The Respect Fair Play Campaign, a joint-venture between the J.League and Japan Football Association focused on the objective of “creating a world without discrimination or violence”, released a public relations video promoting public awareness of human rights on September 10.
The following are comments from players and football officials who participated in the project.
Yuki Muto (Urawa Reds)
“It was my first time being involved in this sort of production and I was nervous to meet my fellow co-stars, but there was a cheerful atmosphere and I enjoyed the time we spent together. In order to protect human rights, every one of us needs a sympathetic heart. Let’s consider our partners and be respectful in order to create a world without discrimination or violence!”
Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale)
“I think the J.League’s push for human rights awareness is a fantastic idea. Nothing will change if nobody says anything. By promoting this issue, I hope the J.League will inspire this cause to take root in every region of Japan. Through football, I’ve made a lot of friends from different backgrounds. Discrimination doesn’t exist in healthy relationships built through sport, nor should it. I think it’s very significant that the J.League made this film and I’m glad to have participated. I hope that many people will watch it and have an opportunity to think about these issues.”
Jong Tae-se (Shimizu S-Pulse)
“I have always lived with discrimination and had many different experiences overseas. The J.League’s interest in human rights awareness is wonderful and I’ve spared no effort in participating. However, I don’t believe that the pain of those who have experienced discrimination can be understood by those who haven’t. I truly wish that we can reduce the number of people who feel this pain, and hope that through this project everyone involved in football can gain a common understanding of this issue.”
Sidmar (Coach, formerly of Shimizu S-Pulse)
“There is great significance in the J.League and wider football world’s promotion of human rights awareness. No one should be defined by their skin colour, religion, or even the team they support, and I’m glad to have participated in a project that teaches viewers to recognise each other as fellow human beings through football. I’m happy that both active and retired players contributed to this project. I was deeply moved by the passion of the filmmakers. Whatever colour the jersey you wear, we’re all the same. Let’s use the power of humanity to make a beautiful and happy world!”
Florent Dabadie (Journalist / Former Japan national team translator)
“I’ve been a football fan since I was a child, and I waited 20 years for France to win their first World Cup. Beginning with Zinedine Zidane, that team was a melting pot of players of African, Central Asian and Oceanian heritage. Their unity was France’s greatest strength. The J.League was born in 1993 with the help of excellent foreign players, and 20 years later still needs the passion of foreigners like myself who live in Japan. Though I contributed just four years to the internationalisation of Japanese football as the national team’s translator, it’s an honour to have participated in this project.”