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Tokyo Olympic volleyball player Kinuko Idogawa dies

Being an ace attacker of Japan's national volleyball team for women, Idogawa greatly helped the squad win the 1962 world championships for the sport and the 1964 Tokyo Olympic gold medal. (Shutterstock)
Being an ace attacker of Japan's national volleyball team for women, Idogawa greatly helped the squad win the 1962 world championships for the sport and the 1964 Tokyo Olympic gold medal. (Shutterstock)
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06 Dec 2020 10:12:56 GMT9
06 Dec 2020 10:12:56 GMT9

TOKYO: Kinuko Idogawa, one of the members of the Japanese women’s volleyball team in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, who were nicknamed the Oriental Witches, died of brain hemorrhage on Friday. She was 81.

Idogawa, whose birth name was Tanida, was a key member of the Japanese team, which won gold in the Tokyo Games by beating the Soviet Union team in the final match.

A native of the city of Ikeda in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, Idogawa started playing volleyball when she was a junior high school second-grader. After graduating from Shitennoji Senior High School in the prefecture, she entered Nichibo Kaizuka, predecessor of major Japanese textile and chemical maker Unitika Ltd. , in 1958.

Being an ace attacker of Japan’s national volleyball team for women, Idogawa greatly helped the squad win the 1962 world championships for the sport and the 1964 Tokyo Olympic gold medal.

Idogawa and other members of the national team, including the late Masae Kasai, a setter, captain and coach of the team, engaged in tough training under the strict instructions of the late head coach Hirobumi Daimatsu.

The members of the national team earned the nickname Oriental Witches, as it scored 22 consecutive match wins during its European tour in 1961 and won the 1962 world championships.

For the women’s volleyball final match between Japan and the Soviet Union in the 1964 Olympics, which was televised, the average viewing rate came to as high as 66.8 pct in Japan.

After retiring from competition, Idogawa engaged in activities to promote volleyball among housewives. She was slated to participate in the torch relay for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which has been postponed to next year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

JIJI Press

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