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[Eng Translation] Yuzuru Hanyu Quotes


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So a few months ago, @kaeryth very generously sent me her copy of the Yuzuru Hanyu quote book bc she was moving house (thank you!)


Ideally I would love for people to support by buying the book but I’m aware that Japanese language books are inaccessible (in terms of understanding content) for many people so I hope to pay her kindness forward and share a little of the content - not all of it and not the photos but the quotes.  


So in the lead-up to the Olympics, I’ll be translating some select quotes from the book every few days on my Twitter and posting the extended versions here and on Tumblr, in the hopes that these might provide some inspiration and insight.


Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a professional translator - the intention is to give a hopefully accurate interpretation of the sentiments. If you spot any problems/inaccuracies, please send me a DM and I will correct it (unfortunately I can’t edit tweets but I can correct it on Tumblr)


Please support the book by buying it if you can

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‘It doesn’t matter if I’m an Olympic Champion or World Champion, my motivation does not lessen and I want to become stronger. My new opponent is myself.’

April 2014 - After becoming Olympic Champion at Sochi, Hanyu was asked ‘what kind of pressure do you feel as an Olympic champion and what’s your next goal’? by the media. Hanyu was not thinking about the fact he had become the champion or that he had reached a state of perfection. There were many things to accomplish in front of him so he continued to always say, ‘I want to become stronger’. (1/?)

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‘My strong point is that even if I don’t do well in a competition, I don’t really get depressed. On the contrary, my motivation goes up 100% after a competition where I’ve failed. The more kuyashii emotions* I feel, the more I throw myself into the next practice and feel that ‘I must practice properly so, at the next competition, I can recover the parts where I failed’.

Date Unknown - A person’s personality is varied and changes with the situation. When one’s results and condition are good, one will become positive, if one is standing in an inferior position, it is normal, as a human, to feel weak. However, according Hanyu’s self-analysis, ‘normal’ is the complete opposite [for him]. When harsh conditions occur, his fighting spirit springs forth and all his power comes out. It is because he says ‘I throw myself more into practices after I’ve failed’ that there is no reason to expect he might stagnate.  (2/?)

*I’ve heard ‘gutted’ as the closest one-word English translation

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‪’I always open my heart. If you don’t open your heart, you cannot absorb anything and it’s not interesting. The driving force for growth is to have an open heart‬.’


‪Feb 2013 - When humans have a lot of information or choice, they will inevitably become lost. When they are lost, they will seek advice from many different people but may not be able to find a way out. Simply opening up may not be the solution. Hanyu always keeps an open mind and seeks many different opinions but also says what he wants to say. By doing so, he seeks an even better method. The secret to him being able to go from a junior to standing on the top of the world in only a few years lies in this. (3/?)


(also guys, feel free to discuss the quotes here if you want, this doesn't need to be a super 'clean' thread. I, for one, am surprised by how much editorial comment is in this book -- I mean, they're insightful for sure but I'm also like 'is this...just the compiler's opinion? Is it an observation? WHO KNOWS)


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It's honestly scary, reading these quotes. How much he opens himself, how much determination he has, how focused and how intent he is - there is so much potential for so much pain. It's very brave of him to choose to live that way. But it makes me want to light a million candles for him even if I'm basically agnostic. I mean, if there's a chance, then why not...

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‘I hate the part of myself that is weak. Really hate it, to the point of wanting to throw it away, to the point of commanding it to just ‘go somewhere else’. But it’s because people have weaknesses that they can become strong. It’s because I have weaknesses that, in order to bury them, I put my all into practice.’

Dec 2014 - The practice of looking away from the parts that one hates and only focusing on the parts that one likes about oneself probably also exists. With that approach, you could always be in a good mood and there is the chance that you can live everyday in a good state. It is almost certainly a more fun way to live. However, no matter how painful or unwilling, Hanyu faces the parts of himself that he hates thoroughly. Only truly strong people can see their own weaknesses (4/?)

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‘No matter how convincing a performance is to you, if the result is bad, people will not find it convincing. They will think ‘Hanyu is at this standard after all’. I think this definitely shouldn’t happen. As a skater, above anything else, what you need to do is leave results.’

Date Unknown - In sports, while you cannot say results are everything, an athlete cannot be truly acknowledged - in the true definition of the word - if they are not accompanied by results. 20yr old Hanyu’s conduct and speech received so much attention after he was able to accumulate so many titles. He himself knows best that he is who he is now as a result of achieving good results. Therefore, he has no intention of using ‘this was a performance I was personally convinced by’ as an excuse. In his autobiography ‘Aoi Honoo’ (Blue Flames), he said this (5/?)




‘Recently I’ve been thinking that it might have been fate that I encountered figure skating.’


Oct 2013 - If Hanyu had not encountered figure skating, we wonder what would have happened? All these years of him achieving ‘historical firsts’ may still be dreams. “Initially, I was fine with not doing skating. If my sister had done ballet, I would now be doing ballet. If it had been swimming, I would probably be trying hard at swimming.” We are thankful for this fated encounter! (6/?)


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‘It’s not a problem if I win or lose. What’s important and what I hold in the greatest regard is whether I did or didn’t try to aim for the highest*.’ 


Jan 2013 - As long as he is a competitor, it is natural that one must acknowledge victories, but seems like Hanyu has grown to think that there may be other important things besides victory and loss as he has gathered titles. He’s probably not only looking to win but at greater ‘heights’ beyond winning. Once you become the champion, what comes after is only protecting (your titles). In order to avoid this happening, he set his goals further ahead (7/?) 


*literally it translates to ‘stand at the highest’ but I believe there’s an element of striving to do so and a focus on the process - he’s not talking about results - hence why I went with ‘aim’.


(whoops, apologies for not updating this with the other posts and delay!)


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‘After all, to have honest and genuine expectations [placed on me] is something that makes me happy.’


Date Unknown - The 2013 - 2014 Olympic season was a season with much more noise than usual: ‘Who will participate in the Olympics?’ ‘Who will win the medals?’ Of course, Hanyu also heard those voices but innocently said, ‘To be able to talked about as a representative to the Olympics is an extremely happy thing. I’ve also finally reached the World No 2 ranking’ (8/?)

Translator’s note: what he means - I believe - is the idea that he is happy to be thought of as a legitimate contender (so people have honest and real/genuine hopes for him). Open to being corrected on this ofc, I'm not feeling too confident in my JP at the moment ; _ ;

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  • 2 weeks later...




‘I’m the only one who can find the answer. From here on out, I must build a battle within myself.’ 

Dec 2014 - In the 2014-2015 season he faced as Olympic Champion, [Yuzuru] fought against various conflicts. Despite Brian Orser and his family laying out a perfect support system, only one person fought on the ice; the one who could light the flame within himself was [Yuzuru] alone. What he grasped at the end of this suffering was a silver at the World Championships and a gold medal at the Grand Prix Final. (9/?) 



‘If you’re going to set goals, it’s better for them to be big. If you write them down concretely/decisively, it’s easier to succeed. Indeed, my way of thinking is quite mathematical.’


Mar 2010 - At the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in the Hague, Netherlands, [Yuzuru] became the first middle school student to represent Japanese men and the fourth Junior Champion. This young boy, who had continued to say from childhood that ‘I will get an Olympic Gold Medal’ mounted the world stage with tremendous speed. It took him a mere 4 years to conquer the Grand Prix Final, World Championships and Olympics (10/?)

Translator’s note: The word Yuzuru uses (理数系) in this context is a term used to describe someone who is more scientific/logical in his way of thinking, in contrast to someone who might be more emotional or creatively inclined. Essentially, the sort of thinking exercised more in science, technology, engineering and mathematical subjects. 


Thanks to the guys in the Japan Study Thread for helping me with this one! 

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‘Before I think about whether or not to give up, I think: ‘Right now, what should I be doing? What is the thing that I must do at all costs?’


Date Unknown - When given a huge job to do, we would surely make judgments about whether or not we can do it (or whether it seems possible or not). However, Hanyu does not do this. Before thinking about unnecessary things such as whether or not to give up, he first organises the things he ‘should’ or needs to do. This is where Hanyu differs from normal people. If you are too attached to thinking about the large gap between starting points, it will be difficult to be able to catch up (11/?)




‘Before a competition, I am very mindful about cleaning my hotel room without fail. I decide the places/angles of everything in my room, one by one, and keep it clean. I keep it tidy and in order. I think that if your room is clean, luck might also come.’

Date Unknown - For athletes, there are some people who adhere to omens/superstitions; they will always wear clothes of a specific colour, there are people who change clothes in the same order. The battle begins from the preparations that happen before the competition. The thing Hanyu will do without fail before competitions is clean his room. ‘In a competition a long time ago, I found that if I skated after cleaning my room before the competition, I would get really good results. From then on, I do my best to make sure I don’t forget to tidy my room.’ (12/?)

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