The aims of this review are to (1) outline the course of quality of life (QOL) studies in Japan, (2) clarify the concept and scale of health-related QOL and subjective QOL, (3) clarify the problems in the Japanese version of subjective QOL scales and the characteristics of subjective QOL in Japanese elderly, and (4) propose a direction of QOL assessment for the aging society in Japan. Since the 1970s in Japan, QOL has been studied in several fields, such as medical science, social psychology and gerontology, but a unified concept or definition of QOL has not been established. Health-related QOL, developed in the field of medical science, evaluates the individual condition from multiple dimensions including physical, psychological, social, functional and spiritual aspects. Since the aging society in Japan is largely composed of healthy elderly, comprehensive health-related QOL scales, which can provide continuous assessment from the disabled to healthy elderly, have a high degree of availability. Subjective QOL scales measure individual subjective evaluations of all aspects of daily life. Subjective QOL has mainly been assessed from the viewpoint of life satisfaction or morale. However, it has been reported that the existing scales have certain problems, and that subjective QOL is influenced by culture and individual values. In the aging society of Japan, it will be important to evaluate QOL in the elderly from the aspects of both health-related and subjective QOL to clarify the criteria for “successful aging”. In addition, ikigai (“something to live for”), which is unique to Japan, will be an effective measure for evaluation of QOL.
The present study was conducted to clarify the relationship between velocity estimated by blood lactate (La) movement during the maximal anaerobic running test (MART) and running performance in the decathlon (100-m, 400-m, and 1500-m running and total points for running: TPR). The subjects were all male decathletes (n=11). The MART consisted of a variable number of 20-s runs on a treadmill with a 100-s recovery between the runs. The runs were performed on a 4° incline. After a 40-s recovery period, earlobe blood samples were taken and La concentrations were analyzed. The first run was performed at 250 m/min. The velocity of the treadmill was increased by 25 m/min for each consecutive run until volitional exhaustion. The velocity associated with the absolute value of La (VALa; velocity at 3 mM, 5 mM and 10 mM) and the relative value (%PBLa) of peak La (VRLa; velocity at 20%, 40% and 60% of PBLa) were determined from the La or %PBLa vs velocity curve by linear interpolation from two consecutive La values above and below the desired value. The results can be summarized as follows. (1) Maximal velocity (Vmax) in the MART was positively correlated with 400-m running velocity (V400m; r=0.872, P<0.001), 1500-m running velocity (V1500m; r=0.729, P<0.05), and TPR (r=0.872, P<0.05). PBLa was positively correlated with V400m (r=0.675, P<0.05). (2) VRLa was more highly correlated with V100m, V400m, V1500m and TPR than was VALa. (3) VRLa could be used to evaluate the change in running efficiency by improvement of anaerobic ability (increasing La at submaximal running velocity and PBLa). These results indicate that MART is a valid test for estimating the running efficiency of decathletes and that VRLa is an important index of running efficiency for decathletes.
A study was conducted to identify the most important factors involved in the way that athletes overcome troubles common among athletes. Most previous studies have tended to examine this problem from the viewpoint of the subjective socialization theory. However, this theory has limitations for investigating this issue. We therefore examined this problem using a different approach. We studied the “life histories” of two members of a yacht racing team trying to qualify for the America's Cup race, on the basis of data recorded during interviews. This study focused on how they overcame their troubles by means of transfer. One of the subjects had experienced troubles regarding the limits of his competitive ability as a soccer player when he was a university student, before he became a yacht racer. The other subject had experienced serious occupational troubles after getting a job, due to insufficient preparation for performing the job. Both individuals overcame their troubles by means of transfer. The main findings of this study were that both subjects overcame their troubles by chance. That is, the most important factors determining whether they were able to succeed were based on information regarding transfer obtained by chance from acquaintances, and this information had raised their hopes and prompted them to change their jobs (activities). In other words, this information allowed them to exercise their subjectivity (autonomy) to overcome their troubles. This method of conflict resolution contrasts sharply with the methods reported in previous studies, in which athletes tended to use their subjectivity to overcome their troubles by obtaining emotional support from “significant others” (i.e. family, coaches or teammates). On the other hand, the two study cases were able to use their own subjectivity to overcome their troubles through the aid and support of others. This method of resolution was the same as that reported in previous studies. Our findings suggest that athletes overcome their troubles in various ways, and that help and advice from other individuals, including family, coaches and even casual acquaintances, can play a very important role in such problem-solving.
Mass audiences can now commonly congregate in stadiums due to factors such as advanced transport, increased leisure time, and the growth of the mass media, which has improved spectator sports to create a vibrant and exciting atmosphere produced by the cheering of large numbers of fans who wish to watch players performing. Cheering is a critical component of spectator sports culture. In Japanese professional baseball there are private fan clubs that are central for the generation of cheering within the stadium during the game. The present study focused on the subculture of professional baseball fan clubs that are organized voluntarily by mass sports fans. This paper not only deals with the pattern of action and the value standards peculiar to such fan clubs, but also clarifies the dominant/parent culture that is central to the subculture, and how the subculture is created by adopting the dominant/parent culture through negotiation or conflict between members or groups based on the power resource of the subculture typical to their own. The data were collected through participant observation of private fan clubs of the Hiroshima Carp. It is inferred from descriptions about conflict and power relationships among the members or groups that the social resources are demo-commitment in the stadium and closeness with the baseball team and players, and that “flag-waving” and “leading”, which are the typical forms of cheering behavior in stadiums, serve a ritualistic function of symbolizing the social power of the fan clubs. Furthermore, bureaucracy and yakuza's quasi-family institution are adopted into these distinctive patterns of action and value standards. The former is a dominant culture taken from the mainstream of modern society, and the latter is a parent culture located at a lower level of society. Multiple strata are evident in the subculture of fan clubs. This does not simply mean that the fan clubs have the characteristics of bureaucracy and yakuza's quasi-family institution, but illustrates that the subculture of private fan clubs is created by domesticating bureaucracy and the quasi-family institution to their own values standard and pattern of act about cheering.
Michiaki Nagai, the only professor of gymnastics (now known as physical education) at Tokyo Higher Normal School, was the only person who maintained that the aim of kendo (swordsmanship) should be not simply to advance its techniques but to build up spiritual ability through swordsmanship practice, taking the place of gekiken, a part of kenjutsu (swordsmanship), which was hitting practice with a bamboo sword. He first suggested this idea at the first special school for swordsmanship instructors selected from middle schools across Japan, held by the Ministry of Education in 1911. The aim of this article is to clarify when Nagai decided to change the name from gekiken to kendo by researching all of his articles and books describing martial arts, including swordsmanship, published from 1909, when he returned from abroad study, to 1915, when he wrote the foreword for kendo, the first great reference book for instructors, written by S. Takano, the swordsmanship instructor of the School. It is concluded that because Nagai did not have any idea about the name for swordsmanship with a bamboo sword at the beginning of his research, he used gekiken as the subject name for the School. However, he decided to use kendo instead of gekiken in August 1910, when the School adopted kendo as the subject name. As soon as the Ministry adopted gekiken as the official term for the school subject in July 1911, he acted publicly to use kendo for the School, in spite of the decision of the Ministry.
The purpose of this study was to investigate cross-sectional development of sprint motion in high school students. The subjects were 264 high school students (134 boys and 130 girls) ranging age from 15 to 17 years. They were videotaped during a 50-m sprint run to analyze their sprint motion (60 fps). Measurements were performed for sprint speed, step frequency, step length, and sprint motion using angular kinematics. It was found that in boys, sprint speed increased significantly between the age of 15 and 17 years, and that step frequency increased significantly between 15 and 16 years, and also between 15 and 17 years age. In girls, however, no significant change in sprint performance was observed in terms of sprint speed or step frequency. In both boys and girls aged 15-17 years, the swing velocity of the entire leg was the only motion factor that was significantly correlated with sprint speed. Also, the swing velocity of the entire leg was significantly higher at age 17 than at age 15 in both boys and girls. Characteristics of motion factors related to the swing velocity of the entire leg were as follows. In boys, the maximum extension angle velocity of the hip was significantly higher at age 17 than at age 15, and the maximum extension angle velocity of the knee during the landed period showed no significant change between 15 and 17 years of age. In girls, however, the maximum angle of knee flexion during the landed period was significantly smaller at age 15 than at age 17, and the maximum extension angle velocity of the knee was significantly greater at age 17 than at age 15. Also, the maximum angle of knee flexion was significantly smaller in girls than in boys, and the maximum extension angle velocity of the knee was significantly larger in girls than in boys. These results suggest that while sprint motion changed to increase the sprint speed in boys from the age of 15 to 17 years, such changes were not evident in girls.