Table Speech

Initiation Speech

March 4, 2009

Mr. Shinji Hattori,
Mr. Masahiro Katsumata

“The Story behind Sports Watches”

Mr. Shinji Hattori,

Stopwatches were originally developed for doctors to take the pulse of their patients, and later came to be used in the field of sports in the 1820s. The minimum unit of measurement was one-fifth second in the 1890s, and later during the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games, it became able to measure at the accuracy of one-tenth second. The system for electronic clocks was established for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, and they eliminated disputes about finishing positions or timings that had previously been reliant on the limitations of the human eye or hand.
Today, sprinting competitions are filmed by 4 high-definition cameras and those video-images are analyzed in the unit of one-thousandth second. Besides that, a sensor and a speaker conveying the sound of the starting gun are built into the starting block, in order to make sure there is no unfairness among the lanes.
Swimmers also compete with each other at the level of one-thousandth second. Touch panels are installed on the walls of swimming pools to capture the finishing point. The panels are dual-structure and the outside panels have 15,000 holes of 4mm-diameters, so as not to be affected by waves or splashes. It was decided to measure by the unit of one-hundredth second rather than one-thousandth second in swimming competitions, as the latter was within the margin of error for installing the panels.
In the 1972 Munich Olympic Games “Men’s Individual 400-meter Medley,” Larsson of Germany won the Gold Medal with the record of 4’ 31’’ 981, while McKee from the USA won the Silver Medal with the record of 4’ 31’’ 983.
In the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, two athletes from the USA achieved the same time, measured to one-hundredth second, and the Gold Medals were awarded to both of them.
Thanks to the advances in electronic high-technology, today’s timepieces provide us with fair and accurate data. However, the makers and administers of the timepieces still play a vital role as they strive to minimize the risk of errors of judgment.

“My Role in Society – Three Treasures given through Sports”

Mr. Masahiro Katsumata,
Executive Director of Shoko Shoji Corporation

My first encounter with Mr. Ryo Ishikawa was three years ago during the All Japan Junior Golf Championship. At the end of that year, Mr. Ishikawa registered as one of the first Team Japan Junior members of the Japan Golf Association and we met again as I was the Team’s training officer. One year later, he won the championship at the first tournament in which he made an entry as a professional player.
The level of junior golf in Japan is in no way inferior to that of other countries. However, when it comes to adult players, there is a big difference in capabilities. In my opinion, this is partly caused by the different environment concerning golf education at the university level. University golf clubs in the US assign several coaches with professional expertise to a small number of players, and even private coaches are provided for promising teams. On the other hand, the number of entries is limited up to 5 times per year, apart from tournaments officially approved by the university. Under such circumstances the students are able to concentrate on physical workout and skill development.
My personal view is that it is too early for Japanese junior high and senior high-school students to play with adult players. They should rather take their time and effort on building up their skills as well as personality, then challenge for the professional level.
Five years ago I became a supervisor of the Keio University Golf Club, my alma mater. We had only 9 members when I took the position and now there are 20 members, none of whom are students admitted through recommendation by sports. Besides, half of them are beginners. At present, students receive professional guidance on skills, physical strength and mental training. Students must produce certain results within three and a half years, and that is exactly why they need to get professional guidance.
Professor Shinzo Koizumi, who is the founder of athletic association, taught us that “we can acquire lifelong friends through sports, we can learn the spirit of fair play through sports, and practice will make the impossible possible.” We cherish his invaluable advice by naming it the “Three Treasures given through Sports.” To prosecute one’s studies at Keio University is to learn the teachings of Yukichi Fukuzawa. To be a member of an athletic club is to learn the axioms of Professor Koizumi. This is what I keep repeating to the students.