Traditional Sport in Japan
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This chapter focuses on traditional sport in Japan. Modern sports or competitive sports (Olympic sports) were introduced into Japan from the West during the Meiji Era (1868–1912). However, this chapter will not focus on the history of modern sports in Japan, but rather on the historical sports unique to Japan. It should also be noted that the concept of sport will be interpreted in a wider sense with a focus on the physical activities and leisure activities related to Japan’s original and traditional lifestyles. Japan as a nation has the longest continuous history of any nation in the world, and because of this long history, Japan was able to develop its unique sports or sport-like activities. These traditional and culturally specific sports are also related to traditional Japanese religions. I will discuss Japanese sports from a religious perspective, too.