Endo the Road for Soccer Legend: This Week in Osaka January 5th to 12th 2024

Each week, here at Osaka.com, we bring you a selection of some of the top stories about Osaka making the local and national news here in Japan. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s funny, but it’s always direct to you, from Osaka.

Here’s a look at some of the stories hitting the headlines in Osaka this week.

Japan and Osaka Legend Endo Ends Playing Career

Endo’s famous free kick goal at the 2010 World Cup.

One of the most celebrates soccer players in Osaka history called time on a glittering career this week. Yasuhito Endo, a J-1 League champion and an Asian Champions League Winner with Gamba Osaka, retired this week at the age of 43. The term “legend” is perhaps one we throw around too loosely these days when discussing sporting achievements.

However, in Endo’s case legend status certainly seems earned. In addition to his accomplishments with Gamba he also featured regularly for the Japan national team. He starred for Japan in 3 consecutive World Cups. His free kick goal against Denmark in the 2010 tournament proved pivotal in the Samurai Blues reaching the second round.

To date he remains Japan’s most capped international player. He amassed 152 caps during his 26 year playing career. His record number of 672 J-1 appearances also cemented his claim as a domestic soccer legend as well.


The Legend Contiunes: Endo Moves into Coaching

Endo during his title winning days at Gamba Osaka.

A professional soccer player since 1998, Endo now hopes to pass on his vast experience to the next generation. Shortly after his current club, Jubilo Iwata, confirmed his retirement, Endo announced he will return to Gamba Osaka. He will join the club’s coaching staff, as they seek to move beyond a recent period of stagnation.

Despite being one of Japan’s biggest fanbases, Gamba’s loyal support have been starved of success in recent years. These fans, amongst the most passionate in Asian football, will hope that the return of a club legend will also bring some long overdue success.

The club endured a torrid time last season, losing their last 5 league games in a row. In the end, they finished the J-1 season in 16th place, just a mere five points clear of relegated Yokohama FC.

Soccer pundits often refer to Gamba as a sleeping giant. This means a historically large club that, in recent years, has consistently underachieved.

Time will tell, whether Endo is the man to rouse this particular giant from its extended slumber. However, hopes are high among the Gamba support. After all, if Endo can achieve even a fraction of the success on the training ground as he did on the playing pitch, he will, indeed, become a legend once again.

Obnoxious YouTuber Fined For Restaurant Behavior

The long arm of Osaka law enforcement has finally caught up with Johnny Somali.

A serial attention-seeker and trouble maker once again faced consequences for his actions this week. Ramsey Khalid Ismael, who posts on video sites under the pseudonym Johnny Somali, was fined 200,000 yen. In one of serious of video stunts, he played music to an excessive volume in an Osaka fast food restaurant. The incident took place in the early hours of September 12th last year. Presiding Judge Yukie Yasufumi ruled that this not only caused distress to other customers, it also interfered with the business’s operations.

She dismissed Ismael’s defense that the music had been played accidentally. She highlighted the fact that he ignored numerous requests to turn it down.

This was but one of a series of videos that have brought Ismael into conflict with the police during his brief time in Japan. He also faced court action recently for trying to illegally enter a construction site. There is also footage online of him mocking victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of his interactions with Japanese people also feature the typical hallmarks of racism.

Thankfully, his ongoing legal troubles would seemingly ensure, whether through jail or deportation, he is unlikely to be a nuisance to the people of Osaka for much longer.

And Finally…

Young women celebrate Coming of Age Day in typically colorful style.

It was a day to remember for Osaka’s young adults this past Monday. The city marked the annual “Coming of Age” Day for its residents turning 20 years old this year. Young women decked out in elaborate kimonos joined their male counterparts, who were also dressed to the nines, in celebrating their passage into adulthood. Despite the Japanese government recently reducing the age of legal adulthood from 20 to 18, this ceremony remains a crucial rite of passage in the minds of many young Japanese. Once the photo ops were done, and the ceremonies observed, many excited youngsters descended on the city’s numerous restaurants, bars and izakayas, to enjoy their first drink as adults. Well, their first legal drink anyway!

That’s all for now but be sure to check back again same time next week for another round of this week in Osaka!


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