A French television channel caused outrage in Japan after making a crude joke about goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima. The “joke” was formed in the aftermath of France’s embarrassing home defeat at the hands of Japan. Despite Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa scoring the only goal of the game it was Kawashima that attracted most of the plaudits, for his heroics in goal. France had 23 attempts at goal but could not find a way past the agile Japanese keeper.
‘France2’ anchorman Laurent Ruquier seemingly had an alternative theory for their opponent’s fine performance, displaying a photograph of Kawashima with four arms, amid the label, ‘The Fukushima effect.’ Inside the studio laughs from the audience suggested that the joke had gone well, with Japan’s chief cabinet secretary it definitely didn’t. The controversial quip was described as “inappropriate” and the Japenese embassy in France has written a letter of complaint to the TV channel.
The Fukushima nuclear plants melt down last year was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. Triggered by an earthquake and tsunami 15,000 people died and the fate of 3,000 is still officially unknown. It is not the first time that Kawashima has been sickly targeted. Whilst plying his trade in the Belgian league, a game he was involved in had to be abandoned due to opposition fans chanting “Kawashima Fukushima!”. The abuse reduced the goalkeeper to tears.
Last night Japan faced Brazil in a friendly. Going into the game, boasting an eight match unbeaten streak, the Japanese may have been hopeful of causing another shock result. But there was little that the “four armed” goalkeeper could do to stop the fluid attacking grace of the ‘Samba Boys.’ The 2014 World Cup hosts went ahead on the 12th minute, thanks to a goal from Spurs target Paulinho. Neymar added two more either side of the break, before Kaka marked a two year absence from the Selecao with a come back goal. Brazil are looking very dangerous at present, having battered Iraq 6-0 last week, to add to the 4-0 trouncing of Japan last night. A sterner test awaits when they face Roy Hodgson’s England next month.
image: © yoppy