Japanese Sports In Modern Society Cultural Studies Essay

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The state of Japan is an Island nation found on the Eastern side of Asia. Japan is a combination of many Islands and four of its main Islands include Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku which account for 97% of the total land in Japan. Most of the Islands are mountains and many volcanos take place. For instance the highest peak in Japan, Mount Fuji is a volcano. The country is densely populated with a total population of over 127 million people. Japanese society has different cultural forms which reflect their traditions, religion and stratification. Just like other societies, the main bearers of popular forms of Japanese culture depend on the particular class an individual belongs. The elites among the Japanese take part in traditional cultural styles like flower arrangements, tea ceremonies, music and dancing. The elites also enjoy western classic music, opera, and exhibitions of art and performances of theatre. The above practices portray the culture of the elite among the Japanese. The ordinary citizens of Japan take part in informal activities like down to earth cultural styles. In the urban centers, Japanese enjoy different types of their traditional culture for example colorful agrarian festival and local folk dances. Japan is made up of different cultural groups which are not recognized by the public (Sugimoto, 2010).

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The main culture in Japan is multifarious a representative the ways of life shared and enjoyed by the common people. Popular culture is divided in to three categories in Japan. Mass culture has spread as a result of consumer market and the development of mass communication. Folk culture is based on the traditions and conventions of the indigenous tradition and finally we have alternative culture which is generated by members when they interact with people from other cultures through being influenced in their culture. In Japan, mass culture includes television and radio entertainment which are the most important. The mass press which presents issues, scandals and real life realities and also fashion and trend culture where goods produced and distributed by people are either accepted or rejected. There is also entertainment in theatres, restaurants and music shops. Entertainment is also through computer. Mass culture in Japan in different forms with all of them employing channels of mass information distribution like the television, computer, and advertisements, which in helps in development of a sense of togetherness in doing things (Martinezi,1998).

Folk culture exhibits the differences in culture between different regions. In Japan, different areas have different folk songs, folk dances, and folk crafts. Plurality of folk culture in Japan is seen in Okinawa the Island on the southern part and Hokkaido the Island found on the Northern part. In Okinawa Buddhism and Shintoism are not influential. In Ryukyu Islands each village has a shrine ( utaki) where they worship their ancestors and gods who descend from heaven. They believe that gods who bring happiness to the people visit on festive occasions from Utopia which is beyond the ocean. The annual festivals on these Islands are related to the sea. During the festive occasions, Ryuku dance is performed which involves wave like movement of the dancers figures a similarity of dances found in South East Asia (Sugimoto,2010). The system of music in Okinawa is different from other parts in Japan but has some similarities with Indonesia, Malaysia and Philistines. Okinawa was an occupant of United States which makes it have a lot of influence from America. In some parts of Japan folk culture is almost coming to an end because of the dominant cultural forms which have come up .An example is Ainu folk culture. Ainu community was pushed from Honshu Island to Hokkaido. They had a language, a tradition of carrying out their festivals and a distinct belief system. Their clothes were made of fur or linen and they were decorated. They got their diet through hunting and fishing. They also had special techniques of carving and tattooing. They have animistic beliefs where they belief that every physical object has a spiritual being which makes it to move. They belief in the existence of both good and bad supernatural beings. The supernatural being will either affect the object either positively or negatively depending on whether good or bad. These cultural practices are parts of Japans folk culture which are less visible nowadays and they are slowly dying out.

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In Japan sport is a very important aspect of culture. Traditional sports like sumo and martial arts and sports which have been imported in from western countries like baseball and football are common to spectators and participants. Baseball is the most popular sp[ort in Japan which is referred to as Yakyu. It was introduced in Japan in 1872 by Horace Wilson who taught at Kaisei School in Tokyo (Fitts, 2005). The first baseball team was given the name Shimbashi Athletic club established in 1878.Since then, it has remained to be a popular sport. Many people are interested in the game and therefore making it to be played by males and females, young and old people. In March 2009, the Japanese baseball team entered the final of the world baseball classic. Many people like McDonalds produced different kinds of products to cheer their team. During the final game between Japan and Korea, many Japanese friends failed to attend their classes so that they can watch the game. The game is among the most important events which are held in the year in the minds of many Japanese.When Japanese won the 2009 game many of the shops in Japan provided their customers with discounts so that they can celebrate the victory. In November 2008 there was a match between Weseda University Team and Keio University team in Jinguu near Tokyo. Many people attended the match to the extend that people lined up so that they can get a seat in the stadium. During the match and even before its beginning, the cheering squad of Japan known as Oendan who were wearing their uniform danced yelled, as well as hitting the Taiku drum continuously. Keio University finally lost the game to Waseda university team. The players and the cheering squad were unhappy and the audience cried over the issue. According to the way these people reacted after the team was defeated, it’s clear that baseball is a glory to Japan. These people are very much concerned with victory or loss of baseball teams because they always need unity. The cheering squad and the audience are as devoted as the players because the three sectors cannot be separated in a Japanese baseball team.

At around 1900 baseball clubs were formed in secondary schools throughout the company. It was the major sport among the Japanese schools and schools competed amongst each other. The teams which win from each region of the country participate in the Japan Collegiate baseball Championship which is held annually. High School baseball activity involves tournament of the National High School baseball Championship which takes place every year between March and April and the tournament of all the High Schools in Japan which takes place in August. These tournaments take place at Koshien Stadium. These Schools represent the culture of Japan and therefore they receive a lot of attention from the press. The activity is broadcasted live through the television and radio throughout the country. There are also other teams which are not comprised of students which take part in recognizable leagues and tournaments (Sugimto, 2010). However the most important tournaments in Japan include tournament between cities and that which is between students. High School baseball is under the supervision of Japan Amateur Baseball Federation which comprises of different groups governing high schools, college, and other completions. Weseda university team was the first Japanese team to visit the United states of America in 1905.After two years, the first super-professional team from America visited Japan from Hawaii..Several international matches were then organized by colleges and clubs whereby the University of Waseda and the University of Chicago played 10 games between 1906 and 1936.The first American Major League to visit Japan in 1913 was led by Charles Comiskey and John McGraw. The major league which was managed by Connie Mack came to Japan between 1931 and 1934 and its main players included Lefty Grove, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx and Babe Ruth who made greatly impressed the Japanese public leading to the formation of the first professional team in Japan. After the Second World War, interchanges between Japanese and American baseballs became more frequent. San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League visited Japan in 1949 and they were followed by other major teams. Nowadays, Japanese professional teams are being trained in America. Americans are also found playing for Japanese professional teams (Bronson, 2004).

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Sports have for a long time been a connective tissue in the Imperial, International and Global scales. Soccer, baseball and cricket were the most important organized sports and physical leisure activities which were formalin the 19th century. These activities later spread at a high rate from west to the rest of the world. From the second half of the century, they spread from the colonial and military world as complex organizational skills, equipment and players creating a global sportscape of international competitions. When these activities were introduced in many locations, they produced a fascinating rich literature about the differences in cultural values leading to globalization. Globalization does not only mean assimilating and imitating but also a process of indigenization that is adopting foreign objects and practices and making them meaningful and valuable in ones life. Globalization is a process of making the world the same by people having common activities for instance a case whereby news can be received from all parts of the world. The same case applies to sports because players come from different parts of the world to compete. During the competition the players remain friendly to each other even after a team is defeated. Interaction of players from different parts fosters a sense of unity and cooperation. Sports therefore lead to .globalization because people from different parts come together, socialize and exchange their cultural values so that practices which were not found in some places are assimilated by the players and taken back to their .homes. During sports for example world cup which takes place after four years, players from all over the world compete with one another during which the competitions are broadcasted through the television. People from all corners of the world are in a position to watch the game. People from all the countries continue cheering the team even after their own team has been defeated until the final winner. This fosters a sense of cooperation between states making sports a global matter (Bronson, 2004).

Baseball in the United States unlike soccer and cricket outside the schools of the elite making it commercialized and professionalized earlier compared to soccer and cricket. This game was different from sports in schools because it lacked ideological association with personal character Japanese baseball league was a professional baseball league in Japan. It was established in 1936 and it was initially called Japanese Occupational Baseball League after which the name was changed. The league was composed of many clubs like Dai Tokyo, Nagoya baseball Club, Tokyo Senators, Osaka Tigers and others. Like any other parts of the world sports play a very important aspect in the lives of young people in Japan. First of all, through playing baseball the youth are practicing. Body exercises are very important in the growth of the youth. Young people who actively take part in sports have built their muscles making them to be strong. There are other diseases which result from eating fatty foods and sitting idle like obesity. People who engage in plays escape chances of contracting such diseases. During sports individuals from different places compete with one another. They may be students from different schools, regions islands etc. Through sports they learn to interact with other people. During the competition, there must be winners and losers of the game. Young people in Japan learn to accept defeat if it happens. They learn to work hard during the competition so that they can emerge as winners because for Japanese success is their aim. Through interaction with people from other parts of the world, Japanese borrow from players of other countries some aspects of their culture. Some of the things they learn from other people can be helpful to them in future. For example in their interaction with other people, they learn other languages. Knowledge of a foreign language helps them to communicate when they visit these countries (Bill, 2008).

Participation in sport activities is beneficial to the youth, parents, communities and social institutions. Participation in sports serves a number of purposes like providing children with fun and gratification, fulfilling the affliative need for friendship, giving individuals a sense of belonging, and also financial benefits associated with participation in games. Sports have the potential of producing positive outcomes in educational and non-educational settings for the children and the youth. There are four main consequences in the examination or evaluation of any sport activity. Two of these consequences are present at the level of an individual or personal level where sports leads to self enjoyment and personal growth. The other two affect the community in general whereby sports lead to social integration and growth. An ideal sport activity must contribute to the above four aspects. There are five factors which should be present so that a child or the youth experience the benefits of personal enjoyment in sports. These factors include: personal enjoyment, excitement of the sport, improvement of one’s sport activities, testing ones skills against those of other people and finally performance of the skills. The above factors contribute a lot to enjoyment of a sport. The growth of an individual includes physical and psychological factors. Physical health can be improved and maintained through participation in sports. Life time sports like swimming, tennis, cycling help in meeting nationally established health services. Studies have shown that there is a positive relationship between psychological wellbeing and regular involvement in physical activities as it reduces anxiety and depression (Sugimoto, 2010).

Japanese Baseball League has been a major influence on the culture of Japan. The league is composed of people from Japan and others from other parts of the world like America. These people have come with their own cultural values. These foreign cultures have now been incorporated in Japan leading erosion culture. Today Japan borrows many aspects from the culture of America because of the Japanese players in the league. These aspects have altered the original culture of Japan. Their language has also been influenced through this interaction. Their own culture has also been adopted by other people. Interaction with other people therefore impacts their culture both positively and negatively. In addition, Japanese Baseball league has done a lot towards globalizing the society. The activity makes them to have a sense of togetherness. During the competition, the cheering squad and other people feel as much as the players. If the country succeeds, they all celebrate together and the vicevarsa. The game gets its players from all over the country thus a sense of togetherness. Sports is an important aspect not only in Japan but also other parts of the world (Bill, 2003).The Japanese society are given discounts in the shops when the win the competitions of a baseball. This acts as a motivating factor for the players to work even harder so that they can win. The players are also given presents as a way of appreciating their work for the country. Through the players Japan as a country has been famous in baseball and they have to appreciate their players so that they can continue with this spirit. We also learn that during the competition even those who have big businesses close them so that they can participate by cheering the players. This is an indication of hoe baseball is a unifying factor in Japan. Baseball is very important because it makes people to stop their own activities which could benefit them financially so as to watch the ball.