The 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games have already entered the second half. Excluding the closing ceremony (the 8th), there are actually 6 days left in the competition schedule. Meanwhile, Korea is ranked 3rd after Japan in the overall score as of 4 p.m. on the 2nd (Korean time). The two countries have the same number of gold medals (30), but Japan (43) is ahead of Korea (39) in silver medals. In terms of bronze medals, Korea (60) is ahead of Japan (44), and in terms of total medals, Korea (129) is ahead of Japan (116).
Previously, the Korea Sports Council proposed 3rd place overall as the goal for this competition. It’s an unusual goal. This is because of the judgment that “we cannot surpass Japan.” Instead, he said, “I will focus on reducing the medal gap with Japan.” It was expected that the gap would be that severe. However, Japan’s gold medal march is slower than expected. Although there are still major sports such as track and field remaining, less than half of the gold medals (75) from the Jakarta-Palembang Games have been won as the competition is more than halfway completed. Why?
First, the slump in swimming (a management sport) is noticeable. Japan swept 19 gold medals at the last Jakarta-Palembang Games, putting it on par with China (19 at the time). As for the total number of medals, Japan (52) was ahead of China (50). However, they performed poorly in this competition and only won five gold medals. In swimming alone, there were 14 fewer gold medals. On the other hand, China made great progress in swimming, winning 28 gold medals. The same goes for Korea, which recorded the highest medal count ever with six gold medals. It is even more painful for Japan because it was a disaster that occurred even though all of its key players were dispatched.
Another sport that performed poorly was judo, Japan’s national sport. Japan won five gold medals in judo at this competition. There were 4 fewer than at the last Jakarta-Palembang competition (9). In fact, it is cut in half. But there is a reason. Japan did not send Olympic medalist-level athletes to this competition. Uta Abe (52kg) and Hifumi Abe (66kg), who became the first siblings to win gold medals side by side in Olympic history at the last Tokyo Olympics, also did not participate. This is to prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Judo is not the only field in which Japan has sent second-level players to the Asian Games. In particular, Japan dispatched second-level players in ball sports such as volleyball and basketball. In particular, baseball is played not by professional players but by members of society (corporate baseball teams). For this reason, since baseball became an official sport in the Asian Games, Japan has only won one gold medal in the seven tournaments. The first competition was the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games held in Japan.
It is not new for Japan to neglect the Asian Games like this. Japan has participated in the competition since the first Asian Games (1951), and took first place with overwhelming results (24 gold medals). Second place was레고토토 the host country, India (15). Although it was a losing country, it proved that Japan is still the best in Asia in sports. Moreover, even at this time, Japan did not let go of the idea that ‘we stand against the West on behalf of Asia.’ This is why Japan placed more importance on the Olympics than the Asian Games. A reporter for a Japanese daily newspaper said, “The media is not very interested in the Asian Games,” and added, “Sports media almost never sent reporters, and only a few general coaches sent a few.”
Japan’s Olympic-centrism also drew backlash. 1982 Olympic Council of Asia ( OCA)) A representative example is the competition with Kuwait to host the council headquarters during the founding process, but Japan was soundly defeated. Although Japan was far ahead in terms of infrastructure and national stability, it could not overcome the antipathy of Asian countries and oil money. The Olympic Council of Asia has been headquartered in Kuwait ever since. There is also an analysis that the reason Seoul (52 votes) overwhelmed Nagoya (27 votes) in the host vote, contrary to expectations in the process of competing to host the 1988 Olympics, was due to the antipathy of other Asian countries toward Japan’s neglect of Asia.