The great Japanese figure skater is 28 years old. Although he still looks 18, which amazes those who find out his age for the first time.
Yes, it will soon be nine months since he went from amateur to professional, so we haven’t seen him at the Grand Prix stages or the World Championships in Japan, but despite that, these accomplishments are plenty.
Yuzuru is such a unique athlete that his move to the professionals has not only made him less interesting, but has even raised his profile.
To start with, with his departure Hanyu challenged the Japanese federation (JSF), the International Skating Union (ISU) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which over the past few years have only made money on him, not supporting him in any way. In fact, he is tired of fighting the system alone, but has found the strength and motivation to bend his line further, just no longer from within.
That this is a challenge is confirmed by several facts. First, Yuzuru announced the end of his amateur career not through the Japanese federation, but through his sponsors, the ANA airline. Moreover, he forbade the federation’s verified publications to attend this press conference.
Secondly, the next day Hanyu’s agency Team Sirius posted a ban on the use of his new photos for the ISU and the Japanese federation, which should prevent the organizations from publicizing themselves at Yuzuru’s expense. Now they are forced to use only old photos taken at competitions under their auspices. True, this does not prevent them from writing about Hanyu with the same enviable frequency as before. Besides, no one has forbidden reposting.
Three weeks later, Yuzuru opened his own YouTube channel, and his first video had a million views in 24 hours. But it was just an announcement that in a few days he would broadcast a training session. About 100,000 viewers watched it live, and now the two-hour broadcast has four million views.
Journalists were allowed into the training session. After it, Hanyu gave a general interview for 20 minutes and then five minutes for each of the 25 media present. The interest in what he was doing was enormous.
Right now Yuzuru’s YouTube channel has 799,000 subscribers. Yes, that doesn’t compare to bloggers in the millions, but Hanyu isn’t a blogger, either. So it’s worth comparing to similar channels. For example, ISU currently has 269,000 subscribers, while the Japan Skating Federation has only 4.5.
In September, Yuduzuru registered on two social networks, which surprised many people, because previously any additional information about him could only be obtained from the Japanese federation. He didn’t maintain any social media, and in general he could be called a recluse. But still Yuzuru does not cheat himself: these are mainly working pages and are maintained by the staff. One account has 243 thousand subscribers, the second has 163.
Even after the press conference, Hanyu was asked what he planned to do next. He cryptically replied that he didn’t know yet, but in fact he was already thinking about an ice show. Even more, he was offered to host it at the Tokyo Dome, the largest and most prestigious arena in Japan. But he had doubts about his abilities, because no such show had ever been held there before.
At the Tokyo Dome, soccer and baseball are played, as well as concerts. In addition to famous Japanese performers, legendary musicians such as The Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson have performed there, as well as TVXQ, a very popular key-pop group in Japan. So it’s all a different level.
As a result, for his show Prologue, which incidentally was the first solo ice show in history, Hanyu chose two cities whose names begin with the first letters of his name – Hatinohe (H for Hanyu) and Yokohama (Y for Yuzuru). The right to buy a ticket was raffled off in a lottery with at least 280,000 people participating (only those who participated in the survey), and the number of cinemas that aired the show had to be increased to a hundred to somehow satisfy the increased interest.
On the final day of the Prologue, December 5, Hanyu gave a speech about how much people support him, and then launched a video announcement of the show at the Tokyo Dome arena called Gift. This is Yuzuru’s gift to his fans for the support he has received.
The Tokyo Dome has a maximum capacity of 57,000 people depending on the configuration and a seating capacity of 42,000. In other words, it became the grandest ice show ever held. By comparison, the largest arenas for world championships under the auspices of the ISU hold 30,000 spectators.
The show was held only once. Its duration was two and a half hours.