後防線的鋼鐵人，台灣血統 / A Taiwan Made Iron Man Difensore
2010年我發掘了夏維耶（Xavier Chen），隔年在各方努力下，他順利披上中華隊戰袍，不但打出精彩一戰，中華隊球迷破天荒的塞爆球場（15335名入場觀眾）、而且還擊敗了當年不敗的東南亞冠軍隊-馬來西亞，一個有國際水平的球員，竟可以帶來如此多的正面效果，那一夜很多足球人總算是長了見識、認清足球真的可以推展。其實在2011年秋季，我就發現藤田義明（Yoshiaki Fujita）有台灣血統，張望、觀察了一年多，我總算嘗試要認識他，希冀替台灣足球開啟另一次的奇幻之旅。
另有中日對照版本，刊載於TOKKA.cc (click HERE for Japanese-Chinese version)
Many Taiwanese people have established their reputation in the Japanese Professional Baseball League. Names of Yuan-Zhi Kuo(郭源治), Tai-Yuan Kuo(郭泰源), Wei-Yin Chen(陳偉殷) are well-known in Japan. However, during the 20-year history of Japanese soccer league(J.League), there has not yet any footprint of Taiwanese players; after some investigation and personal visits, I met Yoshiaki Fujita(藤田義明), a key player in the famous J.League team of Jubilo Iwata, who has a Taiwanese origin ...
The 2012 season has come to the first day of September. After painful connections, in the evening I finally arrived at Yamaha Stadium in Iwata City, with my body exhausted. However, the sense of fatigue all but disappeared the moment I walked into the stadium: very different from my past experience of going abroad to watch games, this time I will be dining with Jubilo Iwata player after the game.
Wearing uniform number 33, Yoshiaki Fujita is more than 180 centimeters in height. Though seemingly slender, Yoshiaki has those strong shoulders of a successful defensive player, capable of handling the roles of defensive midfielder and center-back. He is a typical tough guy for the defensive line. Yoshiaki has been a key player in the team over the past few years, and unlike how Xavier Chen was scouted last time, I had been observing Yoshiaki in football matches for a whole year and a half through Japanese satellite broadcasting, doing enough homework before deciding to get in touch with him.
A Great Defensive Player, Capable of All Roles
Jubilo Iwata’s opponent was Hiroshima Sanfrence (which won the championship later), the leading team in the standings. The two teams were fighting for the first place in the league, playing a good game of a fierce battle. I was like an aviation radar device, watching the game and constantly observing Yoshiaki’s performance. I felt a surge of excitement in my heart several times during the game, because Yoshiaki was stronger than I had imagined, with amazing physical strengths guarding the back line like an Iron Man.
Primarily playing center-back in the first half of the season, he took up the position of a defensive midfielder after his Brazilian teammate got injured. Whether it is ball retrieval, passing, or invading the opponent’s territory, Yoshiaki undoubtedly excels. Through TV broadcasts one can look at a lot of details, thanks to instant replay. Meanwhile, there is one big difference between attending the game and watching it on TV. Not being present in the stadium, you would have difficulties judging precisely whether the defensive player is making a good movement. You will not be able to see clearly on TV Yoshiaki’s wide area of movement, aggressive running, highly focused attitude, and how he creates a lot of space for his teammates...
From the looks of his stature, passing, and even tackling, Yoshiaki is very much like the famous former France midfielder Patrick Vieira. Observing on-site, I found that his contribution is more than what is reflected by the data. Yoshiaki has skills above the J.League average. An indispensable pillar of Jubilo Iwata, he is seriously underestimated. At that moment I realized that he could even possess the qualifications to be selected for the Japanese national team.
He has played more than 90% of the games in the past few seasons and he is definitely a key player, obtaining good reviews after each game. Two of his teammates of similar age - Ryoichi Maeda and Yūichi Komano, are constantly on the member list of the Japanese national team. In Jubilo Iwata, Yoshiaki is just as important as they are.
上回因電動遊戲發掘並成功吸引現已是隊長的Xavier Chen加入台湾隊的美好經驗，助長了我持續尋找海外好手的傻勁。(雖然遊說、安排他入籍台灣的過程讓我吃足苦頭) 長年透過Google隨意搜尋海外好手的過程中，無意間發現到藤田的事，奇蹟又再次發生了，雖然藤田選手有台灣血緣一事，我並非第一個發現的人，也稱不上天大的秘密，不過光這件事情就讓我興奮不已。
I was not the first one to discover that Yoshiaki has a Taiwanese origin, nor is this a big secret. It is my interest to habitually search via keywords (simply put, looking for a needle in the haystack) for any clue, because I am convinced that there must still be top professional players of Taiwanese descent in the world. I search whenever I have some spare time, and after modifying the keywords hundreds of times, the name of Fujita came up one day. The excitement was much like winning a lottery. Last time, the European player I scouted through video games has been officially transitioned, and is now the captain of the Taiwan national team and the number one superstar in the country. That experience has undoubtedly encouraged me to continuously look for good players, with sheer enthusiasm and courage.
After that game, close to 11 pm, we met at the JR Hamamatsu Station, much like meeting computer pals, and dined at his most favorite Yonezawa beef BBQ restaurant. Even though he did not speak Mandarin, through simultaneous interpretation from my grade school classmate, our conversation went non-stop once it got started: from soccer to philosophy of life, we talked just about everything for two-and-a-half hours. From the conversation it was not difficult to notice that Yoshiaki has a kind personality and is easy to get along with (he was elected the kindest player in Jubilo Iwata – Okubo Grand Fan Service Award). Professional players in Japan have a fairly high social status; in private many players are stuck-up and hard to deal with, but Yoshiaki shows no arrogance at all.
Yoshiaki Fujita's mother is a Taiwanese who went to study in Japan, where she met Fujita's father and put down roots. Before Yoshiaki went to middle school, the family came to Taiwan to visit his grandparents every year, but Fujita has not come to Taiwan since he entered middle school. He is the older brother with a younger sister who speaks very good Mandarin, and she chatted with us at the restaurant that night. At the age of only 24, Yoshiaki Fujita married the beautiful celebrity Emi Igawa. At the same age as Xavier Chen, he is now the father of two children.
at his best
Yoshiaki had been selected for the Japanese national college team, but unfortunately he did not qualify for the Universiade of that year. As of now he has not been recruited for the Japan national team. After graduating from college he started his professional career, and it was not until he joined the team Oita Trinita was he firmly assigned the starting role. His performance has been good and he has won the J League monthly MVP. In 2011, he was recruited by Jubilo Iwata before the season opened, and he has taken up the major responsibility for the backfield since then.
It was the end of October when I went to watch another Jubilo Iwata game in Hamamatsu. I had dinner with his family after the game. We talked even more this time. Their opponent in the game on that day was the second-ranked team in the league, Vegalta Sendai, which was getting ready to surpass Hiroshima Sanfrence to go for the championship. Before then, Jubilo Iwata had not won for a month, and was badly slaughtered in the previous game. The morale of the guest team Vegalta Sendai was very high, and the game ended at 1-1. After watching the game I felt that Jubilo Iwata had been in a rather poor condition recently. Fortunately, there was Yoshiaki Fujita, who switched to center-back in the second half of the game, becoming a perfect barrier on the back line, allowing the team to catch up and tie the game. Capable of playing an important role in the J.League, he would have no difficulty in playing for the Taiwanese national team, not to mention that he is good at handling positions that are our weakest link.
Taiwan should act immediately
Yoshiaki Fujita has not been recruited by the Japanese national team and his mother is Taiwanese. Therefore, he is eligible to play for the Taiwanese national team (overseas Chinese). The Japanese media describe the current Japanese national team as "the strongest in the history of Japan": compared to past big-name players such as Hidetoshi Nakata, Shinji Ono, Masashi Nakayama, Kazu, etc., the current Japanese team consisting of Shinji Kagawa, Keisuke Honda, Yasuhito Endo, Yuto Nagatomo , etc., is indeed stronger, with great talents for each position. Fujita has been at the height of his skills in the past two years, and many people in the industry have pointed out his growth. Even though there are many good players in the Japanese team, there is no guarantee that the backfield “all-rounder” Fujita will not be picked up.
Experienced overseas professional players of Taiwanese descent are much more competent than their domestic counterparts. The overseas players bring an upgrade on overall strength, promote the improvement of soccer, and even become popular among the public. Just like the last time (how we moved Xavier Chen), it is necessary to take aggressive measure (invitation to join), because the Taiwanese national team is not strong enough, and the Taiwanese people need to once again demonstrate their globally unique human touch to reinforce the invitation to help us obtain another top-level player in Asia.
Wholly focused, steadily contributing, and keeping a low profile despite excellent strength, Yoshiaki Fujita is the kind of good player that both you and I are familiar with, another "unsung hero”.