The Genius Batter Ichiro: The Secret Behind His 4000 Hits
The Guardian Spirit of a Pro Speaks What It Takes to Be the Best of the Best (Part 2)
August 27th 2013
Revelations of Ichiro’s Guardian Spirit
Happy Science Headquarters, Tokyo
Ichiro’s lead (Part 2)
Ichiro (Ichiro Suzuki, 39 years old) is a baseball player for the New York Yankees. Over the course of his professional career he has made a total of 4,000 hits in Japan and the US.. In Part 2, his guardian spirit shares his true thoughts on team play, how he developed his mindset to get through a slump and become the best in the world, and his past life. Ichiro does not often share his thoughts in the media. Yet a large number of Japanese, not only baseball fans, are curious to hear him speak his mind. For this reason, Ryuho Okawa, founder and CEO of The Happy Science Group, invited the guardian spirit of Ichiro to speak on the 27th August.
A “Professional Job”, as Symbolized by the Winning the WBC/the Korean Match
In contrast to this, one query that will always come up when discussing Ichiro is whether he is focused solely on furthering his own personal records and achievements. It is true that during his time as a player for Orix and the Mariners, there were times when the team results were poor for an extended period of time, which was in stark contrast to the attention Ichiro garnered for his personal results for that same period.
On this point, Ichiro G.S. said the following, “If the probability of succeeding is high, then even if I suppress the desire to get a home run, I will strive to get a hit instead. I think about the team when I go out to fulfill my duty.”
It seems that Ichiro is misunderstood by a majority of people. When you consider the numbers, Ichiro’s batting average is very high for when he is in scoring position, in other words, when runners are on second and third bases. That is nothing if not evidence of his talent.
Ichiro G.S. opened up on this topic, to say, “This is the defining moment for a star player. You bear a certain responsibility because you want to help the team win, and you feel happiness, as a pro, if you can go home feeling like you played well, and you were able to please the fans by bringing the team to victory. Whether or not you can fulfill that obligation is the defining point that differentiates the first grade from the second.”
These words bring to mind the final of the second World Baseball Classic (WBC), at the Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, in March 2009. The Samurai Japan team, led by coach Tatsunori Hara, was battling long-time rival South Korea in a match that had gone into overtime. As they reached the tenth innings, tied 3 – 3, the batter who stepped up to the plate with two out and runners on both second and third base was Ichiro, who until that point had not been performing well.
The crowd was in a strange state of extreme excitement, and the eyes of Japan were watching as Ichiro conceded two strikes and two balls. It was at that point, with immense pressure bearing down upon him, that he countered the next ball with a timely hit into center field to secure two points. He had guided the team to number one in the world. That particular low flying hit was the epitome of a “First grade” or “Professional” job.
His Past as an Expert Swordsman Became Clear
During Ichiro G.S.’s spiritual message, he would occasionally compare a bat to a Katana, or Japanese sword. He also used the term “Self-effacement center” and gave an impression to those listening that he may have been an expert swordsman in a past life. In the end it became clear that Ichiro had been an expert swordsman in a past life, and it was also surprising to confirm that his own sword was a “Divine sword” that had been gifted spiritual powers by the gods.
Finally, Ichiro G.S. went further than just speaking about professional baseball and spoke of the strong spirit of the Japanese people.
“I too, play because I want to provide encouragement to others in the world. I want to instill confidence in Japanese people, show the world the Japanese spirit, and give hope to people in the world.”
The record-holders that sit above Ichiro, on 4,000, in the rankings, are Ty Cobb, with 4,191 hits, and Pete Rose, with 4,256. However, if you consider that Ichiro has had an annual hit count of around 200, there is a high probability that in one or two years he will reach the top of the world hit rankings.
Incidentally, Cobb, ranked second, and Rose, ranked number one, were 42 and 45 years old respectively, when they reached their milestones. In October this year, Ichiro will turn 40 years old.
Ichiro, the man who has charmed not only baseball fans, but also large number of people the world over. It seems that we will be able to continue on in his footsteps, using him as an example of what a true “Professional” is.
Ichiro Suzuki (born 1973)
Ichiro is a professional baseball player (outfielder). He has played in both Japan and the U.S., and has been with the New York Yankees since 2013. Fans love him for being a great all-rounder: he has speed, has a strong throwing arm, and has developed his swing into a perfect work of art. He has set many Major League records including the record for making the most hits in a single season (262 hits), and for achieving over 200 hits per season 10 years running. On August 21st he made the 4000th hit of his combined Japanese and U.S. career.
Below is an excerpt of the spiritual messages:
A First-Class Pro Can Perform When Push Comes to Shove
–I think that most players can focus when nothing special is going on, but your batting average improves a lot when the bases are loaded, you perform better when there’s a runner on base. Isn’t that hard to achieve?
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Well, as a top athlete you have to be able to perform when the heat is on. Your popularity with the fans depends on that. A player who misses at decisive moments in the game will disappoint everyone and they’ll never be popular.
I think that players should feel a sense of responsibility to make the fans happy.
While I do focus on my own performance I also have a sense of responsibility to help my team win, and by sealing a win by hitting at the right moment I can make the crowd happy. As a professional I am delighted if the people who have paid to come and see us play can go home feeling that they have seen a good game.
Maybe that’s what makes the difference between a first-rate player and a not quite first-rate or second-rate player.
Ichiro’s Secret: He Has a Thousand Eyes in His Back
–I think that you have an ascetic side to your character, but as you’ve just said, it seem that you also have an “entertainer” or “star” quality.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Well, yeah, I do have that side to myself.
– Where does that come from?
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Well, it’s about having one eye while at the same time having multiple eyes.
In terms of having one eye, when I enter the batter’s box I of course roughly assess where the fielders are. Are they positioned far or near? Are they near the bases? Then I check the position of any runners on base. With one glance I grasp how to hit so as to hurt the other team.
But once I’ve more of less grasped all of that, in the end, it’s just between me and the pitcher.
That head to head competition takes a lot of concentration, but at the same time I feel the eyes of the tens of thousands of people in the crowd watching me. And I feel the cameras filming my back and the people watching me on their TV screens. That’s part of being a professional.
I think that players who can’t feel all that aren’t pros. The same might be said for other professions beyond the sports world.
For example, whether you’re a professional wrestler, a religious leader, a preacher, a comedian or a singer, the same principal applies.
Of course it’s important to deal with challenges as best we can when and where they arise, but it’s a question of whether we can remain focused on that challenge while also being conscious of being watched. The batter needs to keep his eye on the pitcher, but he also has a thousand eyes in his back looking at the crowd and the TV audience. It’s like looking out of the very pores of your back. I think a professional has to be able to pull that off.
The “Ultimate Weapon” to Help You Get Through a Slump:
The Key Is Whether You Know Your True Self
–We spoke about this a little earlier, but although you have kept playing consistently all this time, you have actually been through some slumps as well.
You are always trying to deliver 100%, so I think that you must find it hard when you hit a slump.
So could you tell us your philosophy for getting through those times where you give it your all but things don’t go your way? What kind of approach have you taken when you’ve come up against obstacles?
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Well, I think that my “ultimate weapon” might be my self-confidence. Even if I go through frustrations from game to game, I have the self-belief to know that by the end of the season I can achieve the result I’ve set out to achieve.
I think that self-confidence is about whether or not you know your true self.
What Ichiro Does to Minimize His Weaknesses During a Slump
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Whatever happens every player is going to go through slumps: you’ve just got to endure them. However, while endurance is important, you can’t just wait for things to improve. You have to summon up certain techniques.
Even if you don’t manage to make a hit, you have to stall by making a foul or do something so that you don’t get put out. Your batting eye is tested to the limit.
When you’re off form you often hesitate in your judgment as to whether to go for a ball or not. When you’ve been in a slump for a while you tend to get tempted into swinging for a ball even if there’s no hope of it turning into a hit. You go for balls that look easy at first glance. At such times you’ve got to be careful not to let your performance slacken, not to wager everything just for one hit.
So you have to think about how to tackle your weaknesses, how to block up the hole in the leaking bucket so to speak. You may not manage to win, but at least you have to figure out how to minimize your weakness. And you have to eliminate your blind spot as much as possible.
When I’m in a slump I don’t only analyze my own form and swing, but I also figure out how best to attack the other side: I search for the weaknesses in their defenses. And by trying like this to get through a slump, before I know it I’ve made it through.
A Combination of Talent and Training: Ichiro’s Kinetic Vision
–Earlier you said that Ou Sadaharu had a good eye. But you also have an excellent eye. I saw a documentary where they analyzed your vision scientifically: it showed how, through training, you have developed exceptionally good kinetic vision, that you can track objects in motion brilliantly…
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Well, that’s normal… Even when I’m walking the streets, crossing the road, or watching people go by, I’m always training myself.
–What exactly are you training?
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Well, I suppose I’m training my camera angles.
I spoke earlier about having “a thousand eyes”. Like a TV camera crew, I have several imaginary cameras around the place. I train so that I can capture the scenery around me from these various angles.
–So that’s part of your daily life
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Yes. When I’m walking in Manhattan there are taxis and trucks going by, lots of people crossing the street even on a red light. There are also helicopters and bird flying about in the sky. There’s a lot of movement.
I am filming all of this by combining several cameras. TV stations choose between many different cameras and show images from just one. Each time, they probably choose the angle that shows the scene best, don’t they?
– They do.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: And they must decide in a split second when to switch between cameras. In the same way, I go about my daily life with a few cameras set up around me. And wherever I look I edit the footage, deciding which camera captures the scene best.
– So that’s how you look at the world from day to day.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Yes, that’s right.
Once People Have Surmounted a Certain Obstacle They Can Develop Superpowers
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: I’m not that different from Spiderman.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Yeah, I mean, when something falls, Spiderman can perceive it in slow motion and so has time to react, right?
– Oh, right. I see.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: I can perceive movement in super slow motion like that. I can tell in advance if there might be an accident. I can sometimes do that kind of thing.
–Ah, so it’s a kind of super power.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Ah yes, indeed. Superpower.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: It’s a kind of superpower. I mean, people have their normal powers, but if you train beyond a certain level these automatically turn into superpowers.
The Trick to Avoid Burning Out That Is Essential to Joining the Global Elite
–I think that from here on out Japan needs to produce more and more people who can work and succeed in the top levels of global society, talent that can that assume top positions. Do you have any advice with regard to achieving this?
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Well, what comes first is figuring out how not to burn out. Of course it’s good to make an early start, but when you are doing things when no one else is doing them fatigue tends to build up in the early stages. People who peak early on often come crashing back down later.
So, people who don’t figure out how to avoid burning out at this stage will never make it to the top. I think that this applies to any field.
For example, elementary school students need a knack to avoid burning out. If kids that age overdo it at the batting center they could exhaust their talent.
Some kids do permanent damage to their shoulders when they reach junior high school. A student may train very hard in junior high and become a top player, but it’s generally thought that such students can’t go on to play at the National High School Baseball Tournament held at Koshien. They’ve already ruined their shoulder, so by the time they are old enough to compete at Koshien they’re unfortunately no longer in winning form. It’s really hard on them.
So these young players need to find a way not to burn out, and they must also avoid having their ambition crushed. Those who can’t pull this off won’t become first-rate players, and so have no hope of joining the global elite.
To Be the Best in the World Is to Be a God
– So, based on what you have said so far, you seem to be saying that to make a career as a member of the global elite you’ve got to face your failings head on. What do you say to that?
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Well, this is a little hard to say, but as this is a religious group I’ll just come out and say it.
At first I spoke about non-self and that kind of thing. It’s tough to explain but I’ll go ahead and tell you.
In fact, becoming a member of the global elite means that you yourself become a god.
Well, I use the word “god”, but I don’t mean God with a capital “G”, I’m not the Almighty or anything like that.
I mean there are gods of lots of different fields: there’s a god of baseball and basketball, of language learning, and gods of boats and calligraphy. I’m a god in that sense of the word. I’m a god in the sense that I’ve reached the summit of my field. And if I hadn’t become a god, I could never have made it to the top.
To be a god means that there can be no one above you. I wouldn’t be a god if there were someone better than me.
Ichiro Was a Master Swordsman in a Past Life
–If it’s all right with you, we’d like to hear about your past incarnations.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Well, yes. I’ve heard that Ou Sadaharu was Chiba Shusaku in a past life.
–That’s right. He was indeed Chiba Shusaku. (Refer to The Rebirth of Heroes: Tales of Past Lives, Hero’s Edition, The Liberty Editorial Edition, Happy Science Publications.)
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Of Chiba Dojo…?
– Yes, founder of the Hokushin Itto school of swordsmanship.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Ah yes, the Hokushin Itto school…
–You could say that Sadaharu’s distinctive one-legged “flamingo” batting stance stemmed from Itto Ryu. Actually, under the guidance of Coach Arakawa, Sadaharu famously used an actual Japanese sword to explore his batting form, thus perfecting the one-legged style.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Yes.
So, who was the strongest figure in Japanese history? Who do you think it was?
Because many of Japan’s strongest heroes lived in different eras they were never able to fight each other, so it’s difficult to say who was strongest. It’s a tough question, but who do you think it is?
– Al right, to save time, I’ll take a stab at it. Was it Tsukahara Bokuden?
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: You’re right!
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: I was Tsukahara Bokuden in a past life: I’ve received spiritual power from the deity of Kashima. He’s the god of swords.
– I see.
–Bokuden was the founder of the Shintoryu school of martial art, and he was connected to the Kashima Shrine, wasn’t he?
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: That’s right. His school of swordsmanship spread across the whole country.
One more thing. Because I draw on spiritual heritage from the gods, in a sense mine is a divine sword, a weapon from the Gods. Because my sword is a divine one a regular sword can never break it. That’s why I’ve never once lost. In my whole life, I’ve never been beaten.
I think I’ve done really effective work in spreading Bokuden’s Kashima Shintoryu style across the whole country.
This might also have something to do with the success I now have across the world.
–You’ve been guided by a god?
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Of course.
– What kind of god is it?
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Well, in those days it was the God of Kashima. The shrine is still standing.
Is Ichiro’s Bat a Lightsaber?
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: I’m of the Kashima lineage. I’m part of the spiritual heritage of the god of Kashima, so although I can’t quite reach a state of Ken Zen Ichi Nyo (unity of body and mind), when I take my sword (my bat), empty my mind and am connected to the gods, it’s like a bolt of lightening comes right at me.
In modern terms…you must all have seen Star Wars, right?
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: The swords in that movie aren’t regular swords, right? They are lightsabers.
– That’s right. Lightsabers.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Swords of light, right?
– They’re luminous.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Only special people could use them…who were they again?
– Jedi warriors.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Ah yes, Jedi. Jedi warriors.
So, to put it bluntly, my sword is a Jedi sword.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Yes, a sword of light.
– A Jedi sword? Is it luminous?
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Yes, it’s a sword of light.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: I have divine spiritual heritage, so opponents who face me can’t possibly beat me with swords of steel.
If You Earnestly Pursue Your Quest Those Who Criticize You Will Start to Praise You
– Yes, thank you very much.
Today you spoke to us about what it takes to become a world-class professional. Thank you so much.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: Not at all. I am really ashamed that a guy like me is earning more than the presidents of Japan’s major companies or the Prime Minister.
– Not at all, that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Ichiro’s guardian spirit: I’m just a batter. Just hitting a ball has no value in and of itself. It’s worthless, apart for the fact that I do something that no one else can do.
For example, most people wouldn’t be able to climb Everest, so climbers who do reach the summit get respect, and older climbers get even more respect. Basically, if you do something other can’t you’ll gain respect.
Here at Happy Science you are doing things that normal people can’t do, aren’t you? You may come up against criticism and resistance, people may try to hinder you and speak ill of you, but I think it’s important that you earnestly pursue your quest without giving in to such things.
The critics will gradually fall silent as they see you advance on your course. And then their criticism and their badmouthing will turn into words of praise.
However this change won’t happen that easily. It won’t happen within just a year or so.
I mean even for singers, they may only record a hit from time to time, but those with long-running careers always have something going on in the background.
Such people always unify success in their private life and success in their career: ultimately you could say they unify themselves with God. Unless you’ve thought it through to that point there’s simply no way that you can join the global elite.