Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Cultural and historical transformation of judo in the United States and Japan : is sport dependent on the dominant culture?

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  • Among sport sociologists, the dependency relationship between sport and the dominant culture has become an important area of concern. Examination of the cultural and historical transformations of specific sports may be expected to provide significant insights into the nature of this relationship. The purpose of this study was to develop hypotheses to explain how the meanings and the forms of judo have been transformed and/or maintained in the society of origin, Japan, and in an adoptive society, the United States. An ethnographic study, based upon in-depth interviews with judo instructors in the United States and Japan, selected by means of criterion-based and purposive sampling, served as the principal source of information. In addition, a variety of additional information-gathering methods were used for the two countries. Observations at selected judo clubs and tournaments, informal interviews with judoists, and analysed of sport-specific publications, were employed to develop the credibility of the findings. Consequently, three hypotheses were developed and explored: ( 1 ) the forms of judo are independent of the dominant society, (2) the meanings of judo are strongly dependent upon the dominant society, and (3) the forms of judo in Japan have been subject to greater variance than judo as practiced in the United States. In addition, based upon modern methodology of consumer behavior, an investigation of the favorite possessions of judoists in the United States and Japan was conducted to explore the deeper meanings of judo to individual participants in each country. For the United States, three themes emerged: (1} judo as a means to form friendships, (2) judo as a means to express individual abilities, and (3) persistence of the Kodokan-Japanese orientation. For Japan, the two themes which addressed the meaning of judo were: ( 1 ) judo as a means of self-discipline and (2) judo as a championship sport. When considered jointly, both ethnographic inquiry and favorite possessions investigation suggested that there were culturally different reasons why individuals in the two countries chose to seek involvement in the sport of judo. Basically, American judoists tended to emphasize friendships among judoists and the value of individual achievements, whereas Japanese judoists valued the nature of individual effort and respectful feelings for their instructor and the instructional process.
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