The Emergence of Boxing Mania in Japan
In Japan, there has always existed considerable respect for warriors. It may be for this reason that the country is naturally inclined towards boxing. There are 1340 professional boxers across the country (compared to just 444 in France) and 5 world champions, making the archipelago one of the most prominent participants on the global stage. The nation’s biggest stars include Ryuya Yamanaka, Hiroto Kyoguchi and Sho Kimura among the lightweights.
It is also worth noting, that once you scratch the surface, boxing comes up frequently throughout Japanese culture, in books and TV shows including the 1986 manga Ashita No Joe. The story by Tetsuya Chiba follows a young scrapping orphan who becomes a boxer and is now considered a cult classic, having sold over 16 million copies. Boxing stories also make an appearance in Hajime No Ippo by Georges Morikawa, Katsu! and Racaille Blues.
The phenomenon is arguably all the more present in film, in both TV and cinema, with Boys of the Run, Kids Return, Tokyo Fist and 100 Yen Love all featuring a boxer in the leading role. It’s no surprise that boxing has become such a big hit for many Japanese fans!
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