KING OF THE RING
When the annual Spring Grand Sumo Tournament got underway in Osaka on
March 9, all eyes were on Asashoryu, the Mongolia-born Sumo wrestler who
had just been promoted to yokozuna (the top
rank in sumo).
(March 26, 2003)
DOUBLE DESERT TRIUMPH
At the 2003 Paris-Dakar Rally, Hiroshi Masuoka, driving a Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution, became
the first Japanese ever to win the race's overall championship two years
in a row and only the fourth person ever to accomplish this feat in the
(March 11, 2003)
At the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament in January
2003, Takanohana, sumo's sixty-fifth yokozuna
(grand champion), retired from active competition at the age of 30.
(March 10, 2003)
The Fifth Winter Asian Games, Asia's sports festival of snow and ice,
are being held from February 1 to 8 in Aomori Prefecture, located on the
northernmost tip of Japan's main island of Honshu.
(February 5, 2003)
AT THE TOP OF THE LEADERBOARD
At the men's World Golf Championships held in Mexico in
December 2002, the Japanese team of Shigeki Maruyama and Toshimitsu Izawa
held off a powerful US team to claim victory.
(January 27, 2003)
GRAY PING-PONG POWER
A woman has risen to new heights in Japanese table
tennis with a most remarkable record. She is Kazuko
Ito, and at the December 2002 Japan Table Tennis Championship, she notched up her hundredth career win in the women's
singles competition at the age of 67.
(January 24, 2003)
MAKING IT BIG
Sumo, Japan's national sport by popular acclaim if not by official designation,
is undergoing a wave of internationalization as foreign-born wrestlers
climb the ranks.
(January 14, 2003)
HAVE FOOT, WILL TRAVEL
The exploits of Hidetoshi Nakata and other Japanese soccer players who belong to European teams
are featured on TV and in newspapers every day. It seems that fans
just cannot get enough of these homegrown stars as they make their names
on the world stage.
(January 8, 2003)
GODZILLA GOES STATESIDE
On November 1 the star of Japan's most popular pro
baseball team, Tokyo's Yomiuri
Giants, announced his desire to play in the
U.S. Major Leagues from next season.
(December 27, 2002)
SCHOOL SPORTS DAYS
days are one of the classic symbols of autumn in Japan and are
held in kindergartens, in elementary, middle, and high schools, and in
communities all across the country.
(November 18, 2002)
Sumo champion Takanohana recently returned from a
knee injury to take part in the autumn
tournament after an absence of one year and four months, rekindling
interest in the sport.
(October 23, 2002)
NO HOLDS BARRED
A style of fighting known as mixed martial arts is currently enjoying
a boom in Japan.
(October 17, 2002)
Japan's strength in the sport of swimming
appears to stem from the zeal of its people for swim training.
(September 19, 2002)
COMING TO JAPAN
Japanese professional baseball received its first Cuban import this July,
as Omar Linares, an Olympic gold medalist in 1992
and 1996, joined the Chunichi Dragons.
(August 21, 2002)
SUMO'S NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Sumo, Japan's national sport, recently welcomed its first ever Mongolian
ozeki, 21-year-old Asashoryu (real name: Dolgorsuren
Dagvadorj). He is the fourth foreign ozeki,
following in the footsteps of Konishiki, Akebono, and Musashimaru, who
are all from Hawaii.
(August 19, 2002)
ANYONE FOR FUTSAL?
During the World Cup, many Japanese people became hooked on the global language of soccer.
Futsal, or five-a-side
soccer, has capitalized on these feelings among fans. The number of people
playing this sport in Japan is rising sharply.
(August 12, 2002)
BELIEVE I CAN FLY
More and more middle-aged and older people in Japan
are making their childhood dreams come true by taking off into the air
(August 1, 2002)
FOR THE WORLD CUP MEMORIES
The 2002 FIFA World Cup, co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, captivated
the Japanese public throughout June.
(July 8, 2002)
ON TOP OF THE WORLD
With the number of middle-aged and elderly Japanese
mountaineers seeking to challenge the world's peaks increasing, three
Japanese climbers set new world records in May.
(July 1, 2002)
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME
In a survey on spectator sports, Japanese professional
baseball was the number-one choice of fans for the eighth year in
(May 28, 2002)
2002 FIFA World Cup competing
teams have been arriving at their camp venues around Japan.
(May 21, 2002)
Martial arts schools and boxing
gyms are taking in more and more female students, and a boxing gym exclusively
for women has also been established.
(March 26, 2002)
THAN THREE MONTHS TO GO
Teams are beginning in earnest their final preparations
for the first World Cup of the twenty-first century.
(March 22, 2002)
READY FOR KICK-OFF
The first FIFA World Cup
of the twenty-first century, to be jointly hosted by Japan and South Korea,
will begin on May 31. Japan, which qualified automatically for the finals
as one of the host nations, began preparing for the tournament in late January.
(February 28, 2002)
LAKE CITY, HERE WE COME!
Most of the athletes who will represent Japan at the 2002 Winter Olympics
in Salt Lake City, Utah have been selected.
(January 30, 2002)
Marathons and other long-distance running events
are immensely popular in Japan, and one such race has become an essential
New Year custom. The Tokyo-Hakone Ofuku Daigaku Ekiden is one of the most popular such events in the sporting
(January 29, 2002)
Japanese baseball fans were mesmerized throughout
the year by the play of Major League outfielder Ichiro.
(January 10, 2002)
CUP GROUPINGS DECIDED
The groupings for the first round of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan were decided at the draw in Busan, South Korea, on December
(December 28, 2001)
BASEBALL SHEDS HIS UNIFORM
Japan's most popular pro baseball team, the Tokyo
Yomiuri Giants, lost its long-time player and manager, Shigeo Nagashima,
when he retired at the end of the 2001 season.
(November 28, 2001)
THE OTHER OLYMPICS
The sixth World Games, an international multi-sports
spectacle featuring events not included in the Olympic Games, took place
from August 16 to 26 in the northern prefecture of Akita. Some 4,000 athletes
and officials from 87 countries and regions participated in the quadrennial
event, providing thrilling competition.
(October 11, 2001)
SPREADING THEIR WINGS
for Japan's World Cup squad will play the coming season abroad, all of
them in their early twenties. Never
before have so many Japanese stars plied their trade overseas at the same
time. Fans in Japan have great expectations for what they can achieve
playing alongside some of the biggest soccer stars in the world.
(August 24, 2001)
ABOUT THE MAJOR LEAGUES
Major League Baseball fever has struck Japan this
year, and the exploits of Japanese baseball players active in the United
States are reported in detail on the nightly news and covered extensively
throughout the media. This sudden popularity of Major League Baseball
is due in large part to outfielder Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners.
(August 20, 2001)
SOCCER FEVER GAINS MOMENTUM
One year before the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which will
be held jointly in Japan and South Korea, the popularity of soccer in
Japan is on the up. It is still unclear whether soccer's popularity will
last, but what is certain is that Japan has entered a period in which
the public's interest in sport is not limited to baseball.
(July 25, 2001)