School Sports in Japan
This past weekend I attended the Tokushima prefectural JHS basketball tournament, where my school’s boys team competed in the semi-finals. Hachiman JHS is a local powerhouse when it comes to JHS basketball in Tokushima. Last year, the boys team were the prefectural champions.
Unlike in the US where there are seasonal sports, students in Japan often devote the better part of their youth to one sport. It’s commonly known back home that football is a fall sport, basketball is played in the winter and baseball in the spring. However for Japanese students, only one sport is participated in all year round, or one after school activity for that matter. In Japan, almost all students belong to an after school club activity, which include not only sports, but martial arts and music. These after school activities take place year round and the practices are taken quite seriously.
As for this year’s Hachiman boy’s basketball team, they lost their semi-final match up and finished third in the tournament. Not to worry though, because this is only one of the many city and prefectural tournaments played during the course of the school year. For third year JHS students on the basketball team, this tournament is only preparation for June and July. In June, the Tokushima City tournament is played where the top 3 teams go on to play in the Tokushima prefectural tournament (State tournament of sort) in July. The Tokushima prefectural champions are then invited to the Japan national JHS championships. Soon after the national championships, the second year students take over the reigns, while the third year students focus on their high school entrance examinations.