Sports event as a "Cultural apparatus" : About the National Athletic Meet until 1950's

Tomonobu Kangyo

The National Athletic Meet (Kokutai) is a sports event related to the reconstruction of postwar Japanese sports and the Aichi-Kokutai of 1950 was established as a "cultural apparatus" for the host region's residents to drew up a voluntary consent for the present ruling structure. In postwar revival and reconstruction of the nation-state, the Aichi-Kokutai was regarded as an event embodying the order of the Imperial system and a way to organize people and dominant groups tried to reconstruct relations between the Emperor and the people and to elevate nationalism. In addition, the host region's government independently made this meet a means of regional organization, community development and an "outlet". Moreover schools and mass media, especially newspapers, played a positive role in involving residents in this meet.

And Chubu-Nippon-Newspaper influenced on the residents of Aichi Prefecture manipulated ideology to obtain resident's involvement and people's voluntary consent for the then ruling structure through this newspaper's discourse. In this manipulation, three concepts of "sports: healthy culture", "democratic society" and "Emperor as a symbol" were articulated with each other by using the concept of "sportsmanship of fair play". And these discourses connected people's excitement for sports to "national polity" nationalism in postwar Japan.

After the Aichi-Kokutai, Kokutai influenced finances of the region's governments and the government proceeding centralization of power to "reverse course" decided cancellation of Shizuoka-Kokutai. But with the coalition of conservative parties and beginning of the high growth rate of the Japanese economy, this meet was established as a means of community development, the control of residents and "a vote-gathering machine". As a result, the Shizuoka-Kokutai of 1957 changed a "cultural apparatus" on region's level and the host region's government and local economic circles tried to obtain residents' voluntary consent for policies and the region's ruling structure by "the Kenmin-movement".