Japanese / CONTACT 
Old Boys' Reunion

2016/07/13 AM 12:32

On Sep. 19-20, I watched "Shakaijin" Competition of Men's Rhythmic Gymnastics for the first time. "Shakaijin" is a word which cannot be easily translated into English. It literally means "a person who works as a member of society" and carries a connotation of matured person. In MRG field, however, it implies a rather pessimistic fact: to be "Shakaijin" means they are not a member of the club they used to belong to any more, and that it is often the end of their career as a gymnast.

Japan has gained an infamous reputation as a workaholic society and, yes, I'm sorry to say it is true. In most cases, to be shakaijin means you have to work frantically without complaining about unpaid overwork, unused paid leave, and long working hours in order not to get fired. For gymnasts, it is next to impossible to continue MRG after they graduate from school.

But there are some gymnasts whose passion for MRG is too strong to give up. They cannot just quit. On Sep. 19 and 20, they showed how big their love for MRG was and how they just couldn't give up, and the way they shared those strong feelings not only with their teammate but also with the other gymnasts who belong to different teams inpressed the audience.

The synchronization of MR gymnasts often amazes the world on YouTube. In most cases, that synchronization is a result of hard training for a long period of time, but for "Odorigokoro", the OB team consisted of sophomores as "shakaijin", securing the time for practice was like asking for the moon. Amazingly, it was the second opportunity for them to practice with all members when they performed on the competition site, perhaps because the team includes busy professional performers from BLUE TOKYO (Sho Kobayashi) and RA-BA-SIN (Masamitsu Kikuchi). Not only them, but Hayami Yumita of Cirque du Soleil and Yohei Iwai of Siro-A supported them as well. Yuma Takeuchi, Tomoo Sasaki, Shigeru Sakakibara, Naoki Nemoto and Masaki Hayashi are all great gymnasts anyone related to MRG knows.

When I saw them exchange high-fives with their opponent team and hug each other, I fully understood what the team name "Odorigokoro" means. The heart of dance. The love for men's rhythmic gymnastics. The love for all the gymnasts involved in this sport. The love for life.


They enjoyed what they did, and they deserves what they've got from it.