Religion and Sport in Japan

Hardback: $75.00
ISBN-13: 9780824897666
Published: September 2024
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Additional Information

206 pages | 7 b&w illustrations
  • About the Book
  • The sports world’s attention was focused on Japan for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The years-long buildup to and aftermath of the games occurred in the midst of the global pandemic, which delayed the event until 2021. Given all of this, there is perhaps no better time to delve into an often overlooked but critical facet of sport in Japan—namely religion.

    Religion has long been a part of the Japanese sport tradition—from Shugendō practitioners offering sumo bouts to the gods to soccer players of all ages praying for success at Shintō shrines; from the use of meditation and ritual in martial arts to gain focus or superhuman abilities to religious organizations sponsoring sporting events and teams and school sports clubs. Religion and Sport in Japan brings together historians and sport and religious studies specialists from Japan, the US, and Europe to address sport’s ties to corporate and national identity, politics, environmentalism, ritual, and sacred space. Major themes discussed include the spiritual geographies of sport, sport as invented tradition, technologies of self, material culture, and civil religion. The chapters are written so that sport historians with no background in the study of Japan or religious studies scholars who have never before examined the world of sport will find the material accessible. To provide further grounding for non-field specialists, the volume begins with two background chapters that introduce sport studies in Japan and the study of religion and sport.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Zachary T. Smith, Editor

      Zachary T. Smith is assistant teaching professor in the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education at Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg.
    • Dennis J. Frost, Editor

      Dennis J. Frost is Wen Chao Chen Professor of East Asian Social Sciences at Kalamazoo College, Michigan.
    • Stephen G. Covell, Editor

      Stephen G. Covell is chair of the Department of Comparative Religion and Mary Meader Professor of Comparative Religion at Western Michigan University.


    • Saka Natsuko
    • Annie Blazer
    • Christoph Reichenbaecher
    • W. Puck Brecher
    • Robin Kietlinski
    • Paul Droubie
    • Eduardo Gonzalez de la Fuente
    • Eric Teixeira Mendes
    • Andreas Niehaus
    • Alexander Vesey