The Historical Sociology of Japanese Martial Arts (Routledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society) 1st Edition

2.9 out of 5 stars 4 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0367499266
ISBN-10: 0367499266
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Editorial Reviews


Winner of the Norbert Elias Book Prize 2020

"This book is one of the first to use Elias’s sociology so centrally in considering the social history of Japanese martial arts, and is perhaps unique in its vast historical scope and sweep … The experience of reading this book was deeply significant to me as a scholar, as it has led to the aforementioned epiphanies. I expect that the book will continue to be the kind of work that is valued by a wide and diverse audience in the future." - Tetsuya Nakajima, Ibaraki University, Japan, Martial Arts Studies

About the Author

Raúl Sánchez García is Lecturer in sociology of sport at the School of Sports Science, Universidad Europea Madrid, Spain and President of the Sociology of Sport working group within the Spanish Federation of Sociology (FES). He has practiced diverse combat sports and martial arts and holds a shōdan in Aikikai aikidō.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Routledge; 1st edition (June 30, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0367499266
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0367499266
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.2 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    2.9 out of 5 stars 4 ratings

Customer reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
2.9 out of 5
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Reviewed in the United States on April 25, 2021
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4.0 out of 5 stars Unfairly battered by low ratings
By Richard Bejtlich on April 25, 2021
I was reluctant to purchase this book because of the low rating on Amazon. The one positive review was written by one of the author's colleagues and sources. The author holds a PhD from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain and is a lecturer in the sociology of sport at the School of Sports Science, Universidad Europea Madrid, Spain. He has practiced diverse combat sports and martial arts and holds a shōdan in Aikikai aikidō.

Despite my reservations, I bought the title for my Kindle and I enjoyed reading the book. The author noted that he had to rely on secondary English language sources, as he is not conversant in Japanese. I accepted that aspect of the book, and found his reliance on the available English sources to be generally appropriate.

It is impressive that Dr. Garcia wrote this book in English, as Spanish appears to be his primary language. Still, I believe his editor should have taken a closer look at the text. For example, his use of the term "ape" or "aped" to refer to mimicry seemed odd. I also sensed that there was a bit too much common Japanese military history repeated in the text.

The book did include one of my favorite figures to appear in any title thus far, Martial ryū origins and transmission during the two cycles of violence and their aftermaths. The key theme that I took from this book appeared at the beginning of chapter 4:"The stabilisation and systematisation of the classical martial ryū (koryū) was favoured by the more peaceful times after each of the two cycles of violence of the Two Courts period [1336-1392] and the Warring States period [467-1573]." In other words, it was during the relative peace following wars that "martial arts" developed in Japan.

This is counter-intuitive. Wouldn't martial arts develop during the wars? It seems that while war is happening, there is little time or energy for formulating and systematizing the elements of a martial art.

Finally, I really enjoyed elements of the epilogue where the author compared Japanese arts to French duels of the 17th century, English boxing of the 18th century, and German duels of the 19th century. I would love to see this expanded into additional materials.
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Reviewed in the United States on September 22, 2018
2 people found this helpful
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