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Facts of Japan - Sports with samurai soul

Updated on May 27, 2011

In Japan, sports are considered to be a healthy activity and Japanese enjoy watching sports. They strongly believe that sports develop culture, character and discipline. Japanese cheer anyone who makes a sincere attempt in sports.

Presently, there is practically every sport available and played in Japan. The culture of Japanese sports dates back after the stone age where archery and hunting were practiced and played. The national sport Sumo was actually played during ancient times and it was actually a religious event to entertain the Shinto God. As such, even today all those religious rituals and beliefs are sincerely followed in sumo matches.

Sumo - event of the Shinto religion.
Sumo - event of the Shinto religion.
Oozora Tsubasa - very popular football player in Japan ;)
Oozora Tsubasa - very popular football player in Japan ;)

In fact, during the Edo period sumo flourished. Yokozuna is the grand champion of sumo. Sumo has no weight restrictions or classes. As such, gaining weight is an essential part of sumo training. The food is called Chanko Nabe, which consists of vegetables, meat and fish. Each year six tournaments are help in Japan and each tournament lasts for 15 days.

The Meiji restoration opened gates of Japan to many new western sports. It was during 1870s, that baseball, rugby, football, ice skating and cricket were introduced. And in 1970, an Austrian, who was an expert, gave skiing instructions and lessons to Japanese Army.

If popular sports are taken into account, then football is the most popular sport in Japan. The first football club in Japan is considered to be Tokyo Shukyu-dan. The national team of Japan competed in 1936 Berlin Olympic Games and had actually defeated the powerful Sweden team at that time. It has also competed in four FIFA world cups.

Introduced in 1872, baseball is another very popular sport in Japan. In 1896. The first Japanese baseball team defeated an American team. And from then on baseball became so famous and it spread out quickly throughout the country. Now it is such a national level sports.

Amazing ball catch in Japanese baseball

Rugby union is the other sport that is widespread in Japan. Japan’s national team has been to every Rugby World Cup since 1987 and it actually won the world cup against Zimbabwe in 1991.

Boxing is another sport that has been played throughout Japan. This was actually introduced when Matthew Perry landed in Japan in 1854, and when the Americans sailors played it on board with their fists covered by thin leather.

Now Golf is also so popular and anyone without an access to Gold course can find a lot of driving ranges throughout the country where they can practice.

Japan has the most amazing skiing and snowboarding resorts where it even conducted two winter Olympic Games. Figure Skating a top sport as well. Presently all four singles reigning champions are from Japan only.

Yuna Kim, Miki Ando, Mao Asada - Japan figure skating champions.
Yuna Kim, Miki Ando, Mao Asada - Japan figure skating champions.
Formula GT at Fuji Speedway.
Formula GT at Fuji Speedway.

Martial art is running through every Japanese soul. Judo, karate, Kendo, Kyudo, Aikido, Samurai, Swords are many martial arts games that is being played in almost all the parts of Japan. They come from their warrior nature from the samurai period.

The motor sport is the most entertaining sport for Japan and the Formula I races are conducted in Japan by Fuji Speedway. In 1976, the first Formula I race took place in this place. Then the Japan Grand prix is being held annually at the Suzuka Circuit as well.

There are few other games and sports that are played enthusiastically by Japanese. Shogi is one such. It is actually a form of Chess that had been introduced to Japan by Chinese during the 8th Century. Another board game Go is also widely popular in Japan.

The Tokyo marathon is one of the largest City Marathon. Japan held the summer Olympic Games in 1964 in Tokyo.

Japan has approximately 239,660 facilities for different sports activities.


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    • profile image

      natasha lewis 4 years ago

      i love you stuff

    • loonyBG profile image

      loonyBG 6 years ago

      Thanks Wil C. I see we think similar :) I love sport activity, especially in teams.

    • Wil C profile image

      Wil C 6 years ago from United States of America

      Nice article, loonybg. I believe sports are great at developing confidence, physical abilities, discipline and a good sense of team work. USA is also very much an athletic nation. As is proven during the Olympics, where USA tends to win the most medals. Good job.