The Undoukai (Athletic Association) at the Imperial University of Tokyo was a student association that consisted mainly of sports club members. The Undoukai was a departure point for Japanese sports, and led to the establishment of school sports in the Meiji period, being incorporated as a foundation in 1934. The purpose of this study is to describe the process of how the Undoukai was organized as an incorporated foundation from the late Taisho era to the early part of the Showa era, focusing on interactions among students and the university. The main documents are gathered from the Imperial University Newspaper.
The results of this study are summarized as follows.
1) This study describes the history after establishment of the Undoukai, which was integrated into the Gakuyukai (Athletic and Cultural Association) at the Imperial University of Tokyo in 1920. The Gakuyukai was an all-university association that included cultural activities. However, the members of the sports clubs left the Gakuyukai and organized the Undoukai again in 1928.
2) This study clarifies two oppositional relationships among students during the organizational process of the Undoukai. One was between sports club members and the other students, and the other was between the left-wing students and the right-wing students. In both relationships, sports club members would win the understanding of non-athletic students and would distance themselves from the left-wing students. Both practices enabled the Undoukai to become independent from the Gakuyukai.
3) This study clarifies that strong assistance from the University contributed to the reorganization of the Undoukai. There were two problems that the University needed to address: one was how to prevent students' illnesses, and the other was how to discourage students from becoming inclined to the politcal left. Therefore, the University expected general students to aspire to “healthy body” and to have “healthy idea”. While the University would recommend sports to general students in order to realize the expectation of “healthy body”, at the same time it would separate general students from left-wing students in order to realize the expectation of “healthy idea”. These expectations and practices of the University provided the impetus that nurtured the Undoukai.