2021 Volume 66 Pages 409-427
Hirobumi Daimatsu was a legendary sports coach in Japan, especially after coaching the Japanese women’s national volleyball team (“the Oriental Witches”) that won the World Championship in 1962 and the gold medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.
He was famous for his extreme training methods and had a great influence on coaching methodologies for Japanese sports as a whole. Although many studies have examined his way of thinking from various perspectives, the relationship between his war experiences and his approach to coaching has not been analyzed sufficiently. The present study aimed to examine how Daimatsu’s first-hand war experiences (“keiken”) developed into his coaching beliefs (“taiken”), focusing specifically on a theory created by Yoshida that war veterans’ understanding of their experiences had been changing over time from when they re-entered society and grew older. Yoshida made this transformation clear by referring to 5 periods since the end of the Second World War in 1945.
Firstly, many demobilized soldiers including Daimatsu had to face civilians who hated the Japanese military just after defeat. They lost their morale, from 1945 to around 1950 could not talk about the military or the War. Secondly, even after former professional officers and wartime politicians had been rehabilitated, the veterans themselves still found it difficult to positively address some topics related to the War in the 1950s.
Thirdly, the generation that had experienced the War who shouldered the responsibility of reconstruction from the destruction and devastation gradually gained confidence and became able to talk about their wartime experiences. Some of them discovered a positive meaning in their own experiences on the battlefield from the late 1950s to the late 1960s. Daimatsu was a typical example of the third period because he spoke clearly about the positive meaning of his war experiences.
Penultimately, in the 1970s and 1980s, that generation of Japanese became able to accept the responsibility for the War, especially in Asia, and to gradually acknowledge the negative aspects of their experiences. Finally, in the 1990s, a small number of survivors chose to disclose tragic stories that had not come to light previously.
Thus, Daimatsu was only one of a generation that had experienced the War and who became recognized as a spokesman for many of that generation who held common feelings.