chapter  20
12 Pages

The sportscape of contemporary Japan

ByWilliam W. Kelly

The organized sports of contemporary life are high public drama and grinding anonymous routine. They are imbued with deep emotion, constant mental calculation, and enormous physical exertion. Sports are watched and played throughout the world with passion and partisanship. They are pursued for profi t, patriotism, and personal compulsiveness. They are spontaneous moments of pure action and visceral performance, but they are always embedded in long chains of stories and statistics. And sports are everywhere implicated in structures of power, both personal and collective – the variable powers of an athlete to compel her body with her spirit, of an owner to command a team with his fi nancial clout, of fans to will a victory with their cheers. For any student of modern life, they offer splendid conjunctures of embodied actions and institutional forces.