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Video clip: Japan

With comments by C. Farrell

Japan - Cycle racing school

"Keirin", the sport of professional cycle racing in a stadium or velodrome, is a big deal in Japan. Those hoping to take part must generally have attended a rigorous 10-month training course at the Japan Bicycle Racing School at Shuzenji, in the Izu area, from which this clip comes.

Students enrol at the school at age 17 or 18. There are very strict rules. Corporal punishment for mistakes in training appears to be the norm, consisting of one hefty whack with a large stick. This is administered in public, on the spot, to the student's buttocks as he holds a stooping position.

In this 30-second video sequence from Japanese TV in 2007, two such canings are caught by the camera. The student thanks the trainer for the punishment and bows to him. Passers-by can be seen taking no notice, suggesting that this is a frequent occurrence. The recipient of the second one is persuaded to lower his shorts afterwards to show his wealed posterior. Asked whether it hurts, he cheerfully replies that it does indeed, and that the marks last for about three days.


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