Skateboarding in Japan
[Photo by me]
With the Tokyo Olympics coming to Tokyo in 2020 there is a lot of talk about the future of sports in Japan. Specifically, for my students, the future of skateboarding in Japan. So today, since testing in finally finished and all my students can finally relax I decided to take a detour from serious culture articles to more of a contemporary look at modern culture.
If you ever talk to a kid in Japan about sports,one that will almost never come up is skateboarding. That is, until it was added to the Olympic docket for the Tokyo Olympics. Now, students have begun to take an interest in skateboarding and just in the past few months, to my joy, I have seen skateboards pop up in many shops.
Even with the interest in skateboarding, the sport has a long way to go before people accept it. In Japan there are three styles of skateboarders that I have come across. Longboarders, flat landers and park skaters. The most popular style is park style skaters.In the picture above you can see a local skater (and an old student of mine) in a park that has been made for skaters in my local town.
Most of the parks you will find in Japan are the same as this one. They are very old, unkempt and rusted out.Only in larger cities will you find any parks made with concrete or any quality materials. Generally skateboarders are considered a nuisance that people tolerate but do not welcome with open arms.
That being said associations like the SJSA and J-Skateboarding have emerged as the leader in bringing skateboarding to Japan and are slowly making a difference and spreading the word throughout Japan. It will be interesting to see what the future holds and see if Japan can produce any more skateboarding champions.