Sport in Japan
Japan has a very rich martial arts tradition and it is famous for Sumo wrestling which is considered as Japan's national sport. Other types of martial arts like karate, judo and the modern version of kendo, are also popular. There are also a number of western sports that have gain considerable popularity in Japan such as baseball and football.
The Nippon Professional Baseball is where the Japanese people watch their favorite players. Baseball was introduced to Japan in 1872 by Horace Wilson. The amateur baseball competitions are very popular and at times even rival the audience of professional games. Football is also quite popular which was introduced way back in the Meiji period.
Basketball is also gaining popularity and their national team has taken the FIBA Asia Championship twice and have also qualified 25 out of 26 times.
Japan also hosted the 2006 FIBA World Championship. As far as hosting international sporting events are concerned, Japan has hosted the Olympic Games in 1964, 1972 and 1998. They are also set to host the 2020 Olympic Games. They first joined the Games in 1912 and won their first Olympic medal in 1920, both of which are silver. Their first gold came in 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games.
Below are details of sports, sporting events and sports people related to Japan. See also the list the most popular internet searches for "sports" in Japan.
Popular sports of Japan (see more)
Traditional or Regional Sports
- Sumo Wrestling — two wrestlers within a circular ring try and push the other out.
- Kemari — the aim is to keep a ball in the air.
- Kendo — a form of Japanese martial art that originated from kenjutsu, and involves thrusts and strikes.
- Yukigassen — a snowball fighting-competition played between two teams with seven players each, originated in Japan.
- Yotsudama — a variation of Four-Ball carom billiards played in Japan.
- Auto Race — a Japanese motorcycle speedway competition which is held on tarmac tracks, predominantly a gambling sport.
Japan Sporting Success
- Hideki Matsuyama became the first male Japanese player to win a major, winning the 2021 Masters
Athletes from Japan
- Sadaharu Oh (baseball)
- Matsui Hideki
- Naoko Takahashi (athletics)
- Ichiro Suzuki(baseball)
- Jumbo Ozaki
- Kunishige Kamamoto (football)
- Taiho Koki (sumo)
- Masahiko Kimura (judo)
Japan Sports trivia
- Japan was first selected to host the 1940 Olympic Games, but it was taken off them when WWII started.
Japan at major events
- Japan at the Summer Olympics
- Japan at the Winter Olympics
- Japan at the FIFA World Cup
- Japan at the AFC Asian Cup
- Japan at the Rugby World Cup
- Japan women's football team at the FIFA Women's World Cup
Past sporting events hosted in Japan
- 1964 Olympic Games summer Tokyo
- 1964 Paralympic Games in Tokyo
- 1972 Winter Olympic Games Sapporo
- 1998 Winter Olympic Games Nagano
- 2001 East Asian Games held in Osaka
- 2001 World Swimming Championships Fukuoka
- 2002 FIFA World Cup was hosted in Japan & South Korea
- 2006 FIBA World Championship
- 2015 WBSC Premier 12 co-hosted by Taiwan and Japan
- 2019 Rugby World Cup
- 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
- 2021 Paralympics in Tokyo
Upcoming sporting events in Japan
Annual sporting events held in Japan
Sporting Facilities in Japan
- National 'Olympic' Stadium (Japan National Stadium), Tokyo
- Tokyo Stadium (Ajinomoto Stadium) , Tokyo
- Sapporo Dome, Sapporo
- Miyagi Stadium, Miyagi
- Kashima Stadium, Kashima
- Saitama Stadium, Saitama
- Yokohama International Stadium (Nissan Stadium), Yokohama
- Japan Institute of Sports Sciences
Is there something missing? If you know of something that should be listed here, please let me know.
- List of the most popular sports in Japan
- Japan Travel Food Guide for Athletes
- Countries list
- World of Sport Home