Popular sports in Japan (and Enjoy WORLD CUP! )

(This post was written on June 29th, 2018)

The Japan team in FIFA World Cup 2018

FIFA World Cup is being held now. I like watching sports very much! I often watch games such as baseball or football on TV or in venues.
World Cup is featured in the news every day and many football fans (including my husband and me) get excited over talking about the games. I have liked the Japan national team since the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan! At that time I often went to the soccer stadium to support Japan. (*^^*)
Japan has advanced to the Round of 16.

↑Japan, Colombia, Senegal, Poland are in group H.

Japanese are very surprised and excited because they had thought the Japan team was very weak. As the average age of the member is older than other teams(28.26 years old) and the head coach was replaced immediately before the World Cup, Japanese people had thought the team could not win in that tournament.

FIFA official site: Group Matches

※Unfortunately the final match (Japan vs Poland) was a very terrible and boring game. It was not an exciting game. I think Japan would lose in the next match at this rate…

(July 3rd, 2018)

The round of 16 matches between Japan and Belgium was over. Japan lost to Belgium in the game, but it was an exciting and wonderful game. It was different than the game between Japan and Poland.

FIFA official site

Fair-weather football fans got excited

The number of fair-weather football fans increases every time of FIFA World Cup being held. Especially young fans got excited and wore blue Japan uniform and partied outside. Some people went to the scramble crossing in Shibuya after the game finishing. They gave each other high five and sang a supporter’s song in the scramble crossing. And police had been dispatched to guide them to obey traffic lights.

This site introduces a look of Shibuya on the day.


Some people jumped into the Dotonbori river from Ebis-Bashi in Osaka. I don’t want to dive into Dotonbori as that river is not clean. (^^;

Thus, Japanese young people gather in a downtown area whenever the national football team wins in a big tournament.

Popular sports in Japan

I’m going to talk about sports in Japan. Football is one of the most popular sports in Japan. We have a professional league called J League and there are many fans. A lot of children learn football, and many people enjoy futsal even if they become adults.
Other than football, I introduce popular sports in Japan below.

The most popular sport in Japan. Professional baseball and the national high school baseball championship at “Koshien” in summer have many fans.
Some employed people start to learn golf to play golf with clients at the company’s expense. Some companies hold a golf tournament to motivate and for the unity of employees.
A tennis club is the most popular one at a university in Japan. Thanks to Kei Nishikori, tennis become more and more popular in Japan recently.
Running (Marathon)
A few Japanese marathon runners got medals in the Olympic games. Many people enjoy jogging. “Ekiden” is also popular and “Hakone Ekiden(Tokyo-Hakone collegiate ekiden relay race)” is one of the Japanese new year’s features. Ekiden is a long-distance relay race.

Sumo is the national sport of Japan. Recently I heard the number of young women enjoying to watch Sumo has increased.

Figure skating
Mao Asada, Yuzuru Hanyu…Many famous star players are in Japan. This sport is particularly popular among women.

And these sports also have many players and fans.
Volleyball/Basketball/Gymnastics/Swimming/Table tennis/Judo/Boxing/Athletics/Skiing & Snowboarding/Badminton…etc
I have done some of those sports and watch those sports on TV.

I have experienced playing tennis at the club at school. In Japan, club activities at school are more popular than a local club, and many people have experienced these sports at school when they were students. 

What is “taiikukaikei“(体育会系) in Japan?

By the way, the hierarchical relationship in some clubs is very severe, then students learn politeness, loyalty, and perseverance from the club activities. They are called “taiikukaikei(体育会系)”(like the military) and had been given important posts in Japanese companies many years. But recently there is also an opinion that the corporate culture of the “taiikukaikei” system is creating abuse of authority, called “power harassment” in Japan.

Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games will hold in 2020. We have to make sports more popular. I want to become interested in various sports including minor sports and disabled sports in Japan. I am looking forward to the Tokyo Olympics!


rice (Japanese OL)

Japanese OL. (OL means “office lady”. Women who work in offices.) I was born in a rural part of the Kanto area in the latter half of the 1980s. I  live and work in Tokyo now. I live with my husband. I study English by writing this blog!

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