Ichiro’s Thoughts on Philosophy, Love, Matt Weiters, etc.

Ichiro discussed a bunch of topics in Tuesday’s The Nikkei, one of Japan’s largest newspapers, like his newfound motivation with the Yankees…

It is the Yankees’ mission to keep winning and the fans want and expect professional play from us. This motivates me a lot… The Yankees have so many star players, but I see no egotistic behavior from any of them.


You may sound selfless if you say you do something “for somebody,” but you can also sound self-important. As with personal relationships, you can get into trouble if you try to do something “for” someone. But if you do something for the love of someone, you are not asking for anything in return, and in my opinion, this rarely produces unfortunate results because there is love there. I played for the Yankees for only three months last year, but the Yankees were an organization that made me play with strong love.

On that crazy, two-tag-dodging run he scored in last year’s ALDS

The only way I thought I could reach home safely was to slow down. Matt Wieters, the Orioles catcher, is a smart player, so I thought the only way to create a chance to reach home safely was to make an unexpected move. In other words, I tried to confuse him… That was a play I remember fondly because it had aspects of both physical and psychological battle. We were playing away from home, so I didn’t hear the cheers of excited home fans, but rather a roar of shock from the stands. It really thrilled me.

How to be successful…

It is unfortunate if you believe that you will be rewarded for your hard work. That is how an outsider thinks. I would venture to say that (to succeed) you have to reach a point where what someone else sees as hard training is no big deal for you… You should not become a professional athlete if you want to continue to enjoy playing your favorite sport the way you did as a child. Of course, you will derive different kinds of fun and a sense of challenge from the sport as a pro, but pro athletes can only experience fleeting moments of joy. You are mostly going through a stressful time. But I work as hard as I can for that moment of glory.

On outwitting the opposition…

(North) American and South American players are quite self-promoting. A player who gets 70 points out of 100 (in terms of ability) tries to psyche out his opponents by making it look as if he has 100 points. I am quite the opposite. If I have an ability of 100, I would try to look as if I only have 70 or 80. This is a better way to blow away your opponents. This approach is much more fun for both me and for fans.

He’s cagey about his personal philosophy…

I cannot pick a favorite maxim to write on a piece of paper now. Of course, I have a favorite motto and philosophy to live and play by, but I am not yet the kind of person who can proudly write such a maxim on a piece of paper. Some older people quote the words of historical figures in situations like this, but I think that is uncool. I hope I can someday express what I think is important in life in my own words, however ineloquent they may be. But at the end of the day, it is not what is said but who says it that is important. I would like to live the rest of my life so that I will become a person who is seen as worth listening to.

How to be a “cheeky young fellow”…

For some reason, there is a lingering belief in the baseball world that a player who turns 40 should retire. I question that idea. I don’t understand why 40 is considered as retirement age when great advances are being made in all kinds of fields, including diet, living conditions, playing environments, training methods and equipment. Everything has become much better than in the past. In my opinion, those who don’t think the average career length of major league baseball players can be extended must have stopped thinking. I will certainly be called “a cheeky young fellow” if I say things like this.

On the possibility of someday managing a team…

I would say such a day will never come if I were asked now. But I once asked Sadaharu Oh whether he imagined as an active player that he would become a manager someday. He said, “Not at all.” After I heard this, I thought there was no predicting how I will feel in the future. But I know even now that I do not have what it takes to become a manager.

Stuff of interest to The Nikkei‘s target audience…

Japanese-made products are far and away the most reliable. I imagine that Japanese technology underlies many foreign-made products as well. I question the government and companies allowing many cutting-edge technologies to leak overseas, (but) I support (Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe very much now. I want him to succeed… I bought shares in a company for the first time when I was in junior high and started reading books on how to analyze stocks around that age. I also liked to play a simple Nintendo stock market game. Whenever I check into a hotel, I ask for The Nikkei newspaper. I usually buy shares in companies I want to see do well, hoping to get a little in dividends.

Awkward plug at the end there. Anyway, I copied almost all of his quotes here, but you can read the whole article here. Photo found here.


One response to “Ichiro’s Thoughts on Philosophy, Love, Matt Weiters, etc.

  1. Great find! thanks Steve!

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