Japanese Modern Literature and Sports Nationalism
It was 1930s that Japanese Government made a frantic attempt to empower ideology of emperor system and spread militarism. At the same time, it was the time of popularization of sports as it received great deals of enthusiasm by public crowd. However, the two phenomena, the dissemination of militarism and the popularization of sports were not coincidence. This is because the popularization of sports secretly contained the purpose of Japanese Government, which was to actively appropriate sports to empower militarism and nationalism. Since the Roman Empire, sports have kept close relationship with politics as it was used as a means of control of mass. In Japan, this aspect was conspicuous particularly in 1936, the year of the Berlin Olympics. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to examinate how the Government utilized literature and what roles writers played in Berlin Olympics in order to increase the attention of nation's interest on Olympics and enhance nationalism. Mass media actively cooperated Japanese Government's political use of sports. Especially, since newspapers were having keen competition to collect readers, they needed to increase the excitement about Olympics by with mass-friendly methods. Asahi Shimbun's open competition of Olympics songs for cheer was one of the them. Since it is inevitable for fight songs to involve nationalism, this paper finds the link between literature and sports nationalism by investigating Olympic fight songs. Following the open contest of fight songs, each newspaper made great deals of efforts to effectively deliver the excitement of Berlin Olympics to Japanese people, such as hiring novelists and poets as reporters. That was the first time literary writers participate the report of sports. Novelists such as Yokomitsu Riichi, Mushanokoji Saneatsu and poets including Saijo Yaso are the examples. They increased the attention to the Olympics and enhanced nationalism by visiting the stadium and reporting the opening ceremony, games and medal winners by prose or verse with literary rhetorics. Why would the three were selected as special correspondents among numerous writers? The paper primarily examines the causes and the background. Then it compares the attributes of prose and verse written by the three writers focusing on Olympic Ceremony and Sohn Ki Jung's winning gold medal. This reveals Saijo Yaso was the most loyal correspondent and his poems are the most applicable example of utilizing literature for instigating sports nationalism. Lastly, the paper analyzes the critiques on Olympia by Japanese literary men. It investigates Sato Haruo's poems, works of Yasuoka Shotaro and Mishima Yukio featuring nationalism like Saijo Yaso's pieces, followed by analysis of Kobayashi Hideo's essay which shows opposite direction.
1936, the year of Berlin Olympics, is the year that 2/26 Incident occurred and professional baseball started to run. It means the popular interest was on sports living in the condition of political suppression and ideological control. Hence, this paper is an attempt to reveal the contribution of literary writers to the Berlin Olympics, the central issue of the public interest.