The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > Education > People



An evolved new star in the world of javelin –
Drawing a parabola of success towards Rio.

Genki Dean

Throw a javelin hard and far.

To the average person, javelin might look like a pretty simple sport. However, in addition to physical strength and running ability, javelin athletes require the skills to coordinate the movement of their entire body, the skills to convey the elasticity of the ground to the javelin, and the nerves to avoid being overwhelmed by the competition environment; all to throw a 2.6 to 2.7 meter long, 800 gram javelin even one centimeter further. It looks simple, but is quite complex. A moment’s mistake can have a massive effect on the result of a throw.

Dean’s first championship win at the 96th Japan Championships in Athletics set a new championship record. Dean’s appearance at the London Olympics was determined by this tournament.
©Waseda Sports Press

The man now leading Japan’s javelin world is Genki Dean, member of the Waseda Athletics Club. He appeared in the London Olympics last year and was the first Japanese javelin thrower to advance to the finals in 28 years. At the Olympics, Dean achieved 10th place in javelin overall. Dean is a top athlete, with a personal best throw of 84.28 meters, the second farthest in Japanese history, and he’s one of the athletes garnering attention in advance of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

“It might be pretty difficult to convey, but if numerous minute points don’t mesh together, you really won’t be able to throw a javelin very far. And they almost never all mesh together perfectly, meaning that even if you think you threw perfectly, you made a mistake somewhere. So you fix that and use it the next time. It’s nothing more than repetition.”

In high school, Dean won the victories in javelin at both the inter high school and national athletic meets. From early on, Dean was an elite athlete for whom there were high expectations for his future, but according to Dean, “I was just an amateur relying on my strength to throw it back then.” Setting his sights on improving further, Dean decided to attend Waseda University, then home of Kenji Tauchi (presently of Chukyo University), the famous javelin coach. After being accepted to Waseda, Dean joined the Athletics Club and his abilities began improving. “After joining the club, Coach Tauchi taught me thoroughly about approach runs and how to use my lower body. The result was that I was able to add 14 meters to my throwing distance in two years. London is where my father was born and I had been aiming to participate in the London Olympics since I was in high school. I believe a big part of the reason I was able to grab a ticket to the Olympics was because of the fact that I was able to improve my skills in the Athletics Club and because of the stimulation I received from other members of the club competing in other tournaments.”

Dean is now in his fourth year at Waseda. As for his plans for the future after university, Dean spoke with vigor, stating, “Looking for a better competition environment, I’m talking with people from various companies. After I graduate, I want to increase my training and participation in tournaments abroad, so I’m looking to create partnerships with companies with international connections.” His battle towards the Rio Olympics has already begun. “However, as this is also my final year at Waseda, I feel a strong urge to enjoy it. Tokorozawa Campus is the base for my club activities and studies, and it offers an amazing atmosphere, so normally I don’t travel very far from it, but this year I’d like to spend more time at Waseda Campus as well. I’ve only ever been there two or three times including the London Olympics send-off party (laughs).”

Dean says he likes underground hip hop and will occasionally visit concert halls in Tokyo. Taking a step back from competing, Dean flashed a student-like smile.

London Olympics send-off party held on the Waseda Campus last summer. Many Waseda Students and press corps members rushed in to meet Dean.

Throwing a javelin with all his might.
©Waseda Sports Press

Dean making use of a spare moment during training to give an interview.


Genki Dean
4th Year, School of Sport Sciences

Originally from Hyogo Prefecture, Genki Dean graduated from Amagasaki High School. Dean is 182 cm and 88 kg. He started javelin in high school and began winning consecutive medals in world tournaments after entering university. In June of 2012 he was the overall winner of the Japan Championships in Athletics, attaining the right to appear in the London Olympics.