On emerging asia as symbolized by world sporting events

Por: Takeshi Nozaki.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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This study focuses on a recent Asia-identity emerging rapidly through the world-globalizing process. To begin with, Asia was a mere "place name" given by Western people who discovered the global world, according to Postcolonial Perspective. Asia hadn’t any substantial identity as Africa had. For example, Russia, a great part of East-Eurasia, belongs to Europe. In the sporting world, Israel moved from the Olympic Council of Asia to Europe in 1977 opposing neighboring Islamic nations. This study will attempt to clarify the sociological meaning of this emerging Asia in terms of discourse-analysis on World Sporting Events.



Theoretical Approach & Results

According to Sakai(1988), the series - premodern, modern, postmodern - have never been dissociated from the geopolitical configuration of the world. The historico-geopolitical pairings, premodern / modern = non-West / West = mystical / rational, have been taken for granted as their parallels for a long time. The emergence of the postmodern may mean the shift or transformation of our discourse based on the above historico-geopolitical pairings. This study finds symptoms of such discourse-change in the coverage on the world sporting events 2002-2003.

"Japan and South Korea lived the World Cup not so much as a global soccer tournament, but as a festival to change their countries for the better. (New York Times, 2 July 2002)" "Yet another remarkable (not to mention heartwarming) sight was the presence of Japanese fans cheering on their South Korean compatriots. This underscored the spirit of cooperation that is emerging between these two historic antagonists; it also speaks to a broader sense of Asian identity being fostered by this World Cup. (Japan Times, 3 July 2002)" "By far, the Busan Asiad was the largest and most comprehensive in Asia’s history. War-ravaged Afghanistan returned to the international sports arena after a long absence, while newborn East Timor made its debut. Befitting the event’s watchword of "One Asia," participants in the first regional Olympics of this millennium transcended nation, race and religion. (Korea Herald, 15 Oct. 2002)" "(On the biggest-ever Winter Asian Games in Aomori, Japan) In a dramatic, late diplomatic twist, North Korea and South Korea have decided to march together in the Saturday’s Opening Ceremony.---East Timor, along with 11 other NOCs, will not be competing in any of the five sports. They will be attending to display Asian unity and the Olympic spirit. (IHT/Asahi 1 Feb 2003)"

Discussion / Conclusions

It can be summarized that the media coverage on sporting event in Asia mainly symbolize the discourse-change as follows; Asian countries grow enough to talk each other rationally on the same stage, as well as under the Olympic spirit. "Divided Asia" stands in reality, especially around the North Korea, one of the last mystical nation, but Asian countries start to seek some kinds of "one Asia" unity. Sporting events spurs on this tendency. Such rapid globalizing process causes the world configuration and the discourse to change drastically. Emerging Asia as a kind of imagined idea might be a symptom of our unpredictable future of global fluids after the collapse of modern discourse.



[1]. Sakai, N.,(1988) Modernity and Its Critique: The Problem of Universalism and Particularism, The Atlantic Quarterly, 87:3 Summer 475-504

[2]. Urry, J.,(2003) Global Complexity, Polity Press






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