Japan is a tourist destination known for its natural beauty, rich literary heritage, sumptuous cuisines. However, what many people don’t know is that Sport is a very big deal in Japan, and the country itself is also famous for a number of sports. Sports is a significant part of the culture, and people from different parts of the world come to see the actions live. Among the several sports you must see or try during your visit to Japan are discussed below. Continue reading »
Posted September 22nd, 2012 by mel+ | Comment (0)
I am sure we all know about karate – perhaps thanks to the Karate Kid series of movies. We know about aikido – thanks to Steven Segal. We know a lot of Eastern martial arts. Yet have you ever heard of koryu?
Koryu is the Japanese word used to refer to the ancient Japanese martial arts. Trust me, this is the real thing! Basically, if you translate koryu to English, you will get “old school”. Now that sounds tough, doesn’t it?
Koryu typically refers to the Japanese martial arts schools that focus on the techniques that existed way before the Meiji Restoration. That is, before the year 1866. As you can see, koryu is a very old Japanese tradition.
This term actually covers a lot of ground and even encompasses some of the better known schools of martial arts today. This includes judo and aikido. However, the latter two are modern day versions of koryu. More so, koryu includes both armed and unarmed fighting techniques.
To give you a more comprehensive background on koryu:
Although systematic training in the use of weapons, and methods for employing them in warfare existed long before, it is generally believed that the development of martial traditions, schools, or styles (ryu-ha) did not arise until after the end of the Heian period (794-1185). Central to this training was study of the bow (yumi), the sword (tachi), and the spear (yari). Initially, these weapons were not studied in separate arts. Rather, since the need was to prepare for battlefield combat, many different weapons and strategic and tactical skills were taught as part of comprehensive systems (sogo bujutsu).
From the middle of the Muromachi period (ca. 1480) to the beginning of the Tokugawa period (ca. 1605) people gradually began to specialize in a particular weapon or system, particularly the bow, spear, sword, grappling and horsemanship. Warriors gathered in family-centered groups or trained with other members of their local domains. As the techniques and methods of these groups became more and more individuated, or as teachers gained particular insights into the essential nature and principles of combat, there arose discrete martial “traditions” or “styles” or “schools” (bujutsu ryu-ha). This began happening at the beginning of the Keicho era (ca. 1600), picked up impetus throughout the Tokugawa period (1600-1868), and has continued even into the twentieth century.
So are you interested in learning koryu? Are you thinking of training for koryu? I found a very informative and comprehensive site about koryu. Head on over there to find out more.
Photo courtesy of Meguro-jin
Posted June 28th, 2011 by Maki+ | Comments (3)
I suppose it can be considered a stereotype of sorts but I remember that as a child, whenever someone mentioned Japan and sports in the same sentence, I thought of sumo wrestling. A child does not know any better right? Still, today, ages after sumo wrestling began in Japan, the sport still attracts as many people as it used to.
You might be thinking that it is but a natural thing. After all, many kinds of sports are ageless. Think basketball, football, and baseball. The thing is, you may not know that the world of sumo wrestling has been suffering from various setbacks.
One, there is the lack of homegrown talent. In the old days, you could not even begin to imagine that there would be non-Japanese sumo wrestlers. However, these days, you should not be surprised to see Americans, Russians, Mongolians, and other nationals on the mats. Two, sumo wrestling in Japan has been rife with scandals. Three, sumo wrestling has had to compete with the popularity of other â€œimportedâ€ sports.
Still, it seems that this age-old sport has managed to retain its allure and people actually pay considerable amounts to watch live matches. And that is a very good thing. In this age of globalization, it is a sad thing to sit back and watch some old traditions die in many nations. In the cutthroat world of sports, sumo wrestling is one honorable tradition that should not suffer the same fate as other things.
Posted February 16th, 2011 by Maki+ | Comments (6)
Here’s something else that the Japanese nation can be proud of: 18-year-old Eri Yoshida is going to play pro ball in the United States! The pitcher learned knuckleball with Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox right-hander, during spring training. That in itself is something else!
Next month, Yoshida will be living the life which is only a dream to many – both male and female. She has signed her contract with Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League. She will be joining their training camp in May. Believe it or not, she isn’t the first woman to pitch professionally for the U.S. Prior to Yoshida, there was Ila Borders, who has been retired for more or less 10 years now.
What does the young girl have to say about all this? Yoshida says that she is “grateful for this opportunity. This is a dream come true for me and I hope I can contribute to the team and help them win and also to continue to improve as a pro baseball player.”
Indeed, this is something that does not happen everyday. Yoshida is a mere five feet tall and 114 pounds (although you don’t really have to be physically big to play pro baseball) and might be taken lightly by unbelievers. The team is quite excited to have her play, though, and fans even more so.
Despite the odds, things are looking good for this young baseball player. She has a good track record and at her age, she has so much to look forward to.
Posted April 10th, 2010 by Maki+ | Comment (1)
Skeleton racing is probably not the most popular sport around, but it does have its own pack of supporters. Now that the Winter Olympics is the hot topic in sports, skeleton racing is gaining more notice, especially in Japan. By general consensus, Kazuhiro Koshi is regarded as the pioneer of skeleton racing in his country. Now 45 years old, the veteran says that he has “reached his limit.” From what has happened in the Winter Olympics, it looks like he just might be right. On the 19th, the competition for skeleton racing ended with Koshi finishing a mere 20th – overall. Despite this sad showing, Koshi remains positive and his fans continue to voice their support.
Koshi’s story is quite an interesting one. The Examiner tells us more:
Kazuhiro Koshi started off with dreams of Olympic gold out of university. Born in Nagano, the home of the 1998 winter Olympics, Koshi undoubtedly grew up surrounded by winter sports. He originally aimed to become a bobsledder for the 1992 Albertville Olympics, but after failing to be selected he switched his focus to skeleton.
However, at the time he decided to change it is reported that there were virtually no serious skeleton racers in Japan. In order to advance to an international competitive level, which he finally did by the late 1990s, he had to take advice from experts in foreign countries and train rigorously.
In the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Koshi placed 8th in skeleton, and in 2006 he placed 11th in Turin.
This man’s spirit is undoubtedly admirable and as he announces his plans of leaving the life of competition, we wish him well.
Posted February 22nd, 2010 by Maki+ | Comments (2)
The World Cup always attracts immense amount of attention. Every four years, when it is held, the whole world stops in its tracks to follow whatâ€™s going on in the world of football. Of course, part of the reason for the large following (aside from the love of the sport itself) is the fact that tons of money is spent on advertising. That means that sponsors will not hesitate to advertise their own wares.
This time around, Castrol is jumping into the advertising bandwagon big time. Have you ever heard of the â€œwonderfulâ€ robot made by Castrol Japan? If not, then check this video out at the World Cup Blog.
So what can the robot do? If you took the time to watch the video, you would know that it can kick a football (just like a football player does when making a free kick). But itâ€™s not just like any kicker â€“ the machine can kick a ball at a top speed of 200 kilometers per hour! Thatâ€™s 70 kilometers per hour more than the world record that is held by famous football player Cristiano Ronaldo! Of course, there really is no comparison (despite the allusions made by Castrol executives) here as Ronaldo is made of flesh and bone while the machine is, well, a machine (made of nuts and bolts?!).
In any case, this robot will certainly draw a lot of attention, if only for the fact that it doesnâ€™t look anything like a football player and that it has awesome kick powers.
Posted January 28th, 2010 by Maki+ | Comment (0)
Well before the Winter Olympics begins, Mao Asada is already making her country proud. She has been under the spotlight again as she just got a fourth national title â€“ straight. She was the world champion in 2008, but has since then met a series of failures, disappointing many fans. With this recent win, however, critics are saying that Asada is back in form, and that she is once again in the running.
Japan’s former world champion Mao Asada, returning to form with a fourth straight national title, is rekindling a hot rivalry with South Korea’s Kim Yu-Na ahead of their Olympic debut.
Asada nailed her trademark triple axel in the free skate to triumph at the Japanese championships on Sunday, prompting a nationwide sigh of relief for one of the country’s few gold medal hopefuls at February’s Vancouver Winter Games.
“It is important to aim high. I want the gold medal,” the 19-year-old said on television on Monday. “I will aim to perfect all of my programmes.”
It was the first time that the 2008 world champion has stood on the top of the podium in any event this season, which has been fraught with her failures in landing the highly demanding 3.5-revolution jump.
Her countrymen are definitely happy with her most recent performance, but Asada is probably the most fulfilled person at this point. This should be a good booster for her as she prepares for the Winter Olympics in February, which is just a couple of months away.
Posted December 29th, 2009 by Maki+ | Comment (1)
If the Japanese government has its way, then we just might be treated to such an experience in about 6 yearsâ€™ time! The news is that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, the new Prime Minister of Japan, is pushing for Japanâ€™s bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is holding a meeting in Copenhagen this week, and the Prime Ministerâ€™s spokesman announced that Hatoyama will be actively pushing for their bid.
The current contenders for the position of host for the 2016 Summer Olympics are Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo. The voting will be done on Friday by roundabouts 100 members of the IOC. As of now, not one of the cities has emerged as a clear favorite. As such, they are all doing their best to come up with the most attractive bid in an effort to get the votes from the IOC members.
So whatâ€™s Japanâ€™s plan? The tagline is to host the â€œmost compact, ecologically friendly, and athletes-focusedâ€ Olympics in history. It seems that the ecologically friendly aspect is the strongest point of Tokyoâ€™s bid, with the Prime Minister promising to drastically cut back on the countryâ€™s carbon emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. It is a very bold move, but I think that if any nation can do it, it is Japan.
An interesting piece of news: royalty and presidents (or the wife, in President Obamaâ€™s case) are going to Copenhagen to further their countriesâ€™ cause, but it seems that Crown Prince Naruhito is not going.
Posted September 28th, 2009 by Maki+ | Comment (0)
Rugby may not be the number one sport in Japan but it does have more than its share of followers. In fact, Japan is considered to be the top Asian country for rugby. Recent developments have proven that rugby has indeed reached new heights in the country. As a matter of fact, Japan joined the bidding activities to be the host of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and won!
This victory makes Japan the first ever Asian host of the Rugby World Cup. Japan Rugby Football Union president Yoshiro Mori says:
The God of rugby smiled on us today. I am filled with emotion to be a part of this historic day for Japan and for rugby around the world.
This is the countryâ€™s second attempt at becoming the host of the Rugby World Cup.
Japan has indeed a lot to offer as the host of the Rugby World Cup. It has one of the finest and most modern set of infrastructure in Asia, competing with the rest of the world. There is no doubt that they will be able to provide for the technical needs of the tournament. If they do not have the infrastructure up already, 10 years will certainly be enough to build what is necessary.
The nation will also benefit from being the hosts of the World Cup. According to estimates by Deloitte, Japan stands to gain about 2 billion Great Britain Pounds (about 3.2 billion US Dollars) from the event.
Posted July 28th, 2009 by Maki+ | Comments (2)
Tennis fans have flocked together at Wimbledon to witness perhaps the most important event in the sport. True tennis enthusiasts would recognize the name Ai Sugiyama, a Japanese tennis veteran. She made her debut in the All England Club scene way back in 1993 and has since then participated in the event 17 times.
Sugiyama, who is now 33 years old, says that she is now only playing for pleasure and not really to compete. Though she is still considered the number one woman tennis player in Japan, she is currently having a hard time keeping up physically. It is no wonder given her age, which can be considered a tad too old for the sport. AFP quotes her as saying:
I’m just thinking year by year now. I don’t know if I can come back next year. It is too far to think of for me. Each year I’m fighting every day to be fit and physically, mentally to be able to play at the top level. It’s difficult actually.
The older you get, it’s definitely tougher because physically, when you’re young, even though you play three or four matches, once you stretch well, eat well then sleep you will be fresh. But when you get to 33, recovering wise, it’s not that easy compared to before so you have to really take care of your body.
What she said is true enough but there is also no doubt that she can still deliver a very good game on the grass. More importantly, she is still well regarded in the tennis world.
Posted June 27th, 2009 by Maki+ | Comment (0)