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From Bushidō to science: A new pedagogy of sports coaching in Japan

Publication Authors: 
Miller, Aaron L.
Publication Year: 
Publication Journal: 
Japan Forum, 23(3), 385-406. DOI: 10.1080/09555803.2011.597054

This article introduces readers to a new pedagogy of Japanese sports coaching, which is based on science rather than Bushidō, rational thought rather than samurai wisdom. In doing so, it illustrates one alternative way that the Japanese are currently approaching sports, something that has up until now generally been ignored or overlooked by many scholars. It draws on the latest research in Japanese and English as well as long-term observational fieldwork to explain the roots of sports science, its introduction to Japan as well as how it is being used in Japanese basketball today. It interprets various voices to show why scientific approaches are having trouble displacing so-called ‘traditionally Japanese’ coaching pedagogies. Although many well-known Japanese coaches, professors and national sports organizations support them, scientific pedagogies of sports coaching currently face various difficulties making inroads in Japan because they are ‘too new’, ‘too confusing’, ‘too difficult to understand’, ‘not authoritarian enough’ or ‘too Western’, and therefore not seen as suitable to the ‘traditional’ Japanese sporting landscape.