Go (Œé): 

This is a board game played by two people. The board is made up of a 19 ?~ 19 grid with 361 intersections. Black and white stones are used. Each player takes it in turn to place his stone on the board. The idea of the game is to capture the most territory. There are so many different possibilities with this game, it takes many years to become a reasonable player. NHK often have programs on the game. There are two professional organizations, the Nihon Kiin and the Kansai Kiin.

Shogi (?«Šû): 

An oriental relation to chess. Each player has twenty pieces. The idea, as in chess, is to capture the king. This is quite an ancient game. As with Go, players are ranked by their skill. The Japan shogi Association has many professional members. Both Go and Shogi are thought to have been introduced to Japan from China. Shogi's origins trace back to India.


It was introduced to Japan in the early 1920's. It still remains a very popular, but complex game, which can be noisy at times. This is one way people in Japan relax and gamble informally (illegally). There are also many Mahjong parlors across Japan.

Legalized Gambling

Horse Races (‹£hn): 

Horse racing was introduced in its Western form in the late 19th century by the foreign community, living in Yokohama. It did not become popular, however, until after the second World War. In Japan horse racing is not "a sport of kings" but of the common man.

Bicycle Racing(‹£—Ö): 

It was started in 1948 to stimulate the Japanese economy and help the bicycle industry. It was one of the top gambling sports at one stage. Today it still retains some popularity.

Motorboat Racing(‹£fø): 

This is a recent addition in Japan. I don't  think it is quite as popular as bicycle racing. Women also compete in this sport for big prize money.


National lottery tickets cost 300 Yen each and the top prize for a single ticket is 60.000.000 Yen. The draw is held twice a year winter and summer. There are also other lottery draws, with smaller prize money.


Perhaps the most popular form of gambling. Pachinko parlors are liberally spread all over Japan. The parlors are amazingly noisy places, often filled with cigarette smoke.

If you have never seen a Pachinko machine, it can be described in a simple fashion as follows: 

A spring mechanism is used to fire a steel ball up a vertical board with various holes in it. There are nails and other devices to deflect the ball. It is not an easy game to win at. 

The parlors employ professionals to adjust the nails in the boards, to make it more difficult to win. However, there are people who devote themselves to the game and some even make a very comfortable living just from winning at pachinko. This is a popular game for many types of people. The flashing lights and the different themes used for the pachinko machines, make it almost like a narcotic. I have tried a few times. Each time I spent 1.000 Yen and lost it in about 5 minutes. Many housewives have taken up playing pachinko, leaving their small children in their cars or unattended at home. This has led quite often, to tragic results, especially in the summer, when the thoughtless parents leave children in cars with windows closed, and so on. Some pachinko parlors, recently have decided to open playrooms for
small children, while their mothers gamble. 
To win a player must first win many steel balls. They are gathered into plastic boxes.
when the player has finished, he takes his boxes to be weighed, depending on the weight, the player receives a receipt, which he can then exchange for money.
Even if you don't like gambling, as I don't, you should try just once for the novel experience of pachinko.

Martial art               

The Meaning:


Martial art takes the holistic approach.
Do (g¹)= way
Judo (?_g¹) = The way of softness
Kendo (Œ•g¹) = Way of the sword
Kyudo (‹|g¹) = Way of the bow
Karatedo (‹óŽèg¹)= Way of the empty hand
Plus the other Do (ways) are collectively called Budo (•?g¹), the way of the warrior (martial arts)



Brief history:

The roots of Judo go back to ancient Jujutu. In the early Meiji period Kano Jigoro, a Tokyo University student created  and gave the name Judo. He was skilled at Jujutu and believed that Judo makes a good tool for physical education. Combining both physical and mental strengths, offensive and defensive techniques, when practices helped to cultivate the whole person and achieve mastery of the discipline. He founded the Kodokan school of Judo in 1882. The International Judo Federation was established in 1951, Japan became a member in 1952.

The competition:

Kodokan rules require that wrestlers dress in regulation uniforms. The floor space must be 14.55 meters square, with a 9.1 meters square center area, on which the contestants wrestle.
There are three categories of Waza (‹Z): Naga-waza (throwing), Katame-waza (grappling) and Atemi-waza (attacking vital points).  Wrestlers are ranked according to their ability, the system of Dan (fi: ranks) and Kyu (‹ñ: classes). The highest rank is 10th Dan and the lowest Shodan (?ñfi: beginner). Below Shodan are the Kyu, 1 to 5 (lowest). There are different color belts for each rank:
1st-3rd Kyu-brown belt
Shodan-5th Dan- black belt
6th-8th Dan- Red and White striped belt
9th and 10th Dan - Red belt.


The Samurai in ancient Japan needed to be skilled with his sword, Kenjutsu was the basic means of practice. Early in the 20th century it developed into a martial art, with emphasis on spiritual and moral training and became known as Kendo.
After the end of the last World War, Kendo became established as an important sport in Japan. With junior and high schools adding to the physical fitness programs. There are many Dojo (g¹?ê: training centers) throughout the country. The International Kendo Federation was founded in 1970, establishing Kendo as an international sport.

  Kyudo or Kyujutsu


Archery is another ancient Japanese sport. Kyudo has not changed very much since those times. It is still quite a popular sport, many young women enjoy it.



 Karate originated in the Tang dynasty (618 - 907) of China and was developed in Okinawa, where it became known as Karate (Tang hand) .
Karate was practiced in secret by the commoners, who could not bear arms. There are four main schools of Karate and thousands of schools around the world. 


A unique Japanese martial art. It is purely for defensive purposes and therefore does not make a good sport for contests. A large part of Aikido is spiritual, and relies on throws and holding techniques to protect and defend against attack. There are no
attacking techniques. The origins of Aikido are quite new, named and organized in the 1920's.


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