Now watch the video above.
My name is Kosei Inoue. I won the gold medal at the Sydney Olympics, and the gold in three world championships.
It’s been one and a half years since I came here. I was sent by the JOC, the Japanese Olympic Committee as a visiting trainee coach. A judo master called Mr. Konichi Koizumi came from Japan and spread judo here, and he established this training hall. In those days a number of judo masters travelled around the world to spread judo beyond Japan for the first time. And we have to respect this historical effort of our former masters and pass this legacy on to future generations.
I think the British people are always looking forward. At the same time, they respect traditions and preserve them well. This is very similar to Japan.
I teach the advanced level athletes. Basically, the training consists of free-fight practice and pinning techniques. English people are the majority, but people from other countries are also here to practise judo.
In London there are people from all over the world living and working with the British people. I’ve been able to see various cultures and talk to people from different backgrounds. I find this multi-cultural environment very interesting. I think people from all over the world come to the United Kingdom and they consider it to be a place of hope.
I strongly feel that the people here are proud of their country. People have the ‘mother country’ feeling about the nation. I think this is similar to Japan. We are both island countries and I think that’s part of the reason for the similarity. In Japan there is passion for sport. But people are far more passionate in this country. For instance, when I went to a football match, I felt the enthusiasm of the people there. I realised that supporters as well as athletes are very passionate about sport in this country.
I think everyone in the world is looking forward to the London Olympics. It makes me feel that every single person in the country is looking forward to the Olympics and is excited about it. As a Japanese team coach, I’m responsible for delivering results. If we have to fight the British team, it will be a little bit difficult to hold back my attachment to the UK to be honest, and I do want to support Japan.
I want people to soak up the rich traditions of Britain through a special sporting experience.