Mr. White's talk about bukatsu


Lesson 0

" Labor DOPING in Japan"



Doping is not accepted in present world sports. Any athlete who take drugs will be driven away from competitions. However, another kind of doping, which has nothing to do with drugs, has been adopted in Japan.


The following is details. Tokyo is hosting the 2020 games. Like other recent hosting conutries, every sport in Japan has been enthusiastically preparing for them. However, Japan's sports have darksides people outside rarely find.


That is BUKATSU, or school club activities.


Most training systems in Japan's sports depend on bukatsu. It means most teams and athletes belong to schools.


Who are in charge of them?


The answer is harsh. It is school teachers that has taken school clubs. True teachers should do so as long as the clubs are affiliated with schools, but teachers have not got any extra pay or holidays though they are expected to coach school clubs till late on weekdays, even on Saturdays and Sundays.


Of course, extra-work-with-no pay is illegal in Japan.


Illegal coaching -- this is no different from drug doping, isn't it?


So we regard Japan's sports systems as 'LABOR DOPING.'




Lesson 1

" Bukatsu is Japan's unique school culture "



Bukatsu is Japan's unique school culture.

Bukatsu is a Japanese word meaning "club activities at school."

What do you imagine from the word "club activities?"

Perhaps you enjoy some activity with your friends for a short time, a few times a week at most.

However, Japan has a completely different, awful "school club systems."

Almost all of the high schools and junior high schools have school clubs affiliated to the school.

School clubs have two categories, sports and cultural activities.

...These are not strange facts. So far.



Lesson 2


" Amazing three facts of club activity in Japan "



School clubs in Japan contain three surprising facts, compared to "(school) clubs" as you know.


1. Students are STRONGLY expected to join a club at school, sometimes compulsory.

2. Teachers working at school are also to coach all the clubs at school. 

3. Many of the clubs have activities/trainings more than 5 days a week, even on Sats&Suns.


Are you surprised?  ...If so, not enough.  Let's see more details.



Lesson 3


" In the Name of the School "



Most of the teenagers' sports activities are based on school teams.

Of course, there are quite a few sport clubs and teams outside schools.

Most of the students, however, prefer their school teams/clubs. Why?

There are two reasons. One is an economical reason. You don't have to pay extra fees for school club activities. But this is  just a minor one.

The second reason, which is indispensable for you to talk about bukatsu, or school clubs,  is that Japan's junior and senior high school students, and their parents, strongly desire to "compete in the name of school and try for championships of the category".

It will be difficult for people outside Japan to understand this belief.




Lesson 4


" The King of Bukatsu--High School Baseball "



 Competitions among school teams/clubs are so common and popular here in Japan, but why have they become so harsh? As a clue to this question, let me introduce the most popular bukatsu, or school clubs, high school baseball.


 The most popular sport event in Japan is baseball. Japan's professional baseball leagues are second to those of the USA, and Japan has won the Olympic gold and World Baseball Classic. It is high school baseball that has long supported Japan's baseball.


 At present, about 4,000 high schools have baseball teams (of course all the teams belong to schools) and there are about 160,000 students registered. As the total number of high school students is around 3,300,000, basketball club students account for nearly 5%.


 All of these teams play for a national high school championship, but surprisingly, there are as many as four champion titles in a year, although even professional MLB and NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) has one championship a year.


 Among the four titles, the most inportant seems to be summer championships, followed by spring championships. This is because all of the games of the two championships are lively broadcast on TV throughout Japan.



 Japan High School Baseball FederationThe number of the members Statistics 2017 (Hardball baseball) End of May count