1st Edition

The Historical Sociology of Japanese Martial Arts

By Raul Sanchez Garcia Copyright 2019
    252 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    252 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Winner of the Norbert Elias Book Prize 2020

    This is the first long-term analysis of the development of Japanese martial arts, connecting ancient martial traditions with the martial arts practised today. The Historical Sociology of Japanese Martial Arts captures the complexity of the emergence and development of martial traditions within the broader Japanese Civilising Process.

    The book traces the structured process in which warriors’ practices became systematised and expanded to the Japanese population and the world. Using the theoretical framework of Norbert Elias’s process-sociology and drawing on rich empirical data, the book also compares the development of combat practices in Japan, England, France and Germany, making a new contribution to our understanding of the socio-cultural dynamics of state formation. Throughout this analysis light is shed onto a gender blind spot, taking into account the neglected role of women in martial arts.

    The Historical Sociology of Japanese Martial Arts is important reading for students of Socio-Cultural Perspectives in Sport, Sociology of Physical Activity, Historical Development of Sport in Society, Asian Studies, Sociology and Philosophy of Sport, and Sports History and Culture. It is also a fascinating resource for scholars, researchers and practitioners interested in the historical and socio-cultural aspects of combat sport and martial arts.

    1 Introduction

    Part I: Warriors

    2 Archery and Sumō as First Traces of Martial Arts

    3 The Emergence of Composite Martial Ryū during the Two Courts and the Warring States Periods

    4 Excursus: the Origins of Martial ryū

    Part II: Retainers

    5 The Stabilization of Martial Ryū During Early Tokugawa

    6 The Transformation and Diffusion of Martial Arts During Mid and Late Tokugawa Periods

    Part III: Martial Artists

    7 The Identification of Martial Arts with the Japanese We-identity during Meiji

    8 Taishō Democracy as a Transition Phase in the Development of Martial Arts

    9 The Militarization of the Japanese Population Through Martial Arts in Early Shōwa 10 Excursus: the Birth of Modern Martial Artists

    11 Reformulation, Expansion and Hybridisation of Japanese Martial Arts

    12 Epilogue


    Raúl Sánchez García is Lecturer in sociology of sport at the School of Sports Science, Universidad Europea Madrid, Spain and President of the Sociology of Sport working group within the Spanish Federation of Sociology (FES). He has practiced diverse combat sports and martial arts and holds a shōdan in Aikikai aikidō.

    "This book is one of the first to use Elias’s sociology so centrally in considering the social history of Japanese martial arts, and is perhaps unique in its vast historical scope and sweep … The experience of reading this book was deeply significant to me as a scholar, as it has led to the aforementioned epiphanies. I expect that the book will continue to be the kind of work that is valued by a wide and diverse audience in the future." - Tetsuya Nakajima, Ibaraki University, Japan, Martial Arts Studies

    "I would definitely recommend [this book] to anyone interested in the sociology of martial arts. This is a well thought out, and methodologically innovative presentation of the history of Japanese martial arts which will make good reading for both students and seasoned scholars."- Eugenia Rozenfeld, University of Haifa, Israel, The International Journal of the History of Sport