A 16-second video of a coach slapping a student in Japan went viral online last week

Apologizing in front of hundreds of parents gathered at Hamamatsu Nittai High School in Shizuoka prefecture, the principal admitted that the school’s volleyball coach had routinely punished players physically.

The apology followed the appearance online of a 16-second video showing the coach slapping a student in the face more than 10 times and shouting at him angrily as the rest of the team stood and watched, the latest case showing corporal punishment dies hard in Japanese athletics.

The scene — recorded on a mobile phone by a student in mid-September — was broadcast on national television, and by this week, it had been seen on YouTube 2.26 million times. The school initially denied the punishment was routine. But the incident prompted one student after another to tell local media about the coach’s methods.

“Whenever we made a mistake in a practice match on Saturdays and Sundays, it was absolutely certain that we were punished physically,” an unnamed graduate of the school was quoted by a local newspaper as saying.

Vice principal Toshitaka Shiozawa said he and the principal had been unaware of the coach’s physical abuse. “Corporal punishment is strictly prohibited at our school,” he said. “The coach is not allowed to come to the school at the moment... ” The incident in Shizuoka prefecture isn’t the only such case to make headlines in Japan.

In December, a 17-year-old high school student in Osaka killed himself after being physically punished by his basketball club coach. This month, Tenri University reported that world judo champion Shohei Ono was disciplined for hitting junior teammates. The All Japan Judo Federation suspended Ono and eight others for three months.DPA