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Hit for victory!
Fencing spirit succeeded from elder brother to younger brother

Mr. Soichiro Kitagawa
Mr. Ryunosuke Kitagawa

In the semifinal of the Inter-college Fencing Championship, a first confrontation between two brothers came true. "I felt it was like destiny because I came to play against my brother in the championship before retiring," says Soichiro Kitagawa, the elder brother. "I was determined to reach the semifinal to play against my brother," Ryunosuke says. "As my target has always been to be better than him, I wanted to go all out. At the match, I fought against him, thinking, 'It's me who will make him go along with retirement,'" he looks back. In the semifinal, Soichiro first took the lead. In a match one needs 15 points to win, Soichiro got 13, and Ryunosuke got 6. Soichiro thought, "I can win!" But then, Ryunosuke spurted to catch up, closing in on him. "I was closing the gap, but in the end, a decisive factor was probably the senior, no, my brother's pride. I couldn't get better than my brother." After winning the confrontation between the two brothers, Soichiro went through to the final to become the champion in the individual foil*. Ryunosuke who was still a freshman, achieved third place. In the group category in which the brothers participated in, WASEDA won the championship, too! Soichiro achieved a double crown for the first time in the history of Team WASEDA. "I was happy winning the individual, but happier winning the group," smiled Soichiro who is the captain of the WASEDA Fencing Team.

Soichiro Kitagawa (left), Ryunosuke Kitagawa (right)

Soichiro started fencing when he was a junior high student. With admiration for his brother who had a good command of the foil, Ryunosuke became interested in the sport, too. What kind of sport is fencing? "What we're doing is a discipline called foil. As it includes all the basic techniques, the number of players is the largest in Japan." In foil, they use a conductive jacket. Those parts of the torso covered by the jacket are valid, and when a hit is valid, a lamp illuminates to indicate a score. "Attacking and defending are very aggressive, so watching the match is very exciting!" Soichiro answers cheerfully. By the way, what is attractive about fencing? Ryunosuke answers, "You can win regardless of your build. If you are tall, you will have good reach, which is advantageous, but still you can win if you're quick to react. To achieve this, you need stamina to continue moving during a match."

As their age difference is three years, they played in the same team for the first time after entering university. They say that the WASEDA Fencing Team has a friendly atmosphere with dynamism and flexibility. "As we can decide what we practice on our own, we have been able to develop ourselves."

As a player, his target was to participate in the Olympics. When he was a sophomore, he went to many countries to play, but couldn't make his dream of playing in the Olympics come true. "I started working in April and will finish my career as a player. I still feel regret for having been unable to achieve my greatest target, but taking advantage of it as a source of motivation, I could do my best looking for a job," talks Soichiro about his future. "I want to devote myself to fencing. Someday, I want to be captain of the team and lead the team like my brother did," Ryunosuke adds. "I should respect my brother, but I really cannot." Then Soichiro plays the straight man, saying, "Respect me at least a little!" Seeing the two exchanging jokes makes me feel somehow relieved. The fencing spirit of WASEDA is firmly succeeded from elder to younger brother.

*Foil (fleuret): One of the three types of fencing disciplines, and is a summary of basic techniques. In the foil, a light sword with a flexible blade is used, requiring one to hit with the point anywhere on the opponent's torso to score. The name is from the fact that a flower (fleuret in French) was decorated at the tip of the sword.

Soichiro before a match

Tossing Soichiro in the air

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Mr. Soichiro Kitagawa (left)

Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1988. After graduating from Saitama Sakae Junior and Senior High Schools, entered WASEDA. Graduated from the School of Sport Sciences in March 2011. When he entered junior high, he wanted to do a sport that others didn't do and joined the fencing team to follow the art of fencing. At WASEDA, he belonged to the Fencing Team for four years, and served as the captain when he became a junior. He was in the same junior and senior high school and a classmate of Takuma Ueda who appeared in issue 1,237 of People. His hobbies are driving and reading. Joined Panasonic in April 2011.

Mr. Ryunosuke Kitagawa (right)

Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1991. Like his brother, after graduating from Saitama Sakae Junior and Senior High Schools, entered WASEDA. Sophomore at the School of Sport Sciences. Got interested in fencing when he saw his brother's match, and joined the fencing team at junior high. Served as captain in junior and senior high school. He now belongs to the WASEDA Fencing Team and reached third place in the foil category at the 2010 Inter-college Fencing Championship when still a freshman. He is so crazy about ramen noodles that he waited in a long line on the day when a famous ramen restaurant was closed. His interest is watching baseball games and is a devoted fan of Hiroshima Toyo Carp.