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Lessons on aging with strength from Japan's soccer legend

At 51, Kazuyoshi Miura symbolizes a nation that won't quit

Kazuyoshi Miura

I remember the dawn of professional football ("soccer" to some) in early 1990s Japan. There was considerable doubt as to whether the sport would ever take off. Baseball dominated the airwaves and sumo had long been part of the national conversation. In contrast, there were no headlines nor gossip items about football, and hardly anyone seemed to have played it.

The newly established J. League, I concluded, had all the hallmarks of a bubble-era indulgence -- like the simulacrum of London's Shakespeare's Globe theater in a Tokyo suburb that marked the excesses of Japan's high-rolling 1980s. The theater briefly hosted some celebrated British productions, at considerable cost, before it folded due to lack of interest.

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