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Turning toward the world with gutsy play learned from father!

Kotaro Yamada

"My dream is to battle on the international stage!" Kotaro Yamada, a defender (DF) on the Ice Hockey Team of the WASEDA University Skate Club, expressed his greatest target with a look of confidence, though he was a little abashed. As the only student selected for the Japan team, he competed in the first qualification round for the Sochi Olympics and also contributed greatly to the WASEDA team winning the Kanto University Ice Hockey Championships (fall league) for the first time in three years. We asked Kotaro to reflect on the time he has spent devoted to ice hockey.

Serious expression during a game

His father was an ice hockey player in a non-professional team. It was quite natural for Kotaro to play ice hockey as he was living in a company-owned apartment for the then Oji Paper Ice Hockey Team. In his childhood, he would vie with his friends and devote himself to practice. Under instruction of his father, Kotaro developed his talent. "Whenever I had difficulty in team practice, I sought advice from my father at home," Kotaro recalls. Whenever he played in a match, he couldn't be calm unless he saw the face of his father looking from the stand. "My father wryly smiled, saying, 'as you are in the national team, don't even dare to look for me," (laughing). His trust in his father became so strong because he respected him the most as a player who led the team with guts, even risking injury.

After entering WASEDA, which he had longed for, Kotaro became independent in ice hockey and in daily life. "I was glad to learn I could do everything on my own." Kotaro says he likes to be with people, and the friends he has made at university support him. In particular, he says he is strongly bonded with his teammates on the Hockey Team. It has a culture where without sticking to rank, they mutually point out each other's weak points and try to develop themselves as a team.

Under such conditions, Kotaro developed himself and took on the challenge of the first qualification round of ice hockey for the Sochi Olympics, as a member of the national team. The team lost by a narrow margin of 2-to-1 to the U.K. and consequently didn't qualify. "I felt miserable." Kotaro regrets that he didn't give a characteristic performance, as he had put too much pressure on himself.

When the qualification round for the Sochi Olympics finished, the next immediate event was the fall league. He didn't want to be frustrated anymore. In the final match, they faced Chuo University, a team they lost to in the Inter College Games of the previous year. During the flow of the game, WASEDA was highly likely to win the championship, but Kotaro and other members of the WASEDA team didn't properly relax until the end. As a result, WASEDA won the championship for the first time in three years. When he looked at his father in the stand, he appeared satisfied as if he recognized Kotaro's development.

During the Inter College Ice Hockey League between January 7 and 9, 2013, the team beat Meiji University 5-to-3 and was ranked third. For the next season, as sub-captain of the team, Kotaro will devote himself to further practice toward the spring Kanto University Ice Hockey Championships. Not in the too distant future, he will compete against the top players of the world, with his brave performance just like his father.

Every March, there is a fancy-dress graduation hockey match, celebrating the graduation of 4th year students. This photo shows the unique costume

Kotaro seriously discussed his enthusiasm about ice hockey during the interview

Winning the championship in the fall league for the first time in three years!
©WASEDA Sports Press


Kotaro Yamada

Born in Hokkaido. Graduated from Komazawa Univ. Tomakomai High School. 3rd Year, School of Social Sciences. His interest is computer games. His special skill is impersonation. "An ability essential for doing impersonations is the power to observe! I carefully observe people in daily life and reproduce their characteristics (laughing)."