Sport in Japan

In this article, we will present the games preferred by the Nipona nation. Japanese Asian culture is known worldwide for its respect for its traditions, ancient knowledge, and devotion to any art or specialty.

This time we will talk about the sports that most Japanese people choose for in their daily lives. As we have said before, there are a wide variety of games that the nipons enjoy widely.

Among these, there is a wide range of traditional and cultural sports as well as sports adopted from other cultures that allow them to entertain and enjoy good free time in quality with their families.

History of sports in Japan

Sport in Japan was born with the practice of Sumo more than 1500 years ago, as well as the implementation of various martial arts practices.

The traditional Japanese sports

In the Kamakura era, the traditional martial arts such as Kyūdō, alternative of archery, began to be seen and accepted as sports competitions, the more it was not until the arrival of the Edo era in which sports were consolidated as a popular form of pastime, including the practice of hunting and the traditional martial arts (judo, karate, and fencing, kendo).

With the arrival of the Meiji era in Japan, Japan saw the emergence of Western sports and new modalities.

Universities popularized baseball, football, and rugby matches among others, and in 1911, winter sports were introduced thanks to Austrian athletes and immigrants. It was not until the end of World War II that the competitions were popularized through university tournaments, broadcast on radio and television.

In the middle of the 20th century, there was also the professionalization of the most seen sports, although the definitive consolidation did not take place until the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964, where many games previously unknown to the Japanese public could be popularized, as well as including judo as an Olympic sport, which popularized this martial art to international level.

In recent years, the development of the Japanese industry in car parks led to motorsports, especially road racing motorcycle racing and speed, as well as the formation of teams and training professional racing drivers, generating even modalities themselves as well as the sliding.

In tribute to the progress and the expansion of the universe sports for the nation japan, the Government of Japan established the second Monday of October as the national day of entertainment and health (体育の日, Taiiku no hi).

Traditional Japanese Sports

One of the most significant contributions of the Asian nation to the world sports scene is the incorporation of martial arts as a sports practice.

Traditional martial arts such as judo, kendo, karate, and aikido remain essential both within and outside the Japanese borders.

The importance of Sumo in the history of sport in Japan

Sumo, a Japanese national sport, is an ancient fighting style derived from a Shinto religious ceremony to celebrate the Kami (Shinto gods). It has a series of symbolism strongly linked to ancestral and spiritual traditions of great respect for the Japanese.

Sumo wrestlers (known as rikishi) usually wear hair in the style of old warriors, weigh between 100 and 200 kilos, and fight only using their bare hands wrapped in a unique silk belt. The fight takes place within a ring called dohyo in which the two contenders must face each other until one of them is left out of the arena or steps into it with any other part of his body other than his feet.

Sports more followed by the Japanese

Some of the most popular games among which are distributed the majority of Japanese citizens are those that we will mention below, with the sports with the highest number of followers.

Among the most popular and most popular sports in the Land of the Rising Sun are baseball and professional football.

Baseball is considered one of Japan’s National Sports. This American sport came to the Japanese coast in the middle of the Meiji era, when Japan decided to open up to the rest of the world.

It is one of the most popular sports and represents the most magnificent spectacle for Japanese citizens. Professional baseball in Japan consists of 12 professional teams: six from the Central League and the remaining six from the Pacific League.

Each team plays about 140 games during the season so that after crowned a winner within the respective leagues, they would face each other in the Japan Series.

Small leagues also enjoy high acceptance and popularity among Japanese children and young people. These leagues have a National High School Baseball Championship, which is played twice a year by the winners of each of the prefectures at the national level.

For their part, professional football gained popularity in the decade of the ’90s, beginning to count with a professional league following the birth of the League J.

This European sport has more and more followers, as evidenced by the 2002 FIFA Korea Japan Cup, as well as having players in essential teams of the European league allowing its expansion.

Kei Nishikori tennis player and one of the Legends of Japanese sport among the best athletes in the history of Japan

The Best Japanese athletes in history

Japan has been a sports power, at the Olympic Games, it always shows excellent potential, despite being a small nation when compared to other countries in Europe or America.

And always, he has produced great stars in individual sports. Nowadays, one of the most outstanding Japanese athletes is Kei Nishikori, who plays tennis and is already a legend for many.

But there are other lesser-known stars, such as the Japanese baseball legend Sadaharu Oh, with a total of 868 home runs in his professional sports life, and within the Hall of Fame of Japan, he is one of the greatest in history.