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Campus Now

Autumn Issue (Nov.)

Pro-logue

Enjoying advanced sport science research together with top athletes

Mr. Kazuyuki Kanosue
Professor at the Faculty of Sport Sciences

I have enjoyed sports since my childhood. From high school until university, I spent my youth as a member of the track & field club, competing in the long jump. During my 3rd year of university, the Winter Olympics were held in Sapporo. All of Japan burned with excitement about the Olympics, and I grew interested in the ski jump competition, where athletes flew through the air for distances over 10 times more than a long jump. This interest led me to enter the skiing club. Upon entering the club, I was taken to the jump platform right away, and I tried ski jumping without practicing even once. However, on my first attempt, I flailed my legs in the instant that I jumped into the air, a habit that I had acquired from the long jump. The result was disastrous-a bad landing and a broken bone. Despite these great difficulties, I entered a ski jump competition the next winter. The competition was the first time in my life that I had ever come in last place.

In addition to my love for sports, I was fond of railroad models and building stereos, and I majored in electrical engineering at university. Through sports, I also grew interested in the bodily functions which control the human body, and I entered a laboratory focused on biodynamics at the Osaka University Graduate School of Engineering. Afterwards, I obtained a position at the School of Medicine and spent a rewarding time conducting research on the theme of body temperature control. However, I never gave up my dream of conducing sports research. I am very fortunate to have obtained a position at the School of Sport Sciences at Waseda University.

Recently, Professor Kanosue pulled a muscle while playing tennis. An hour after the injury, he used research MR equipment on the Tokorozawa Campus to take the image shown here. The white area shows bleeding.

An interesting aspect of sports science is the opportunity to witness the athletic ability of first-class athletes who have undergone rigorous training. In the field of medicine, research for the normal functions of human beings is conducted from negative areas such as disease and disability. However, in the field of sports science, research for the normal functions of human beings is conducted by examining the positive area of movements by top athletes that cannot be performed by normal people. Currently, my main research theme is the analysis of neural mechanisms for movement control. Almost all top athletes have received training in outstanding environments since their childhood. This shows that there is great significance in training not only the muscles, but also the brain. It also shows that "athleticism" is the ability to imitate correct movements for that sport. I would like to conduct research regarding the role of "mirror neurons," nerve cells that are thought to be involved in the function of the brain when imitating movements.

The "Sport Science: Creating an Active Life" program of the Graduate School of Sport Sciences has been selected for support by the Global COE Program of the MEXT (see the NEWS REPORT section earlier in this newsletter). This selection is a sign of the high expectations that society has towards sports. Improving the physical strength of children and increasing health in the middle-aged and elderly are global issues. It is important to create opportunities for people to exercise while enjoying themselves. Together with students, the Graduate School of Sport Sciences seeks to promote the "Sport Science: Creating an Active Life" in order to develop professionals with high levels of scientific expertise, to perform sports education and research as an academic discipline, and to become an institution which gives back to society.

Finally, although it may be inappropriate for me to make this statement as a researcher of sport "science," I believe that "effort" and "diligence" are all that is needed to accomplish any objective. I hope to devote my time and to work diligently to accomplish all of my goals.

Mr. Kazuyuki Kanosue
Professor at the Faculty of Sport Sciences

Born in Tokyo in 1952. Graduate from the School of Science and Engineering at Tokyo Institute of Technology. Completed courses for his Master's Degree at the Osaka University Graduate School of Engineering. Served as a Research Assistant at the Osaka University School of Medicine, as a Visiting Researcher in clinical physiology at the Max-Planck Institute of Germany, as Assistant Professor at the Osaka University School of Medicine, and as Professor at the Department of Health in the Osaka University School of Medicine. Assumed his current position in 2003. Conducts research in the brain mechanism which controls movement. Active as a long jump athlete during his time in high school and university. His hobbies include tennis and skiing.