A STUDY OF THE REGIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF BALL GAMES
AMONG THE NATIVE AMERICANS
Kouzoh OGI (KOKUGAKUIN University)
The purpose of this study is to examine the regional characteristics
of ball games among the Native Americans. This is done by making distributional maps of
the ball games and picking out the culture trait based on the racial materials which have
been researched and reported by the cultural-anthropologic method. The 221 Native Ameri-
can tribes and the 10 kinds of ball games considered here and reported by S. Culin in
"GAMES OF THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS" (1907) and the names of the tribes and
games used in this study are also adopted from there. To make the comparison of the re-
gional differences easier, the distributional map of the North American continent is divided
into 12 regions.
First of all, to examine the regional differences, the culture trait of the ball games are
picked out and selected. The following characteristics are selected to give variations:
1) ball games 2) shapes and materials of bats 3) shaps and materials of balls.
Then, 12 distributional maps of all kinds 10 ball games are made and based on the culture
trait of the ball games picked out here, the maps are examined from the following points
1) Can any regional characteristics of distributional circumstances of ball games be
found? In other words, are there any games that are peculiar to one region?
2) Are there any differences in position (social function) of identical game according to
regions or tribes?
3) Can there be any differences of structures of the bats and balls of identical game ac-
cording to regions or tribes?
By looking at the ball games of the Native Americans from there points of view, it is
clear that the ball games are closely related to regional life surrounding like geographical
features, climates, natural features, and calling forms.