Japanese Interpretation of Association Football by Gendo Tsuboi:
Comparative Study on the descriptions in Kogai Yugiho and Kaisei Kogai Yugiho
Eisaku YAMAMOTO (University of Tsukuba)
Mitsumasa GOTO (University of Tsukuba)
In the beginning of Meiji Era, Japan adopted a series of modern sports
with various social
systems and culture from the West. According to the precedent studies, we can consider that
the diffusion and practice of Association Football in Meiji Era firstly achieved through
"yugisho", which was a book on sports and games for elementary school-boys. Meanwhile,
the most influential reference books were Kogai Yugiho (published in 1885) and its revised
edition, Kaisei Kogai Yugiho (published in 1888), which were written by Gendo Tsuboi.
This study aimed to clarify the Japanese interpretation of Association Football by Gendo
Tsuboi. As a consequence of reviewing and comparing the descriptions about football in two
books, we could find out the following points:
(1) When G. Tsuboi introduced the Football Association's Rule (FA Rule) into Kogai
Yugiho, he adopted the Japanese unit, increased the number of players, defined the goal as
a "castle" and put one commander in each team in order that children might imagine this
sport as something like a war-simulation game.
(2) After 3 years of using this book and practicing outdoor games at school, in the moment
of the revision, he deleted complicated articles about "off side" and "fair catch", with the
intention of simplifying the game to the suitable level for school-boys. Besides, he adjusted
some detail descriptions about the material and size of the ball.
These arrangements, such as simplifying the game, increasing the number of the players,
adopting the familiar words in Japanese, and so on, can be found out also in the descriptions
about other some games and sports in his two books. After all, in the background of these
descriptions, we can recognize Tsuboi's idea to promote outdoor games and sports through
the classes of physical education at elementary schools.
In Japan, until quite recently, Association Football has been played mainly at "schools",
although in almost all the countries in Europe and Latin America it has been practiced in
"clubs". This fact evidently shows the peculiarity of our history of Association Football, and
historically it is quite possible that the football in Japan might be greatly influenced by the
educational circumstances and values at schools. It was G. Tsuboi who pioneered in this