Is this the best path? : a review on the reconstruction of sport clubs in japan

Por: Hitoshi Ebishima.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Introduction

In Japan, a new governmental scheme for reconstructing the club systems was introduced in 2000. The first 3 years saw 1,135 newly-established clubs to be recognized as Combined Community Sport Clubs (Sogogata Chiiki Sport Clubs). Instead of the prospective initial success, various kinds of problems were identified in this movement. Firstly the bureaucratic initiative redirected the autonomously developed club cultures. Secondly the efficiency model, related to the certificate of ‘club manager’, would create the homogeneous attitude towards managing the club at the cost of the unique character of each club.

Method

9 Combined Community Sport Clubs have been founded since the launch of the governmental scheme in Shiga-prefecture, which is located in the center of Japan with a population of 1.3 million people. Detailed surveys about these clubs were carried out regarding various aspects of the process of the foundation and the characteristics of the management.

Result

The foundations of some clubs were totally initiated by the local authority. The others were accomplished more voluntarily. Different attitudes about club management and club activities were found in these two types of clubs.
Discussion/Conclusion
In Japan, especially competitive sports have developed through two agents, which are schools (universities) and cooperatives. Grass-roots athletes have been neglected to some extent. The combined Community Sport Club scheme is expected to engulf this gap. However, truly positive outcomes were rarely seen these past three years. The result of the survey shows that lack of voluntary movement to improve the athletic environment caused the inefficiency by not creating the linkage between the competitive sports and recreational sports. Too much dependence on governmental financial aid and the initiatives of the civil office hinder the clubs from acquiring true autonomy.

References

[1]. Kuros, M. & Mizukami, H. ed.(2002), Jigsaw Puzzle de Kangaeru Sougougata Chiiki Sport Club, Tokyo, Taishukan

 

 

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