In the past two weeks, three separate stories about illegal behavior by young Japanese sports figures have hit the news.
First, an unnamed Japanese snowboarder, apparently a contender for Japan's 2006 Winter Olympics team, was suspended from competition for 10 months after testing positive for marijuana.
Second, the Nippon Ham Fighters baseball team slapped a dormitory curfew on 18-year-old top draft pick Yu Darvish, who was caught smoking (tobacco, not marijuana) in a pachinko parlor during minor-league spring training. The legal age for buying cigarettes in Japan is 20.
Third, and most entertainingly, the Fuji TV network suspended its employee, 28-year-old moguls skier and Winter Olympics gold medalist Tae Satoya "for her role in a nightclub sex brawl." Kyodo News reports:
Satoya threw glasses, kicked tables and chairs, and ended up injuring a bar staffer when he tried to stop her from engaging in sex with a foreign man whose pants were down on the sofa in the VIP room.Having proven they can produce world-class sports stars, it's about time the Japanese produce their own sports star scandals. They're staring small, to be sure, but the Japanese Tonya Harding, Ben Johnson, or Kobe Bryant could be just around the corner.
I'll be awaiting further progress in the VIP room.