2021 年 34 巻 p. 1-23
The purpose of this paper is to conduct a literature review on the career of athletes with very high capabilities in their previous or future sports activities in international competitions. Additionally, we elucidate the trends of research on Japan’s athletes’ careers, and clarify future research issues. Papers were selected in accordance with the review procedure, and finally, 43 papers were deemed to fall under the scope of this review and were classified according to their research category.
Four categories were generated: “Competition Retirement”, “Support Systems”, “Employment”, and “Career Development”. We then focused on the shift in research interest in the careers of athletes in the “Career Development” category, and after describing the changes, clarified the research issues. The results, in examination of these changes, are summarized by the following three points.
1) With regard to research trends from 1996 to 2002, due to the decline of corporate sports, which has contributed to the improvement of Japan’s international competitiveness, the issue of athletes pursuing a second career started to attract more attention and began to be incorporated in research that belongs to the category of “Competition Retirement”.
2) Research trends from 2003 to 2010 fell under the categories of “Support Systems” and “Career Development” due to the background of career support systems established by the Japanese government, professional sports bodies, and universities as well as the increased interest in careers for youth players belonging to the J-League.
3) As for research trends after 2011, more papers were found which fell into the “Support Systems” and “Career Development” categories in which career support projects by the J-League and the Japanese Olympic Committee were repurposed to focus on athletes’ professional paths. These included founding start-up companies, and also considered re-education as well as the versatility of athletes’ skills. After 2016, studies in the category of “Career Development” have been actively carried out due to the growing momentum for dual career policies and the promotion of university sports in Japan.