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What's the most popular sport in Japan?
2006-03-02 11:17
by Bob Timmermann

Eariler I had posted a story from a South African newspaper's Japan reporter.

In his column there was this passage:

And in Japan, an unprecedented players strike in 2004 turned more fans off from the sport they call "yakyu".

I don't know if the writer (Shaun Tandon) realized that the strike in Japan was just on weekends and was resolved within two weeks. The 2004 strike in Japan was nothing like what went on in MLB in 1994.

Also, the Daily Yomiuri released the results of a public opinion poll of the most popular sports in Japan.

Baseball remained the most popular spectator sport in Japan. The second most popular spectator sport is marathons, then ekiden which is a long distance relay race. Soccer was fifth. Marathons were the most popular spectator sport among Japanese women.

Remember that the Daily Yomiuri and the baseball team, the Yomiuri Giants, are owned by the same company.

The Giants were the most popular team according to the survey with the Hanshin Tigers finishing in second.

I don't know if cab drivers were asked for their opinions.

2006-03-02 11:34:25
1.   Sam DC
No sumo?
2006-03-02 12:15:31
2.   Bob Timmermann
I didn't see sumo in the article. But maybe I missed it.
2006-03-02 16:17:55
3.   Brendan
marathons?that's wild. I would think maybe golf or even basketball. How many marathons do they have in Japan?
maybe the first choice on the list was marathon and the women all picked that one?
2006-03-02 16:19:07
4.   JeffinTokyo
Bob, I should have said this yesterday, but I am glad you got your own site. I enjoy reading your work. I would be happy if you and Jon replaced Plaschkers.

From my in-country perspective, there is a big generational gap. Baseball is still tops among the 50+ crowd while soccer, especially related to the national team, is most popular with the younger generations. But lately, the most popular sport is ladies figure skating. Miss Arakawa had Japan's only medal this year in Torino, and it was gold. Japan loves its winners.

2006-03-02 17:09:36
5.   grandcosmo
I've always said that there is NOTHING more exciting than a good marathon. But even a bad marathon is pretty damn exciting.
2006-03-02 17:33:43
6.   Brendan

I read that Japan as a nation was very upset at the medal total(zero) before the figure skating final. did that placate the media/citizens or will there be repercussions.Similar to Yankee George taking over the US Winter Olympic team after a horrid Olympics medal total.

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