This is the first book to offer a comprehensive overview of the history, development and contemporary significance of sport in Asia. It addresses a wide range of issues central to sport in the context of Asian culture, politics, economy and society.

The book explores diverse topics, including the history of traditional Asian sport; the rise of modern sport in Asia; the Olympic Movement in Asia; mega sport events in Asia; sport governance and policy; gender, class and ethnicity in Asian sport, and Asia’s sporting heroes and heroines. With contributions from 74 leading international scholars, it offers a new perspective on understanding Asian sport and society, telling the story of how sport in this mega-region is coming together and reshaping the world in the process. It also provides readers with a wide lens through which to better contextualise the relationships between Asia and the world within the global sport community.

The Routledge Handbook of Sport in Asia is a vital resource for students and scholars studying the history, politics, sociology, culture and policy of sport in Asia, as well as sport management, sport history, sport sociology, and sport policy and politics. It is also valuable reading for those working in international sport organisations.

chapter |7 pages


The Asian century and Asian sport

part I|95 pages

Asia’s traditional sport

chapter 1|9 pages

In authentic relations

Traditional Asian martial arts, East and West

chapter 5|9 pages

The transmission modes of taijiquan

Traditional martial art, competitive sport and the political reappropriation of culture in modern China

chapter 7|11 pages


An indigenous culture embodying national narratives in Japan

chapter 8|8 pages


chapter 10|8 pages


National sport of Myanmar

part II|101 pages

The rise of modern sport and the Olympic Movement in Asia

chapter 11|11 pages

The foundation and early years of the Olympic Council of Asia

A controversial body making controversial politics

chapter 12|8 pages

China and the Olympic Games

chapter 15|10 pages

Beyond the Peninsula

Sport and the Olympic Games in colonial Korea (1910–1945)

chapter 19|16 pages

The rise of modern sport in colonial Singapore

The Singapore Cricket Club leads the way

part III|95 pages

Sport policy and practice

chapter 20|18 pages

International sport events and the two Koreas

Politics, policies and practice

chapter 21|11 pages

Sport diplomacy at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang

The relations between North and South Korea

chapter 23|9 pages

The reform of China’s elite sport system

Case studies on football and table tennis

part IV|113 pages

Social stratification and diversity in Asian sport

chapter 29|10 pages

Sport and ethnicity

chapter 30|12 pages

South Korea

Women and sport in a persistent patriarchy

chapter 31|9 pages

Disability sport in Malaysia

Challenges and opportunities

chapter 32|12 pages

Sport and gender in contemporary China

chapter 35|9 pages

Sport and social class in Japan

Past and present

chapter 36|7 pages

Sport and gender in Japan

chapter 37|11 pages

Sport and ethnicity in Indonesia

Developing national character through traditional games

part V|74 pages

Sport in West Asia and the Middle East

chapter 43|17 pages


Moulding the Middle East and North Africa

chapter 44|18 pages

Playing ball

Crowd and ‘contra-crowd’ in the politics of Egyptian and Tunisian football

part VI|65 pages

Asian mega sporting events

chapter 46|4 pages

The Far Eastern Championship Games

chapter 48|7 pages

Borrowed spectacle

Olympic rhetoric in political battles

chapter 49|6 pages

The Southeast Asian Games

chapter 50|5 pages

The Asian Indoor Games

chapter 52|7 pages

The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

chapter 54|5 pages

Wushu competitions in Asia

part VII|46 pages

Asia’s sport heroes and heroines

chapter 55|4 pages

Liu Changchun

China’s first Olympic athlete

chapter 56|9 pages

Rudy Hartono

An Indonesian badminton legend

chapter 57|3 pages

Dipa Karmakar

Rising star of India

chapter 58|4 pages

Bruce Lee

His Jeet Kune Do, his movies and his legacy

chapter 59|4 pages

Yao Ming

The basketball giant

chapter 60|6 pages

Eric Liddell

The flying Scotsman

chapter 61|4 pages

Seri Pak

Korea’s Golf Empress

chapter 62|3 pages

Dhyan Chand Singh

A legend in hockey

chapter 63|7 pages

He Zhenliang

China’s Mr Olympics