The Culture of Japan as Seen through Its Leisure

Edited by Sepp Linhart & Sabine Fruhstuck

Subjects: Asian Studies
Series: SUNY series in Japan in Transition
Paperback : 9780791437926, 408 pages, May 1998
Hardcover : 9780791437919, 408 pages, June 1998

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Table of contents


1. Introduction: The Japanese at Play: A Little-Known Dimension of Japan

Sepp Linhart

Part One: Everyday Activities as Leisure

2. Respite from Everyday Life: Kôtô-ku (Tokyo) in Recollections

Peter Ackermann

3. How Cooking Became a Hobby: Changes in Attitude Toward Cooking in Early Twentieth-Century Japan

Katarzyna Cwiertka

4. Then Science Took Over: Sex, Leisure, and Medicine at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century

Sabine Frühstück

Part Two: Sports

5. Budô : Invented Tradition in the Martial Arts

Inoue Shun

6. Blood and Guts in Japanese Professional Baseball

William W. Kelly

7. Contemporary Japanese Athletics: Window on the Cultural Roots of Nationalism-Internationalism

T. J. Pempel

8. Golf, Organization, and "Body Projects": Japanese Business Executives in Singapore

Eyal Ben-Ari

Part Three: Travel and Nature

9. Pilgrimage in the Edo Period: Forerunner of Modern Domestic Tourism? The Example of the Pilgrimage to Mount Tateyama

Susanne Formanek

10. Work and Play in the Japanese Countryside

Nelson H. H. Graburn

11. Cherry Blossoms and Their Viewing: A Window onto Japanese Culture

Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney

12. Leisure Parks in Japan

Angelika Hamilton-Oehrl

Part Four: Theater and Music

13. From Pleasure to Leisure: Attempts at Decommercialization of Japanese Popular Theater

Annegret Bergmann

14. Takarazuka and Kobayashi Ichizô's Idea of Kokumingeki

Roland Domenig

15. The Politics and Pursuit of Leisure in Wartime Japan

Jennifer Robertson

16. The Disappearance of the Jazu-Kissa : Some Considerations about Japanese "Jazz-Cafés" and Jazz-Listeners

Eckhart Derschmidt

Part Five: Playing Games and Gambling

17. From Kendô to Jan-ken : The Deterioration of a Game from Exoticism into Ordinariness

Sepp Linhart

18. Gambling and Changing Japanese Attitudes Toward It

Nagashima Nobuhiro

19. Time, Space, and Money: Cultural Dimensions of the Pachinko Game

Wolfram Manzenreiter

Notes on Contributors


Provides a wealth of information about leisure activities in Japan including sports, travel, theater, music, games, and gambling.


The Culture of Japan as Seen through Its Leisure brings together scholars of various disciplines from around the globe to discuss different forms of leisure activities in past and present Japan, thus enriching our knowledge of Japanese culture. Arranged in five sections, the volume focuses on everyday activities such as leisure, sports, travel and nature, theater and music, playing games, and gambling. The editors place the treated leisure activities into a historical frame of reference and relate them to the well-known classification scheme of games by Roger Caillois.

Sepp Linhart is Professor of Japanese Studies and Sabine Frühstück is Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies at the Institute for Japanese Studies at the University of Vienna.


"This book opens up an important and very understudied field and does so in ways that are often in themselves somewhat entertaining, as befits its subject matter. It also provides a good guide to the literature in both Japanese and English." — John Clammer, Sophia University, Tokyo

"The Culture of Japan as Seen through Its Leisure provides a wealth of information about a wide variety of leisure pursuits in Japan, typically grounded in their historical development, and at times relates these pursuits to Japanese society more generally." — Joy Hendry, Oxford Brookes University