A former Japanese baseball player is under fire after making misogynistic remarks about women boxers.
First reported by Vice World News, in a televised interview on Sunday, 81-year old Isao Harimoto made questionable comments about women when talking about Japanese boxing athlete Sena Irie, who received a gold medal. She was the first Japanese woman in the Olympics to do so.
“What’s the point in watching? A young lady getting punched in the face before she goes off to get married. Well, show appreciation, I guess, because it’s a gold medal,” Harimoto said in the interview.
Many Olympic games organizers hailed the Tokyo 2020 games as the most gender-balanced and inclusive competition ever. Nearly 49 percent of the 11,000 athletes happened to be women. Despite this, gender stereotypes seem to be ingrained in the country.
Harimoto’s comments about Irie encouraged the Japanese Boxing Association to release a formal letter to broadcast network TBS, which protested his statements and called for the television company to correct this rhetoric.
“Boxing is not simply a fistfight... it’s a sport that requires perfect skill and comments that women shouldn’t practice boxing is an affront to diversity,” the statement said, in part.
The former baseball player has yet to publicly speak about the backlash he received from his commentary.
Besides the boxing association’s letter, other Japanese outlets spoke about how disheartened they felt about Harimoto’s statement.
Women’s boxing is relatively new to the Olympics, entering into the London Games in 2012.
On the other hand, men’s boxing has been a classic sport, including in the games for over a century.
Women’s inclusion in the sport has struggled to gain recognition because of the belief that women shouldn’t be boxing.
In 2009, Amir Khan, a British professional boxer, said, “I think women shouldn’t fight After Olympic organizers made the executive decision to include it for women in the 2012 games.
The new gold medalist Irie gained interest and started pursuing boxing after reading “Ganbare Genki,” a Japanese manga about a child who aspires to be a boxer like his father.
Noting how much the manga meant to her, Yu Koyama, the author of the manga, drew a picture of her alongside the main character of the manga to celebrate her win, which was posted to Twitter.
“Yu Koyama, the author of “Ganbare Genki,” was the reason why I started boxing. I’m impressed,” Irie captioned her tweet.