Japanese Society and Culture


Sport History Urban Sports Industries, People in Edo, Sumo, Kemari

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This study discusses what sorts of industries developed in Edo during the early modern period and their characteristics, with a specific look at the sports industry. The results of this study are as follows. 1. In the 17th century, the sports industry in Edo targeted the ruling samurai class. Samurai in Edo were fond of sumo tournaments and archery exhibition competitions; both were heavily influenced by the Kyoto area (then the capital). At the time, traditions carried on since the Middle Ages remained strong in the world of sports. 2. At the end of the 17th century, various urban sports industries targeting ordinary people arose as a result of a sharp increase in the number and economic clout of ordinary people in Edo. The manufacture and sale of sports equipment flourished, and the sports venue industry (supplying venues for events such as benefit sumo tournaments and archery games) also grew. 3. At the start of the 19th century, popular culture flourished, and the sports industry in Edo matured. The massive population of Edo, the increased economic clout of ordinary people, and the preservation of domestic tranquillity promoted the further development of the urban sports industry. As the money economy of the city spread to farming villages in the countryside, the wave of Edo’s sports industry reached the countryside, as exemplified by travelling benefit sumo tournaments.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.