On other hand, Japanese sports can often -- but not always can be summed up by the words of retired player Shuzo Matsuoka, now a sports commentator, in a recent cover story in In Touch (Tokyo American Club) Magazine:
"I used to play Japanese tennis, which is waiting for opponents to make a mistake. Every time I hit the ball I looked at the coach. I wasn't playing for myself..."
Substitute the name Matsuoka with hundreds of others and change the sport from tennis to basketball and you will see a problem that plagues the game in Japan. Quality basketball requires improvisational skills that go beyond a coach's fundamental Xs and Os. Coaches can only control so much; players need to think on their own in order to have a chance to elevate to greatness.
Taking risks and having the ability and desire to excel in individual and team challenges are keys for great success as a player.
Indeed, Matsuoka described a situation that is common in all Japanese sports. Change, of course, can often be a good thing.