Cultural Export of Japan: A Case Study of Japanese Men’s Rhythmic Gymnastics


Men's rhythmic gymnastics has been developed uniquely in Japan since the late 1940s. It gains a certain amount of domestic reputation to be adopted as the main motif of the dance performance at the Olympics handover ceremony in Rio 2016, though it is neither recognised as Olympic sport nor competed in the world championships. At the ceremony, Japanese pop culture was represented in the video and at the venue Japan's prime minister played Super Mario and men's-rhythmic-led dance performance was delivered to the audience. This implies men's rhythmic is possibly one of 'Cool Japan' exports rather than just a kind of gymnastics.However, men's rhythmic once failed as an export. In the early 2000s, the committee sent coaches overseas with the aim of promoting men's rhythmic globally. World championships were held in 2003 and 2005 as a result, but since the project was aborted in 2006, men's rhythmic has not practiced in the countries with a few exceptions in Canada and Russia.In this study, the authors will examine the reason why the coach dispatch project was not successful at least on a long-term basis, and then focus on an example in Canada where men's rhythmic is still practiced but as a slight different style, to describe what modifications the interviewees regard men's rhythmic needs to accomplish global success. Through these analyses, the authors will consider men's rhythmic in terms of three pairs of concepts: global - domestic, sport - culture, and spectacle - gymnastics for all.

Author Information
Kotaro Noda, Fukuyama University, Japan
Mikako Hata, Hanazono University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2017
Stream: Sports, Media & Globalization

This paper is part of the MediAsia2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon