Sports participation in Japan - statistics & facts
Sport plays an important role in Japanese society. Participating in exercises and sports is common in Japan, as most children and over 50 percent of the adult population engage in sports on a weekly basis. Physical exercise and sports can be encountered in different settings, including in institutional settings, such as partaking in physical education classes at school, subscription-based paid participation at commercial sports clubs, and private (cost-free) settings, such as going for a run in the park. Adult sport participation is most common in private settings, relatively common in commercial settings, and uncommon in institutional settings. By far the most prevalent activity engaged in as a physical exercise is walking. Golfing and going to the gym are the leading sports for adults that require payment, both in terms of participant numbers and generated revenue. On the other hand, much of children’s sports activities are institutionalized, either in form of physical education classes or sports clubs at schools and universities. Attending school or university sports clubs is usually free for children and students. While the share of people engaging in sports is relatively high, there seems to be a reluctance to pay for sports, as the majority of people do not spend any money or relatively little on practicing sports. For those who do spend money on sports, facility utilization fees comprise the main part of the expenses.
Sports participation is seen as a key element in the Japanese government’s expressed endeavor to enable people to live happy and fulfilled lives. Sport is also seen by the Japanese government as essential to children’s development. The government has introduced comprehensive policies and plans, such as the “Second Sport Basic Plan”, for the organization and administration of sports with the overall aim to further various aspects of sports in Japan, including sports participation and performance. Various initiatives and programs receive financial support from the government sports budget. Sport is especially highly valued during childhood, as many of the programs specifically target the youth. The importance placed on sports by the government during the early development of people is also reflected by the distribution of sports facility types in Japan and is evidenced by the fact that the majority of facilities belong to educational institutions.
Educational institutions typically offer after-class activities in the form of school clubs (bukatsu). School club activities cater to diverse fields of interest, ranging from cultural endeavors such as playing musical instruments to sports. While the existence of school clubs depends on factors such as the availability of qualified personnel, facilities, and equipment, as well as the degree of interest in the subject matter of enough potential participants, most educational institutions provide their students with various offers. In Japan, more than half of the children and close to half of the adolescents participate in sport-related school club activities. Club activities are also very common at universities. Sports clubs at universities can be highly competitive, with members of ambitious sports clubs having daily training sessions spanning several hours and participating in national tournaments regularly. For some, their high skills in sports or the arts is their entry ticket to prestigious universities, while a few seem to decide upon their educational institution based on the reputation and level of the respective sports club they want to join. The overall degree of interest in university sports is best exemplified by the fact that certain sports, such as the national baseball tournament between universities (koshien), and Ekiden (an annual university marathon competition), are nationally televised and enjoy broad popularity among sports enthusiasts.
This text provides general information. Statista assumes no
liability for the information given being complete or correct.
Due to varying update cycles, statistics can display more up-to-date
data than referenced in the text.