While an eager audience of children hung onto his every word, his pep talk appears to have ruffled Japanese net users for an amusing reason.
31-year-old Keisuke Honda is one of Japan’s most prolific professional athletes, let alone soccer players. Signed to A.C. Milan from 2014 until his contract ends this summer, he has also represented the Japan National Team on countless occasions, becoming a household name on an international level.
Despite his frequent ventures across the globe, last week Honda was home in his native Japan and participating in a talk show event in Chiba City, just to the east of Tokyo. Speaking in front of 120 elementary school-aged children, he asked the audience how many of them dreamed of one day becoming representatives of Japan like himself. After dozens of little hands shot up in unison, he then continued,
“Those of you who raised your hands–don’t go home and play video games. You have to practice. I also decided that I wanted to compete in the World Cup as an elementary school child. I was bad at soccer then, but I gradually became better and better. You can change if you don’t give up on your dream 365 days per year.”
While the ultimate reaction of the starstruck children to this proclamation remains unknown, net users who read Honda’s quote online had to stifle some laughs because of one tiny, seemingly hypocritical detail–Honda himself has starred in video game advertisements!
Take this series of commercials for Monster Hunter 4 on the Nintendo 3DS four years ago:
Unless professional athletes are an exception to his piece of advice, he certainly seems to be sending the children a mixed message. In any case, Japanese net reactions were largely mixed between amused and emotionally torn:
“Um, doesn’t he remember being in an ad for a video game?”
“I guess it’s OK if he’s only doing it in the capacity of a sponsor…”
“Somewhere Capcom [maker of the Monster Hunter series] is having a good laugh right now.”
“I want someone to ask him what he thinks of eSports in general.”
“Kids shouldn’t have to choose exclusively between one or the other–the ones who work hard will succeed regardless.”
“Some professional soccer players play FIFA, too…”
Perhaps it’s a case of “Do as I say and not as I do?” But with his incredible talent and hard work ethic, the man certainly must know a thing or two!