You are currently viewing The Most Practiced Sports in Japan
The Most Practiced Sports In Japan

The Most Practiced Sports in Japan

The Most Practiced Sports In Japan– Baseball is not needed in Japan. Horace Wilson, a Tokyo professor, tells his students that he assumes that baseball knowledge was introduced to Japan during the Meiji Era (1867-1912). This was the beginning of the assimilation of the western game that the Japanese named Yakkyu, which meant “field ball.”


Since then, the game has developed as a popular pastime for the Japanese people and is known to be one of The Most Popular Sports In Japan. During the restoration of Meiji, as in Japan, a process of modernization began, they adopted many Western ideas. Western sports began to be introduced at this time, particularly baseball. According to Robert Whiting, the Japanese compared it as a battle between pitcher and batter and, in relation to the psychological atmosphere, similar to native sumo and martial arts.

This sport involves a special harmony of mental and physical strength. Because of this, the Ministry of Education believed that baseball would be healthy for national character and encouraged its practice. By the 1920s, gambling flourished in schools and colleges.

Although baseball was becoming popular to many, others remained reluctant to embrace the western sport. According to Whiting, influential conservative daily Asahi Shinbun published a series of editorials titled “The Evil of Baseball,” citing several leading educators who opposed the game.

One doctor claimed that it was bad for personality development because of “mental pressure” and that the constant practice of baseball would cause the body to lean to one side.

Matsubara Shoriki, the owner of another popular newspaper, argued in favor of baseball. This one seemed to be more influential. Shoriki, later known as “the great father-genius figure in Japanese baseball,” also helped spread the sport by backing a game and sponsoring an excursion in which he invited players from major American leagues to play against Japan. All the stars of the Japanese college.

American players included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Fox, and other American stars. Not surprisingly, the Americans have won all seventeen games played. Shoriki, amazed by the interest of Japanese fans, organized Japan’s first professional team, the great Tokyo Baseball Club, in December 1934.

By 1936, six other teams had followed the Yomiuri Giants and the country’s first professional league, the Japan Pro-Baseball League (JPBL), was formed.

When baseball in Japan was already becoming more organized and popular, the war began, causing interest to wane over major issues. Eventually, the games were completely suspended because, practically, all men joined the army.

Consequently, the stadiums became ammunition depots or fields for growing barley. According to Whiting, as Japan began to rebuild from a devastating defeat in WWII, a command of senior allied officials recognized baseball’s potential in helping to rescue the country’s good spirits. In 1950, team rebuilding was through large corporations.

JPBL also split into two leagues: Central and Pacific with six teams each. By 1955, professional gaming was growing considerably with the help of television. The Yomiuri Giants, or Tokyo Giants, became Japan’s most popular team with nine successive championships from 1965 to 1973.

Giant Oh’s Sadahara had 868 home runs in his twenty-two-year career (1958-1980), exceeding Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron – both from the USA. Today, baseball is one of the most-watched sporting events in the country. This shows that the popularity of Japanese baseball has grown and has continued to grow enormously.

According to Whiting, a Japanese writer summed up his love for the country game by saying: “Baseball is perfect for us; if the Americans had not invented it, we would have.”

  • Sumo: Sumo is Japan’s most popular professional sport and is considered by many to be the Japanese national sport. Its appeal is not only the immediate excitement of tournaments but also the rich legacy of ritual and tradition accumulated in its 2,000-year history.
Sumo one of The Most Popular Sports In Japan
Sumo one of The Most Popular Sports In Japan

It is characterized by two large fighters (sumotori), wearing tufted hair and a wide 80cm silk band (mawashi), which are positioned in the ring (fight area). The next few minutes before the fight are spent on a psychological preparation for good performance. They throw salt in the air (a leftover of Shinto cleansing rituals), crouch down and face each other. Then suddenly they jump into the fight.

Using one of the 70 official techniques, one fighter finally forces the other out of the ring or makes him touch the ring with a body part other than the soles of his feet. Then it is declared a winner by the referee (gyoji). A court chamber sitting next to the ringside ring can sometimes confer in an uncertain case.

A sumo competition usually ends in seconds, and the next pair of fighters come to the ring. In most fights, fighters try to rely on the opponent’s range that makes it easier for them to throw the opponent to the ground, carry him or raise him. Kicking or punching with a clenched fist is the only movement prohibited under the rules.

The Sumo Ring (dohyo) is a raised platform of sand-drenched accumulated clay in which a circle of 4.55m in diameter was delineated through sunken straw bales. In the middle of the circle are two strips of white lines that mark the starting positions from which the fighters jump into the fight.

A sumo wrestler is large (average height 1.85m) and heavy (average weight 148kg). However, weight and size do not necessarily determine a winner. Fighters spend hours daily practicing techniques so that even small fighters have a chance of winning.

The life of a sumo wrestler is difficult and demanding. Most are recruited and around the age of 15 enter a housing unit where they live and train with other fighters.

After a fighter gets married, he can live in his own home. The lodge has fighter dormitories, dinners, bathing facilities, and a practice ring to which fighters descend each morning to the Keiko (practice). Junior fighters arrive at 4, or 5 am to prepare the ring; Most senior fighters are in the ring before 8 am.

They organize themselves into turns to practice and repeat three traditional exercises: shiko, teppo, and matawari, which would be coordination, timing, and flexibility, respectively.

At 11 am, senior wrestlers, head to the baths, then have breakfast – a high-calorie stew called chanko-nabe. Meals are free, and most fighters prefer to dine out. The 750 is another denomination given to professional Sumo wrestlers according to tournament win-loss records.

Degrees are written on a list called banzuke. The top division is called makuuchi (“inside the curtain”) and in that division is Yokozuna, the main champion. Every aspect of professional sumo is governed by the Japan Sumo Association, made up of retired sumo-totis.

Judo is one of Japan’s martial arts with a strong international following and has been an official Olympic sport since 1964. Judo, literally referred to as “softness mode,” was developed from an early form of unarmed martial art called jiu-jitsu (literally, the “softness technique”), instructed by the Asian continent.

Judokas practice such techniques by striking, fighting, and attacking vital points for self-defense and competition. In addition, judo practice also means developing enhanced mental powers and structuring a correct moral attitude. The history of judo begins with the practice of unarmed combat techniques by warriors who fought on the battlefield during the period of the Japanese Civil War (15th-16th centuries).

When peace reigned over Japan during the Edo period (1600-1868), these techniques were embodied in a popular art of self-defense and mental and physical training called jiu-jitsu that spawned 179 schools.

Jiu-jitsu decayed through the Meiji period (1868-1912) along with the ‘wave’ of Westernization and modernization but was revived under the martial arts efforts of expert Kano Jigoro (1860-1938). Kano modernized the techniques of a school and organized a training and competition system that has remained to this day.

In 1952, the International Judo Federation was established, which in 1998 had 177 member countries. Judo is taught at the elementary school level in Japan. Techniques (Waza) are divided into three categories: striking (nagewaza), fighting (katamewaza), and attacking vital points (atemiwaza). The first two are used in competition, but atemiwaza is only used in practice. Agility is essential, and judo movements are loose and natural.

In modern-day judo competition, a match begins after the contestant’s bow to one another, and the head judge gives a command. A full point, called ippon, is awarded for a successful hit, holding, strangling, or joint-lock technique.

The most practiced sports in Japan
The most practiced sports in Japan

The match ends as soon as one of the contestants receives ippon. Over time, the judges may award the win based on partial points or may call for a pull. Kano Jigoro also invented an internationally recognized system of degrees (dan) and classes (kyu) for judokas.

Judokas classification: 1 to 5 may wear a black belt; from 6 to 8, red and white band; and from 9 to 10, red. Color bands can only be used after they qualify for grade series.

This method of unarmed self-defense is not considered a traditional Japanese martial art but is loosely named outside Japan. As the word karate (empty hand) suggests, it is a combat art that uses no weapon. It relies on arm strikes (Uchi), shoves (Tsuki) and kicks (Keri), but a karate move must stop before a critical part of the opponent is hit.

Competitors are judged on what they accomplish at a given time, energy, and mental power within a correct posture. Some actions are considered dirty because they violate the spirit of the sport. Historically, what is known in Japan as karate was developed from Chinese boxing called Quanfa (rules of the fist), known as Kung fu in the West, it spread widely in China as a self-defense method called the Shorinji Kempo until it was suppressed in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The most subsequent development took place in Okinawa, which interacted commercially and culturally with China. Since that time, Chinese techniques had merged with Okinawan indigenous techniques and developed rapidly when weapons were banned in Okinawa.

Karate techniques were secretly transmitted, especially after the Shimazu clan in Kyushu took over the leadership of Okinawa in 1609. In the modern period, the art of karate emerged from obscurity in 1905 after Okinawa dominated Funakoshi Gichin (1868-1957) and performed. A demonstration in Tokyo sponsored by the Ministry of Education. Other masters helped expand karate throughout the country subsequently. Numerous schools and styles have sprung up ever since.

Some styles emphasize body strengthening; others, the fast movement; but they all come from a well-developed method of body training. A general federation of Karate Organizations was established in 1964 before Karate reached a partisan abroad. The main concern of this federation was to establish unified forms, positions, and rules of competition (kata). There are two sections to a karate competition: a form of competition and matchmaking (Kumite).

  • Japan Sports

This is one of the great traditional festivals in Japan. Its origin dates back to the year 1136. At that time, people often suffered from epidemics and famine, caused by rains and floods. Fujiwara-no-Tadanori, the emperor’s chief advisor, summoned the gods to the “Wakamiya” shrine and performed rituals to stop disasters.

The festival starts at midnight on December 16th. The priest and a symbolic representative of the deity of the Wakamiya Shrine, which is covered in white clothing, form a procession led by a sacred fire. At 1 pm the next day, a parade departs from the city hall and continues to the “otabisho,” where the deity will remain throughout the festival.

People dress in Heian and Kamakura period clothes (from the 9th to the 13th centuries). The group conducting the parade is the host of the festival. The second group is Miko, or shrine maidens; the third by a troupe of traditional dancers; and the fourth by dancers who will perform the traditional noh dance. A total of twelve groups walk the parade toward Wakamiya Shrine, where they will entertain festival participants.

  • Sumo, The National Sport

Sumo, with about 2,000 years of history, is considered the national sport of Japan. It is also the most popular in the country. Championships draw crowds to the gymnasiums, TV stations broadcast the fights live, and radio and television newspapers devote large spaces in the news. Fighters are targets of great admiration and respect for the entire population.

The fighters wear mawashi (waistband) and wear different hairstyles. Sumo retains many of its traditional practices, such as dohyo and ties with Shinto ceremonies. Although it existed for thousands of years, it became a professional sport at the beginning of the Edo period (1600-1868). Today, it is practiced in clubs, high schools, and universities, and in amateur associations.

Most Popular Sports In Japan

The dohyo ring is made of special clay and sand. In it is a circle of 4m55 in diameter, marked by a thick rope made of straw. Two white lines within the circle indicate the starting positions from which the fighters depart for the fight. You lose who first comes out of dohyo or touches the floor with any part of the body other than the sole. It is not allowed to hit with closed hands.

The most striking feature of sumo is the size of the wrestlers. On average, it is 1m85 and 148kg – some weigh as much as 200kg. However, height and weight are not decisive for victory. Fighters know this and spend several hours of the day training.

  • Japan sports

Almost all types of sports, both traditional and modern, have many fans in Japan today. Sports newspapers and magazines are read avidly. Crowds fill the stadiums at major athletic events and a few million more watches on TV.

In the field of traditional sports, sumo (Japanese wrestling), judo, kendo (Japanese fencing) and Kyudo (Japanese bow) are especially popular. Radio and TV have greatly revived sumo’s popularity. The beginning of the traditional style of sumo cannot be determined, but legend has it that it dated back over two thousand years ago.

It is a very ceremonial but dramatic sport, which is now closely monitored by almost all Japanese. Each year there are six regular sumo tournaments in Tokyo and other major cities, each lasting 15 days. Professional sumo wrestlers spend the rest of the year touring the country.

  • Judo, which developed from ancient art known as Jiu-jitsu, is now a popular sport not only in Japan but also in many other countries. It has been included in the Olympics since the Tokyo Games in 1964. There are now regular international championships in different parts of the world. In Japan, the Annual Judo Competition from all over Japan attracts strong interest from all over the country.

Kendo’s popularity declines after the war, but nowadays it enjoys a renaissance.

As for modern sports, baseball, which is played across the country at both amateur and professional levels, enjoys the position of national sport. During the spring-to-autumn baseball season, games are aired on TV almost every day. Baseball stars can become national heroes.

Professional baseball was founded in Japan in 1936 with a league. The current two-league system – Central and Pacific, each with six teams – was adopted in 1950. This two-league system, the star-only games, the selection system, and other aspects of Japanese baseball are similar to those in Japan. From the United States. The regular professional baseball season culminates in October with the Japan Series, a tournament between the two league champions.

Twice a year, once in spring and once in summer, the eyes of the nation turn to Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, where gymnastics baseball tournaments take place. These tournaments, brimming with youthful enthusiasm, are major events on Japan’s sports calendar. Supporters from around the country converge on the stadium to cheer up their hometown team, and the media cover the games in detail. Many professional stars were born in Koshien.

Golf has also established itself as a popular sport in Japan. It is estimated that ten million Japanese play golf and some of the country’s 1,400 professionals are big names on the international scene.

Football with the emergence of the Professional League called J.League is becoming very popular, especially among young people, encouraged by the presence in their country of professional and famous players like Zico, Leonardo, Dunga among others. Japan got its first participation in a World Cup in 1998 in France.

Other popular sports in Japan today include tennis, badminton, swimming, and volleyball, which is very popular with young and middle-aged women. Japan is also home to a series of international marathons, which attract famous names from around the world. In winter, many prominent ski resorts in Japan are packed with ski fans.

Japanese seniors don’t have to be left out either. Gateball is very popular among the growing number of people in the country aged 60 and over, which is also one of the most practiced sports in Japan. It is a game that resembles croquet, which can easily be played in parks or other open places.

Many Japanese athletes have participated in international sporting events abroad, including the Olympic Games, and numerous foreign teams and individual athletes visit Japan each year. Japan first participated in the modern Olympic Games at the 5th Stockholm Olympics in 1912 and was a regular participant until the Berlin Games in 1936. The war interrupted its participation until 1952, as Japan participated in the Helsinki Games.

In 1964, Japan hosted the Tokyo Games, the first Olympics to take place in Asia. In 1972, Sapporo, the capital of the northern island of Hokkaido, hosted the Winter Olympics. In 1996 the Winter Olympics in Japan was held in Nagano.

  • Recreation In Japan

The Japanese have begun to devote more attention to leisure in recent years, shopping, tending the garden, repairing the house, spending time with family members and friends and other similar activities are the main leisure habits of most Japanese today. , along with sports and travel. why we write about the The most practiced sports in Japan is because, you may need to travel to Japan and you are a sports lover, this will give you an insight ahead on what to expect and what to prepare for.

Related Posts:





Conclusion On The Most Practiced Sports In Japan

The number of Japanese who travel abroad has increased noticeably in recent years, nowadays, forms of leisure among the Japanese are increasingly varied. Leisure has clearly assumed a greater role in the life and attitude of the Japanese. So that is all we have for you on the most practiced sports in Japan

Tag: The most practiced sports in Japan, Most Popular Sports In Japan