Taiikugaku kenkyu (Japan Journal of Physical Education, Health and Sport Sciences)
Online ISSN : 1881-7718
Print ISSN : 0484-6710
ISSN-L : 0484-6710
A historical consideration of the term "sport" : with reference to the historical progress of American sports.
Kiichi Otagiri
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1983 Volume 27 Issue 4 Pages 271-279

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explain the conceptional transition of sports in modern history. For this purpose, this paper intends to study the meanings of the term " sport " and the meanings of the related terms such as " game, " " amusement, " " pastime, " " recreation " and so on. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the use of the term " sport " is divided into three groups by its genealogical meanings of the following three historical ages. (1) The early formative age of the conception (15th and 18th centuries). The conception of this age is represented by the following words ; " pleasant pastime, " " frolicsome merriment, " and " active exercise in the open air. " (2) The first age of the conceptional expansion and specialization (17th and 18th centuries). The conception of this age is to be known by the meanings of the words " field-sport, " and " gamble and spectacle. " (3) The second age of the conceptional expanasion and specialization (19th century). The conception of this age is to be known by the meaning of the words " athletic sports, " including the conception in (2). It is obvious that the conceptional transition of the term " sport " reflects such demands of the times as the ethical control of valgarness, the attention to the cultural usefulness of play, the rationalization of physical exercise and so on. This is similar to the cases of " amusement, '' " pastime " and " recreation." And it may be considered that the term " sport " has taken almost all the meanings of the term " game, " that have been attached to it. The above-mentioned use of the term " sport " is confirmed in the history of English sports. And this fact seems to be confirmed in the historical progress of American sports, which is devided into two periods, the age before the Civil War and that after the Civil War. It is considered that the colonial sports as folk practises, for instance, are rooted in pleasant pastime, frolicsome merriment and active exercise in the open air of the " early formative age. " And the traditional sports of the newly-risen middle class, whose inclination to sports has been directed by their thirst for English culture, seem to correspond to field-sport and gamble and spectacle of the " first age of the conceptional expansion and specialization. " It goes without saying that the athletic character has come to be emphasized after the Civil War. This social trend toward athleticism seems to have reference to the characteristics of the sports of the " second age of the conceptional expansion and specialization. "

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© 1983 Japan Society of Physical Education, Health and Sport Sciences
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