Sports Activities at Student Dormitories Operated by Hometown Organizations
Another view of student sports during the Meiji and Taishō periods
TAKADA Tomokaz (Tokyo International University)
The object of this paper is to clarify how sports activities were conducted
at student dormitories
operated by dōkyō dantai (hometown organizations) during the Meiji and Taishō periods. Others
have observed that student activities played a major role in the development of modern sports in
Japan. Nevertheless, sports activities at student dormitories operated by hometown organizations
remain relatively unexamined. Thus, we sought to clarify that sports activities did indeed flourish
at student dormitories operated by hometown organizations, using activities held at the Saitama
gakuseiyūekikai (student steering committee) dormitory as a case study,
The following historical facts are clarified in this paper.
First, students who lived at dormitories operated by hometown organizations during the Meiji
and Taishō periods regularly took part in sports activities. We found that, as judo and kendo were
introduced the end of the Meiji period, tennis was at first eliminated but later rehabilitated by the
end of the Taishō period, and that this process is consistent with the way sports were accepted in
Japan during this period of modernization.
Second, the students often went on excursions. Although these excursions were originally
conceived of as a means for physical education, they also functioned as leisure activities.
Third, these dormitories operated by hometown organizations maintained close ties with their
hometowns. Sports activities were more than just a way to maintain contact with the cities and
towns of Saitama Prefecture, but also demonstrated the larger meaning of sports by functioning as
a means to develop individual character and to cultivate the minds of youngsters still at home.
As described above, our investigation demonstrated conclusively that a wide range of sports
activities were conducted at student dormitories operated by hometown organizations during the
Meiji and Taishō periods.