thankful. Only 12 years old, and he already had that grateful heart that we see in him now.
**I think his handwriting is really nice for a 12 year-old boy. :)
At the Ghana chocolate event, Yuzuru said he does not go to the seaside much because he is not good at it/does not like it. Later, when the reporter asked why, (at 2:16 of video) he says he cannot swim and he is also not someone who likes walking barefoot on the sandy beach. So he is only good on frozen water. Not liquid water. ^^
At 1:16, she asked if his heart beat faster when the 3 girls called him “Yuzuru-kun”. He said yes and he was a bit perplexed (or felt a bit lost) . He has not been directly called this since maybe elementary school. (In another video, he said fans might use that but people directly calling him usually use Hanyu-kun or Yuzu or Yuzuru, but not Yuzuru-kun.) :D haha so cute.
Last movie I watched: I’m currently watching one, but in parts over a few days because I keep getting inspired and writing down thoughts. It’s Double Mints, watching a screening of it for Psycho-Drama, a Japanese film and drama website.
Top 3 fictional characters: I’ve got too many and it’s really impossible to rank them so I’ll just throw out the ones that come to mind first. They may not be the best or ultimate faves. In no particular order,
Yeo Un of Warrior Baek Dong Soo: Yoo Seung Ho’s acting is just out of this world despite the terrible writing. Singlehandedly saved the show from ruins.
Ninomae Juuichi of SPEC (the jdrama and jmovie franchise): Because he is Ninomae-sama, that’s why. He’s evil yet retains the freshness and childlike innocence of a kid. Ninomae is literally the embodiment of childlike cruelty, like the child one sees at the bus stop, squashing ants for the fun of it. The incongruity is fascinating and Kamiki’s layered and skilled performance is captivating.
Thranduil of The Hobbit: Lee Pace’s acting and aura outstrips everyone around him by miles. This guy has got skill and added so much charm and beauty to what was originally a normal side-role and elevated it to a memorable fan-favourite.
Top 3 ships:
Akabane Karma X Okuda Manami (from Assassination Classroom)
Hori-senpai X Kashima (from Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun)
Hanyu Yuzuru X Pooh (you didn’t say that the ships can’t be real life hahahah)
Bonus (because I am greedy): Sad Eyes X Namsoon (The Duelist [the kmovie])
Currently reading: Nothing right now, but I just finished 有匪 by priest. It’s a pretty well-written wuxia novel with organic growth of characters and minimal unnecessary angst that are there just for the sake of being there. It has the current trend of the imperial sphere overlapping with wuxia sphere but executes it really well and avoiding most of the tropes (most. it does have a bit of tropeyness which, lbr, is unavoidable since so many works have been using this and one is bound to cover the same ground). The main character is a girl who grows in all aspects (personality, maturity, skills, martial arts) throughout the course of the story and is a layered character. Neither the female nor the male lead overshadows the other overwhelmingly in most aspects and both have their own strengths and weaknesses and they complement each other very well. The male lead is also a rare gem who deviates from the oh-so-cliche macho chauvinistic aggressive alpha male stock so common in Chinese yanqing/romance/historical online fiction these days. Their relationship also progresses from strangers to friends to confidantes and to lovers. tl;dr, READ THIS BOOK.
(It’s good that I have many friends but if I miss you out I’m sorry! I kind of lost track *sweats* Some of us talk less to each other or maybe not at all so I’m tagging too so that we can know each other better)
Ghana Chocolate event (29 Aug 2016), 11 min video of parts with Yuzuru.
2:25 of video- Yuzu: Skate season is coming. I will be having more and more performances in front of everyone, so I really look forward to that. And Tao-san, please try skating. Do try ice sports as well. (laughs) [because she was talking about wanting to challenge sea sports]
MC: Now let’s try addressing one another not by family names but by your own names. So instead of saying ‘Hanyu-senshu’, please say 'Yuzuru-kun’.
[note: 'senshu’ means athlete and is a formal way of addressing a sports person. ’-kun’ is informal and a more endearing form of addressing a boy or young man.]
MC: How did you feel hearing that? Yuzu: Nervous! (laughter) MC: Normally do you get called 'Yuzuru-kun’? Yuzu: Not much. Fans might use that but usually it’s 'Hanyu-kun’ or 'Yuzu’ or 'Yuzuru’. MC: So how was it hearing it from 3 girls so near you? Yuzu: I could not look at their faces at all. (laughter)
MC: Well now it’s your turn, can you please look at their faces and address them by their names? [**the MC is so mean, haha!**]
Yuzu: Yes. Airi-chan, Tao-chan, Suzu-chan, I will enjoy today.
MC: Hanyu-senshu, you seem so shy. Yuzu: I used ’-chan’, but then at the end I said ‘-masu’….. haha…. Yes I was feeling embarrassed. [note: when you address someone as ‘-chan’, it means a certain familiarity and you use the informal form of the verb at the end of the sentence instead of the polite -masu form. Yuzu is laughing at himself for being so awkward and having a funny mix in his sentence. ^^]
4:18 Yuzu: During the filming of the CM, there was a cut of eating (the chocolate). I was only required to eat a bit, but each time, I ate about half of it. There were more than 5 takes, so I ate about 2 to 3 bars at that time….. (laughs) It was really delicious…. The director also filmed me continuously eating the chocolate. (laughs)
5:35 One of the girls, Suzu-san, said she has been doing muscle training. MC: But muscle training and you seems the most mismatched…. Hanyu-senshu, you are reacting to this too. (he was nodding in agreement)
Yuzu: As an athlete, I think about various things regarding muscles. But looking at this body (Suzu’s), I’m thinking where are the muscles? (laughter)
Suzu: At my stomach. Muscles have started to form and I am aiming for a 6-pack. But maybe 6-pack will look awful on me, so now I am having family meetings about it. (laughter)
MC: (About women having 6-pack) Hanyu-senshu, what do you think?
Yuzu: Hmm….. I think it can look good. Slender ladies look beautiful and there are many skaters who are like that. They all look good. Suzu-san also. I would surely like to see it. (laughter)
MC: We will look forward to a chance to see that! (laughter)
Suzu-san gestures towards her stomach, like splitting it up.
Yuzu: Split into 6 parts…. If you can, eight parts might be good too. (laughter)
[**haha…. Yuzu is so naughty! Telling her to go for 8-pack! Look at how much he is laughing at his own suggestion! He is such a tease!!**]
6:50 MC: How about you, Hanyu-senshu? Recently what are things that get you excited? [t/n. in Japanese, the word means “make your heart throb”]
Yuzu: Lately, I am working really hard at practice and so there is nothing but skating that I am excited about. I am looking ahead towards the competitions and working hard so that I can do good performances.
MC: When we watch you perform, we get very excited. For yourself, do you also get very excited when you do a good performance?
Yuzu: Mm….. I think I like the reaction. When I am skating, I am concentrating on myself, so I don’t really feel anything. But when I finish and the music stops, the reaction and cheers from everyone really make my heart race.
8:36 MC: Now please show the photo that “gets your heart throbbing".
Yuzu shows a photo of his earphones.
MC: What are these? Yuzu: They are my earphones. When I have work to do, I bring them along with me. One, two, three… (counting the ones in the pic)…. eight. I bring eight with me.
MC: I’m thinking, are they really such a necessity? Yuzu: Well….. I have wireless ones too. They each give different sound quality. At times when I am very particular about the sound, or times when I think I want to listen to this kind of music and this kind of sound quality, I get very excited with the earphones that I am obsessed about.
[**haha….. nothing very much new about what he loves.^^]
My husband and I watching the Olympic Games in Sochi 2014, when Yuzuru Hanyu won the gold medal:
Me: Finally, the figure skating! Voice on TV: And now the representative of Japan: Yuzuru Hanyu Me: AAHH… HOW NICE!!! DJ: What’s all that noise? Me: The boy from Japan, is great … look, look!! DJ: Well, come on, let’s see … but fast… DJ: AH…
The real Yuzuru Hanyu: In the words of a photographer from the same city (Sunao Noto)
—The city in which Yuzuru Hanyu was born and raised—Sendai, Miyagi . A photographer based in this city who has been photographing Yuzuru Hanyu since 2007 and his warm gaze towards the continued growth of a 19 year old.
I became a figure skating photographer in September 2006, after the Torino Olympics. It was at the occasion of an ice show in Sendai by Torino Olympic gold medalist Shizuka Arakawa who grew up here.
The first time I met the skater named Yuzuru Hanyu was in 2007. It was at the National Junior Championships that was being held in Sendai. In line with my impression of him from local news on television, though he was a 12 year old who still retained some remnants of childishness, his powerful performance made me think that a new and promising skater had emerged.
After the medal ceremony, I saw a man I recognised beside Yuzuru Hanyu-senshuu. This was Hanyu-sensei who had been one of my teachers in junior high school. When I learnt that the father of the 12 year old rising star was my former teacher, I felt a sense of “fate” and also genuine surprise.
The first time I took his portrait at a photo shoot was when he was in the second year of junior high. As I pressed the shutter I thought with admiration “He conducts himself really well for his age.” Since that time he has always been very well-mannered, and at public events such as press conferences he has constantly been able to articulate his thoughts in a well organized and reasoned way. At that time I honestly thought the way he conducted himself was remarkable; I still think the same way now. Also, Yuzuru-kun at that time and even now has never forgotten to always have a sense of gratitude, and to treat everyone with concern and gentleness. (Though they have only met once in Sendai, since that meeting he has always been concerned about my son who is going to turn 2 years old, for which I am thankful.)
While he is mature for his age, there is another side to his personality. I think that this gap between his “on” and “off ” modes is also a part of his charm. A few years ago, when he said “You can’t take photos now~”, I jokingly told him “I’ll complain to sensei (referring to Yuzuru’s father)” and he let me take one shot.
On 11 March 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred. The skating rink Yuzuru-kun used as his training base was badly damaged and had to close. Nevertheless, with thoughts of “For the affected areas, as a representative of the affected people”, he performed in ice-shows across the country and continued skating. I was in Sendai at the time of the disaster and when I saw his performance I felt thankful that I was still alive and also thought that I had to look ahead and work hard.
During that period I learnt of a charity ice show in Kobe that would feature Shizuka Arakawa-san and Daisuke Takahashi-kun, as well as Yuzuru-kun. Somehow I really wanted to take photos of this event and made my way there, first by car via the reopened highway to Haneda Airport and then by plane to Kobe. There I experienced once again the wonder and appeal of figure skating. At the same time, I felt I wanted to continue to photograph Yuzuru-kun.
That same summer, I did a photo shoot with him in Sendai. His expression seemed a little more serious and restrained than previously.
Under unsatisfactory training conditions, he won the bronze medal at the 2012 World Championships held in Nice, France, in March 2012. I really thought he performed splendidly. To see how strong he had become was reassuring. I was there as a photographer and I found it difficult to take photos with my tears seeping through the viewfinder…
After that he moved his training base to Toronto in Canada, and when I saw him again at the Grand Prix series and the World Championships, his expression and the air about him was that of a grown-up.
From my perspective as a photographer, Yuzuru Hanyu the skater is a skater who is easy to photograph. As his gaze would often be directed upwards during his performance, it is easy to capture his expressions that are linked to his movements, and also to create bold compositions during his dynamic movements. At the same time, there would be those unexpected, fleeting moments such as when he would smile gently. To avoid missing these moments I worked carefully and attentively.
On one occasion when I was taking photos at the backstage of a particular ice show, Yuzuru-kun said to me “I would like to take photos too”. I handed him my camera and he began to happily take photos of Tatsuki Machida-kun and Kanako Murakami-chan who were with us. Those photos he took were very good.
At Sochi, he would wave in greeting when he saw me. I thought “It is impressive how calm and composed he is at his first Olympics”. At his individual FS, although he failed to land his opening quad salchow, I was amazed at his courage in fighting through the second half of his programme and not falling apart. Right now, to see him win the gold medal, although I had thought that someday he would compete at the highest level of the sport internationally, he has raced to this point much faster than I expected. I feel happy for and proud of him. I congratulate him from my heart.
After the medal ceremony, holding the medal around his neck with his hand he said “With this, I’ll go back to Sendai” as he exchanged a firm hand shake with me. I look forward to be able to meet him again in Sendai. I would like to continue photographing him, as someone who shares the same hometown, treasuring this curious “fate” of his father having been my teacher.
Translator’s note: Sunao Noto has taken some of my favourite photos of Yuzuru and through this article I felt I caught a glimpse of how someone who has worked with Yuzuru for a long time and watched him grow up regard him. He has also highlighted some of the qualities I admire most in Yuzuru—his gratitude, his manners and his kindness towards others (^_^). It took me a long time to translate this as there were many expressions in it that I have always found difficult to translate into English, I hope this is a good read for you^^.
Yuzu could not participate in this year’s Fantasy On Ice and I miss him, but there is happy news that he is back to training!! With his talent and hard work, the feel of the ice and jumps will come back quickly, but he may have feelings of anxiety and impatience, so I hope he will not do anything unreasonable and just take it slowly one day at a time.
This photo was taken last year at FaOI Shizuoka. I just contacted him to ask if I can post it. He said, yes it’s ok! And then we had a fun/interesting chat. He sounded ‘genki’ [well/lively] And it made me very happy! Then he said “Please send the message that I am not sick *laugh* ” so I am writing it here. *wink+laugh* Hope to see his 'genki’ appearance on the ice again.
In his senior debut season, he came in third place right off the bat at the GP Final. This promising star has two sides to him — on-ice and off-ice. In this exclusive interview, we see the true face of the “Tiny Titan.”
He stands at 159cm. When you see him by the boards, you see a rather unimposing person, but the moment he takes to the ice, his stature multiples tenfold. He embodies the aura of a giant and performs at that size, stirring the hearts of an audience of 10,000.
Uno Shoma is constantly changing between his big and small self. Let’s take a look at the unexpected hidden side — the aesthetics of his competitiveness.