[ENG TRANSLATION] Yuzuru Hanyu Post-FS Interview, World Team Trophy – 210416

Photo by Yoshiki Kogaito, Sponichi

All articles originally published 16 April 2021

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Translation: @axelsandwich & @shinjistarxx
Proofreading: @yuzueco

PART 1

 ――フリーを終えて。

 「まあ悔しい気持ちはもちろんありますけど、でも、まあ世界選手権を終えて、まあ2週間、正直、普通の生活ではなかったですし。まあ気持ちだとか、まあ食事も普通のようには摂れなかったですけど、まあそんな中でも『よくやった』って言ってあげたいような内容だったと思います」

―Your thoughts after the FS?

Yuzuru: Well, of course there are feelings of frustration in there but well, after the World Championships and for these two weeks, I wasn’t living my usual routine, to be honest. In terms of my feelings and well, I couldn’t eat the meals I normally eat, so I’d like to say to myself that I did well, given all those circumstances.

 ――この大会はどんな大会だったか。

 「みんなが光だったなって思います。あの、僕が今回、ショートの時もフリーの時も、点数見て『ああ、苦しかっただろうけど、頑張ったんだろうな』ってことをチームメートの演技をまたあらためて感じて。それがある意味、導きの光のように、すごくすごく強い力をくれて。僕が先輩として、なんとかがんばんなきゃなって、ある意味、普通とは違う力をいただけた試合だったとも思います」

―What kind of competition was this for you?

Y: I think everyone was the light. This time, during the Short Program and Free Program as well, seeing the scores like ‘ah, that was really tough but we worked hard’ ―I felt that watching my teammates’ performances as well. In a sense, like a guiding light, they really really gave me a lot of power. As a senior [in the team], I really felt I had to work hard and in a way, it was a competition where I received a different kind of power to the norm. 

――上杉謙信をどう表現したのか。

 「えっと、まず、自分がフリープログラムとして演じる時に、どのように自分がプログラムを演じたいか、どんなテーマで演じたいかということをすごく考えました。結果として、いろんな曲を聞いた結果として、僕はある意味、僕自身でいられる、そんなテーマがいいのかなと思いました。そこで見つかったのがこの曲で、僕自身、上杉謙信公にすごく、共通している部分があったり。また、闘いに挑む姿勢、またはそこに伴う犠牲や、または他者を思いやる慈愛だったり、いろんなところが僕もそのような人でありたい、選手でありたいというふうに思ってこのプログラムにしました。えっと、振付の中では刀を振ったり、または出陣の合図をしたり、そういった振付もありますけれども、まあ、みなさんがどういうふうに受け取ってくださるかは、みなさんそれぞれでいいと思ってます。このプログラムはほんとに考える自由度が高いプログラムだと思っていますし、僕もぜひ、みなさんのその1つ1つの振付やジャンプの表情だったり、そういったものから受けた物語、背景みたいなものを少しでも触れられたら嬉しいなと思いながら滑っています」

―How did you try to express (the image of) Uesugi Kenshin* in your (free) program?
Y: Hmm, first, I tried to really consider how I wanted to perform the program, like what kind of theme I wanted to perform. So, as a result of listening to many different pieces of music, I thought that in a sense, a theme that would let me be myself would be good. And what I found fitting that (theme) was this piece of music, and I think I myself have a lot in common with Lord Uesugi Kenshin too. Also, various things about him such as his approach towards battle, his (acknowledgement of) sacrifices that must accompany it, and also his compassion and generosity and so on―I think that that is the kind of person, and the kind of athlete that I want to be, and so I chose this program. Um, as for the choreography, there are parts where I am wielding a katana [sword], and also signaling [to soldiers] to move out for battle, but, well, I think it’s up to everyone watching to interpret it as they will. I think this is a program that really is open to what you think, and I am certainly also skating with the thought that if everyone watching could feel a sense or story or something like a scene from my expression of each part of the choreography and each jump, I would be very happy.

*T/N: Referring to 16th century/medieval Japanese warlord Uesugi Kenshin who ruled over part of northern Japan. The music for Yuzuru’s free program this time is taken from a 1969 taiga (historical) drama called “Heaven and Earth” that is about Kenshin’s life.

Photo by Yoshiki Kogaito, Sponichi

PART 2

 ――(海外メディアから)今週、喘息で問題はあったか。北京に行って喘息の問題が出ることは。

 「(英語で)ふふ。北京五輪のことは考えていません。今年、東京五輪が開催されるといいなと思っています。(日本語で)あ~。ちょっと待ってください。ふふふふふ。OK。えっと。(英語で)僕はぜんそくの問題は抱えていませんし、この大会に向けて体調は問題なかったです。演技に関しては、どちらのプログラムにも、とても自信を持っています。ショートプログラムで少しミスはありました。今日のフリーでも4回転サルコーで大きなミスはありましたけど、これまでやってきた準備に失望はしていません。またこれから、もっともっと練習が必要だなと思っています」

―(Question from foreign media) Did you have any problems with your asthma this week? Will there be any problems with your asthma going into the Beijing Olympics?

Y: (In English) Hehe. I’m not thinking about the Beijing Olympics. I think it will be good if the Tokyo Olympics happen this year. (In Japanese) Ah. Sorry, please wait a moment. Hehehehee. OK. Um. (In English) I don’t have problems with asthma and my condition going into this competition wasn’t an issue. In regards to performance, I have confidence in both my programs. There was a small mistake in the Short Program. In today’s Free Skate, there was a big mistake on the 4S, but I’m not despairing over the preparations I’ve done until now. I think I’ll need to practise more and more from here on out. 

 ――4回転サルコーは。

 「かなり慎重にいってて。え~、まあ形も悪くなかったと思うんですけど。まあ、不運というか。自分が跳んだ穴に思いっきり入ってしまったので。自分自身、これはちょっと自分の性格上しようがないのかなと思うんですけど、かなり同じところで跳べるんですね、普通よりも。だから同じような穴にはまって突っかかってしまうことが結構あるので。今回それが。ほんとにわずかエッジの幅なんで。わずか、なんぼだろ、何センチくらいですかね。まあエッジの幅くらいの溝なんですけど、そこにしっかりとはまりました。(6分間練習の穴か)たぶんそうだと思います」

―Talk to us about your quad Salchow

Y: I was really careful going into it. Eh… well, I think my form wasn’t bad but well, I guess you could call it bad luck. I jumped straight into the hole I had made [before]. This is probably a unique quirk that I can’t really do much about, but I do tend to jump in the same spot, more than [people normally do]. So I do tend to snag [my jumps] in the same holes. That’s what happened this time. Honestly, it was just the width of the edge [of my blade]. It was… I wonder how many centimetres it was. Well, it was just a groove around the width of an edge, but I really just got stuck properly in it. (Was it a hole from the 6min warmup?) I think it was. 

 ――最後の3Aに向かう気持ちは。

 「えっと、まず。ここ2試合の間でトリプルアクセルがあまりにもうまく決まらなくて、すごくショックを受けていたというか。悔しかったというか。なんか、トリプルアクセルというジャンプに対してすごく申し訳ないなという気持ちでいました。だからきょうはなんか、最後の最後は、もちろん世界選手権の記憶とかもかぶりましたけど、でも、絶対にきれいに決めてやるんだって。4回転半に続く道をここで示すんだっていう気持ちでトリプルアクセルに挑みました。疲れた中であれだけ、うんと、あれだけスピードも落ちてきている中で、まあわざと落としていますけど、あそこは。表現として。ただ、その中でも自分でも力を感じることなく非常にスムーズに軸に入って、高さのあるいいジャンプだったと思います。今できる自分のベストのトリプルアクセルだったと思います」

―What were your feelings going into the last 3A?

Y: Um. Well firstly, between the last two competitions, I wasn’t able to land my triple Axels well, which you could say was a big shock, or source of frustration. I really feel hugely apologetic towards my triple Axel. So today, until the very very end ―though of course I had the memories from the World Championships to contend with― I thought I will absolutely land it beautifully. I went into the 3A wanting to show that this is the base from which I’m continuing my road to the quadruple Axel. Within the tiredness [at that point] and with such a slow speed―well, I slowed down on purpose there, as a part of the performance. But within all of that, feeling no strength left, I think I entered the rotation very smoothly and it was a good jump with good height. I think it was the best triple Axel I can do at the moment. 

Photo by Yoshiki Kogaito, Sponichi

PART 3

――今季最後の滑り。今季最後という思い、来季への思いは。

 「もちろん今シーズン始めに滑ったようなフリーがしたかった気持ちは強くあります。ただ、全日本の時と違って世界選手権もなかなか試合の練習をしないで行きましたし。今回も世界選手権終わってから、ずっと体調が良かったわけではなかったので。まあストレスもあったり、かなり疲れもあったり、お腹も壊していたり。いろんなことがあった中で、こうやって、あの~、まあちょっと不運なミスがあったなとは思うんですけど。でも、最後の最後まで、このプログラムに寄り添って、世界選手権とは違って、ほんとにこのプログラムの曲を感じながら、そして、みなさんの鼓動だとか呼吸だとか、祈りとか、そういうものを感じながら滑ることができたので、ある意味、満足しています。で、なんだっけ。来シーズンに向けて、だっけ。来季に向けては、えーと、来季に向けてという意味では今シーズン、やっぱりアクセル、4回転半が入れられなかったことはすごく残念に思います。ただ、4回転半を練習してきたからこそ、見えてきた曲とのつながりとか、またはトリプルアクセルとの違いとか、他のジャンプへの体の使い方の考え方とか、いろんなことが見つかっています。そういった今の知識、経験、いろんなものを結集させて、来季4回転半目指して、そして4回転半が揃った完成された演技を目指して、頑張っていきたいと思います」

―This was your last skate of the season. What are your feelings about that and also towards next season?

Of course, I really wanted to skate a Free Skate like the one I did at the start of the season.* But unlike before the Japanese National Championships, I went into this one like I did at the World Championships without doing much practice for competition. This time also, after the World Championships, I wasn’t always in a good condition. Well, there was stress and exhaustion and my stomach was also upset. In the midst of various things and ah, well, there was also a mistake caused by bad luck there I think… But I was able to stay with the program until the very end and unlike the World Championships, I really was feeling the music in this program, and feeling everyone’s heartbeats, breaths and prayers, so in a sense I’m satisfied. And then…what was it. Regarding next season? Looking at next season, well, in a sense I think it was a huge shame that I wasn’t able to put in the 4A this season. But it’s because I have been practising my 4A that I was able to discover things like a connection with the music that you saw, the difference between the 4A and 3A, and the ways to think about how to use my body for other jumps. So I’d like to gather my current knowledge, experience and various things and aim for the 4A next season and work hard towards the perfect performance that incorporates the 4A. 

*Referring to his Japanese Nationals 2020 performance.

 ――今大会の収穫と課題は。

 「えっと、自分の穴にはまらないようにするためには、他のところで跳べっていう話なんですけど。でも、今までそれも何回かやってきて、結果ダメだったので。ぼくはやっぱり自分が信じる道、自分がそれほどまでに精密にできるということが、たぶん自分の強みだと思うので。9割跳べるとかじゃなくて、100%跳べるというふうにコントロールできるのが自分の強みだと思いますし。それがGOE、ここまで届くきれいなジャンプに、昨日のサルコーのようなジャンプにつながると僕は思っているので。しっかりと、え~、自分の強みを磨いていきたいなというふうに思います。今回の収穫としては、課題はいっぱいありますけど、アクセル久しぶりにきれいに降りられた~ってとこですかね。正直、ループも完璧ではなかったですし、トーループもコンビネーションちょっと外れてしまったりとか、いろいろありましたけど、何よりもこのプログラムに寄り添って、最後のアクセル、久しぶりに自分のトリプルアクセルだと思えるような、スパンとしたアクセルが跳べたんで。ショートのことはショートのことでサルコーも良かったし。なんか久しぶりに自分のジャンプが跳べたなっていう気持ちで今います。ありがとうございました」

―What did you gain from this competition and what will you work on?

Y: Um, well, to make sure I don’t get caught in a hole [in the ice] that I made myself, it’s a matter of jumping in a different spot. But, so far I’ve tried that many times too, and it didn’t work. I think ultimately my strength is being able to be extremely precise in following what I believe. Like, instead of being able to jump (something) 90% of the time, I can control it so I can jump it 100% of the time. I think that connects to having clean jumps and (high) GOE, like yesterday’s (quad) Salchow [in the short program]. So, I think I want to diligently hone in on this strength. As for what I gained this time, there’s a lot I need to work on, but, maybe it’s that I landed a [triple] Axel nicely for the first time in a while. To be honest, there were a lot of things, like the (quad) Loop wasn’t perfect either, and the (quad) Toe Loop and combination were a little off as well, but above all, I was able to get into put my heart and soul into this program, and the last [triple] Axel was exhilarating, and for the first time in a while, it was something that felt like one of my usual Axels. The short (program) was what it was and the (quad) Salchow there was good too. I think now I have the feeling that somehow for the first time in a while I was able to jump like myself. Thank you very much.

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axelwithwings

We are the Axel with Wings translation team, made up of fans of Yuzuru Hanyu. We hope to share videos of him and Japanese figure skating content with more people around the world. We aim to do our best to accurately capture the spirit of what's said. Hope you enjoy our videos and other contents.

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