It is ten years since the publication in 1997 of John Hoberman's Darwin's Athletes caused heated controversies among American readers. This book was reviewed in many academic and general journals, discussed in symposiums at institutions of higher education, and introduced by radio and TV programs. Although the book has won much acclaim among general readers, it has also been severely criticized by scholars, especially in the disciplines of history and sociology. The first section summarizes Hoberman's arguments on sports fixation, to which most of the criticisms by these scholars were directed. The second section clarifies the main points of criticism, drawing on the reviews by historian Jeffrey T. Sammons, and sociologists Ben Carrington/Ian McDonald and Douglass Hartmann. The third section outlines the changes that the American sport world has undergone during the decade since the book's publication, focusing on Harry Edwards' prediction regarding the end of “the golden age of black sports participation, ” the trends in American sports that seem to have challenged or transcended racial and athletic stereotypes, representations of African American athleticism in such Hollywood movies as Friday Night Lights and Coach Carter, and the NBA's so-called “One and Done” scheme, which requires high-school basketball player graduates to wait a year before entering the NBA draft. Based on the analyses of these examples, this article attempts to re-evaluate Darwin's Athletes from an original perspective, with particular emphasis on the author's astuteness with which the causal relationship between commitment to sports and declining academic records is analyzed in a both-directional way.
This paper attempts to illustrate one of the main discourses on race to be found in the sports media in Japan. In 2007 a Japanese translation of Hoberman's 1997 book on the myth of race was published. In this book, Hoberman argues that the commonly held conception that black athletes have innate, genetically superior physical abilities is a damaging myth. In the social sciences, the concept of a biological basis for race has been discredited. Stuart Hall (Hall and Jhally, 1996) calls race a discursive category. The perception that black athletes have a genetic physical advantage in sport is also quite common in the sport media in Japan. However, the main racial discourse in the Japanese media is not about black and white. It is about the Japanese race. Japanese athletes are often described as having genetically-based physical characteristics that distinguish them from non-Japanese athletes. This paper analyzes several instances from the print and broadcast media. Sports involved are track and field, and sumo. It will be seen that within the discourse on the Japanese race, meaning is not fixed. There are differences in meaning between texts, and within the same text.
There are three chapters in this article. Chapter I did evaluation on Hoberman's book Darwin's Athletes. It concluded that, as far as physiology is concerned, the book had nothing to do with Charles Darwin nor his theory of evolution; and found that at least his title was regretfully very misleading. Chapter II introduced the recent trends in molecular biology in detail. It concluded that we should not expect any wishful application to living humans; and also pointed out there already lied many perilous situations that could cause this sort of risky attempt to take place. Chapter III dealt that, by introducing E. & S. Ewens' latest book Typecasting, biology and physiology had broad sidelines of wrong intension and contents which claimed that one could discriminate and remodel criminals or supposedly inferior group of people. It concluded that these malicious sidelines finally led to the rise of Eugenics by Francis Galton; that those pseudo sciences incorporated the intension of remodeling artificially of man.
This study is aimed to reveal the specific process through which the activity form and the athletic mind of the old-education-system high schools were formed by “following the consciousness and actions of the club members, ” based on the descriptions in the daily practice log “Nankagun”, parts of which still remain from Taisho 3 (1914) to Showa 21 (1946), of the old-education-system Fourth high school judo club. First of all, the result of an analysis of the content of the daily practice log of Showa 2 to 3 (1927 to 1928) in which the Fourth high school judo club purportedly performed the harshest of trainings, shows that extremely harsh trainings, particularly those of the ground phase, have been performed for a long period of time throughout the year, and reveals a precise picture of what writer INOUE Yasushi calls a “monastic” judo club. Secondly, the result of an analysis of the content of Taisho 3 (1914), the starting year of the daily practice log, shows that practices have been fairly sensible and reasonable, or somewhat idyllic, starting from 3 months prior to competition matches and each lasting for 1 hour. Thirdly, a full-year daily practice log apparently started in Taisho 11 (1922), the year in which the judo club was defeated in the National Kosen Competition. That is, the monasticization seemingly has something to do with the victory and defeat of the judo club. The judo style of the old-education system high schools seen in the Fourth high school judo club, which emphasizes the ground phase, was called “Kosen Judo, ” different from the Kodokan Judo which emphasizes the standing phase, and caused rivalry with the Kodokan. This means that the old-education-system high schools have created a unique sports culture different from the existing sports organizations and cultures. The study of sports history of the old-education-system high schools is meaningful also in terms of such new sports creation.
The purpose of this paper is to show the characteristics of body theory from the perspective of sport sociology and to seek the potential of a physics' approach to body theory through examining the problems of the meta-physics' concept. To achieve this purpose, the characteristics of body theory from the perspective of sport sociology and the expectations for the theory when sport sociologists held the first congress of the Japan Society of Sport Sociology (JSSS) in 1991, were reviewed. Secondly, some perspectives for body based on sociology of physical education and theory from the viewpoint of historical sociology were discussed. Finally, we try to seek the potential of physics' approach in body theory which is different from sport sociological perspective at this moment, recognizing the problem of formation and expectation for body, that is, meta-physics' concept. In consequence, the characteristics of body theory in sport sociology have been showed as redundant humanism, emphasizing the concept of human culture and society as the same meaning, which resulted from the concept of sport as a part of the culture and social system. In the background, it was pointed out that the sociology and theory of physical education has presumed an educated human body as the perspective, and that sociology in itself has expected the body as humanism to oppose structuralism and functionalism and sought the body to take the place of the mind. Typically such a perspective of body theory in sport sociology, leads to be mainly emphasized as phenomenological methodology which stressed the subjective of body. But we think the unconscious and automatic paradigm formation of body in sport sociological perspective is strongly criticized. So, as one of the key perspectives to resolve this problem, we suggested the potential of a physics' approach to body theory and asked for change in the previous body theory to discover a new perspective for social problems of contemporary sports phenomena.
In this paper, I discuss how a martial artist instructs the others on Body Technique. We are able to instruct them on the “motion” of Body Technique. But we can't instruct them on the “Physical Sense” which is felt when we perform skillful technique. Learner can't share the same sense or feeling with the master as if these were digital information's. How can one learn the Body Technique and the Physical Sense? Our approach of this study is ethnographical. In this paper, I describe the practice of mastering Aikido. In Aikido, it is very important to acquire the sense of Body Technique. So, I describe how a man can learn “Kokyu-ryoku” (Breath-Power). “Kokyu-ryoku” is not a muscle power. In the “M-ryu” in which I participate, “Kokyu-ryoku” is grasped as the symbolic power of aikido spirit. I describe how the languages function in the practice of instruction. I describe the sensuous relationship between “Physical Sense” and “languages”. I observed that the apprentices would be able to feel their own bodies sensitively by paying attention to their Physical Senses throught the process of practice. I conclude that the signification of the ambiguous sense on the ground of the cosmology to which the master refers makes it possible to impart Physical Sense to apprentices from the practiced.