In 1936 of the year, the Winter Olympics were held in a German city Garmisch-Partenkirchen† The hockey team of Japan took part in it. On this occasion, unusual competitions were held in Katowice with the representation of Silesia and the Polish national team.
Should the journey from Japan to Germany be short these days, the Japanese decided on a different solution. “The Japan team has been on its way to Poland for a few weeks, because they are continuing Siberia and Soviet Russia– reported the Silesian newspaper “7 cents”†
The Japanese left Mukden, the capital of Manchuria, for Poland on January 1. They showed up at the train station in Katowice in the early morning of January 12, quite tired 6. They arrived to Silesia 48 hours late because of “huge snowdrifts that have blocked the track in Siberia in recent days”. After arriving in Katowice, the Asians lived in a luxury Savoy Hotel, at ul. Mariacka Street†
The game of the Japanese was a mystery, as they hadn’t been to Europe at all for five years before, but “as we have been able to discover all along, the Japanese only played with the best Canadian teams, because they wanted to achieve the best form in the sport of hockey” – the reporter noted “7 cents”.
The Japanese were such exotic guests in Katowice that the newspapers even reported on the contents of their luggage. “It was in one of the baskets tea kettle, a very large amount of sugar cubes, an array of enamel cups, teaspoons, dried mushrooms, a few pounds of rice and potatoes. The tea strainer was not forgotten either, not to mention the dressing box, the contents of which were truly exemplary. The sports equipment was of first-class quality. Suffice it to cite the fact that more than 60 hockey sticks were unloaded in Katowice alone “- wrote journalists.
Tickets for matches cost a little less than today – the cheapest for 1 PLN, the most expensive – PLN 5† In the first match, which took place on the evening of January 12 in Katowice Torkat, the Silesia team won 3-2 (1-1, 2-1, 0-0). Before the competition: “The Japanese, having put their sticks on the boats, took off the Olympic jackets and the stamps of their country, which they had received from their sports authorities, Polish hockey players pinned to their chests, which was received with great enthusiasm by the public. The orchestra then played the national anthems of both countries. The match itself was extremely interesting and the performances by both teams received thunderous applause from the spectators. The Japanese showed a very fast game, impeccable driving technique and puck handling, and a great sense of combination.”
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The next day, Monday, January 13, there was an interstate match. The organizers were surprised by the great interest. “Police, fire brigade and police officers could not handle the huge wave of public. There were< hevige gevechten >> in front of the entrances and many of them ended up very crushed on Torkat.” The Polish national team won 5-1. The Japanese goalkeeper was especially interesting for the fans Teiji Honma†
– I was at this match – 94 year old tells “Interia” Marian Lubinawho himself was figure skating and hockey on Torkat. – All fans noticed the Japanese goalkeeper. Well, he played with a mask covering his face. It was an absolute novelty. Everyone was surprised. They wondered “what is this monster, what is this weird”. On the other side was Józef Stogowski, a goalkeeper from Pozna, who had no mask, says Marian Lubina.
It was really an absolute novelty: hockey goalkeeper masks did not spread around the world until the 1950s. Japanese goalkeeper invented it to wear hair, perhaps to … protect glasses. The leather mask had a wire cage to protect his face as Honma also wore goggles during the match.
An unusual event occurred after the match with Poland. “It is worth noting that one of the Japanese players fainted after the end of the game. One of the police officers took care of our guest, and then he was taken to the hotel in a private car. Here he came to himself and after a while took a few silk handkerchiefs from his suitcase and gave them to their guardians as souvenirs.”
Leaving Katowice, the Japanese emphasized the good reception with gratitude. However, at the Ga-Pa Olympics, they did not go so well, but then no one expected them to achieve anything, they chased after the world leaders. BY Great Britain they lost 0-3 and with Sweden 0-2 and they were eliminated from the Olympic tournament.