Curling in Japan

Curling popularity continues to grow amongst all ages in Japan Photo: https://www.facebook.com/karuizawaicepark

Curling first became popular in Japan in the 1970’s as more and more people began to enjoy this intriguing ice sport which involved a lot of skill and strategy.

Due to the impressive performance of the Japanese teams in the 1998 Nagano Olympic Winter Games, interest in the sport surged.

The 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games offered more airtime for curling on television in Japan and following another great performance from the Japanese women’s team in the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games, curling’s popularity continued to grow extensively across the country.

Due to the fact that the sport could be played by both men and women, as well as those in wheelchairs, and of all ages, this appealed to a wide majority of the population.

To date, curling continues to grow in popularity. See Japan Curling Association for more details.

The expansion of curling in Japan

A sport suited to the Japanese

It is said that the Japanese like sports which include taking breaks in play, such as in Sumo wrestling or baseball.

Curling suits that category as there is several pauses throughout the game to discuss tactics and after each end of play.

It is also said that curling is a sport suited for Japanese people because it places a high value on inner strength, requires delicate hand and eye coordination and a you can play it regardless of your age or physical disposition.

Curling's popularity throughout Japan continues to grow, yet it still suffers from people's fear that it is only played on ice, in cold climates, only in winter.

However, several alternative sports have derived from curling in Japan.

People enjoy floor curling which is played indoors (but not on ice). There's also the game of ‘Sun Lucky’ which involves sliding specially designed stones towards a circle on a carpet, aiming to get them as close to the centre as possible.

‘New age' curling is also played in some parts of Japan. This is a barrier free competition, using stones with bearings, which allows people anyone to play regardless of any disabilities.

It is hoped a curling star of the future may one day emerge from one of these other curling sports as well.

Share this page

More Information

WCF Partners