Handball is an exciting and fast-paced sport that has captured the hearts of many Japanese enthusiasts. From its unique history to the competitive leagues, Japan’s handball scene offers a rich experience for both players and fans alike.
In this guide, we will explore the fascinating world of handball in Japan – delving into its origins, rules, popular teams, and how you can get involved with this exhilarating game.
- Handball was introduced to Japan by German missionaries in the early 20th century and has since evolved into its own distinct style of play.
- The Japan Handball League (JHL) is the top professional league for handball in Japan, featuring competitive teams such as Panasonic Panthers and Toyota Auto Body Queenseis.
- Japanese handball differs from international handball in court size and playing style, with Japanese teams focusing on agility and technical skill rather than physical prowess.
- Tokyo Handball Project is a non – profit organization dedicated to promoting handball in Japan through coaching clinics, tournaments, summer camps, and community outreach activities.
History And Evolution Of Handball In Japan
Handball in Japan has a unique history, having been introduced in the early 20th century by German missionaries and later evolving into its own distinct style of play.
Origins And Early Development
The origins of handball in Japan date back to the early 20th century, when it was initially introduced as a physical education activity in schools. Its introduction was influenced by the German style of team handball, and over time, it evolved into a sport that grew in popularity throughout Japan.
Over subsequent decades, handball continued to gain traction among enthusiasts across all age groups and skill levels. The establishment of the Japan Handball League (JHL) marked an important step forward for professionalising the sport within the country.
Furthermore, active participation from skilled players such as Rika Yahara has bolstered its prominence on both national and international stages.
Differences Between Japanese Handball And International Handball
Japanese handball differs from international handball in several ways. One of the biggest differences is the court size, as Japanese courts are smaller than international ones.
Additionally, Japanese teams tend to focus more on quick passes and agility rather than physical prowess, which sets them apart from their larger European counterparts. The style of play also varies between countries, with Japan favoring a more technical approach to the game that emphasizes skillful maneuvering and precise ball-handling.
Current State Of The Sport In Japan
Handball is a popular sport in Japan, with thousands of active players and a growing fan base. While it may not be as widely followed as baseball or football, handball has managed to carve out a niche for itself in the country’s sports scene.
The Japan Handball League (JHL) has been instrumental in promoting the sport and attracting new fans through its professional competitions, which feature some of the best teams and players from around the country.
In recent years, there have also been efforts to increase participation rates among young people by introducing handball into schools’ physical education programs.
In addition to these developments within Japan itself, there have also been strides made at an international level. Japanese teams have participated in various world championships and other major tournaments over the years, often placing respectably against strong opposition from Europe and elsewhere.
This bodes well for the future of handball in Japan as it continues its growth trajectory both domestically and abroad.
Rules And Regulations Of Handball In Japan
The court size and equipment for handball in Japan are similar to international standards, with the exception that Japanese courts have walls instead of lines marking out-of-bounds areas.
Court And Equipment
The court and equipment used in handball games in Japan are crucial to the sport’s successful execution. Here are some essential facts on the court and equipment.
- Handball courts in Japan typically measure 40m by 20m, with lines across the court marking out specific areas of play.
- The lines include a centerline, two goal lines at either end, and two free – throw lines that run parallel to the goal lines.
- Japan follows international rules regarding handball court markings and dimensions.
- The goals used in handball games in Japan have a dimension of 2 meters height and 3 meters width.
- The handball ball used in Japan weighs between 425g – 475g and is approximately 58 cm spherical in shape.
- Shoes with gum soles are usually recommended for players as they provide better grip on the court surface during gameplay.
- Goalkeepers usually wear padded gloves to protect their hands during saves, while outfield players may wear kneepads to protect them while diving or sliding along the floor.
- All equipment, including balls, goals, nets, and other accessories must be approved by the International Handball Federation (IHF) before being allowed for use in official matches or tournaments.
Knowing more about the court and equipment will give you a better understanding of how handball teams operate. So get your shoes ready to join a local club near you!
Gameplay And Scoring
In Japanese handball, the gameplay and scoring are similar to international handball, with a few key differences. The game is played with seven players on each team, including a goalkeeper who can use their feet within the goal area.
The match consists of two 30-minute halves separated by a 10-minute break. In case of ties, overtime periods may be added until there is a winner. Scoring involves awarding one point for each goal scored and penalties for fouls committed by players during play.
Fouls And Penalties
Fouls and penalties are an essential part of handball in Japan. Here are some of the most common fouls and penalties in Japanese handball:
- Charging – When a player deliberately runs into an opponent, they can be charged with a foul.
- Holding – Players are not allowed to hold onto their opponents or impede their movement in any way.
- Stepping into the Goal Area – Only designated players are allowed to enter the goal area, and even they have restrictions on when they can do so.
- Illegal Dribbling – Players must always dribble the ball while moving forward or standing still. Dribbling while moving backward is not allowed, and results in a foul.
- Delaying the Game – If players waste time during the game, either intentionally or unintentionally, it can result in a penalty.
- Offensive Fouls – Offending players may be penalized for aggressive behavior against their opponents such as pushing, hitting, or kicking them..
- Technical Fouls – Referees can issue technical fouls for misconduct such as unsportsmanlike behavior.
- Disqualification Penalties – A player may be disqualified after receiving three suspension times within one game.
Following these rules is important to maintain safety and fairness during games in Japan’s Handball scene.
Popular Handball Teams And Leagues In Japan
The Japan Handball League (JHL) is the most popular handball league in the country, featuring top teams such as Toyota Auto Body Queenseis and Panasonic Panthers.
Japan Handball League
The Japan Handball League (JHL) is the top professional handball league in Japan, showcasing some of the best players and teams in the country. Founded in 1961, the JHL has offices located in Tokyo’s Shinjuku-ku district.
The league comprises both men’s and women’s divisions, with teams from across Japan competing for the title each year. Notable teams include Panasonic Panthers, Toyota Auto Body Queenseis, and Nippon Sport Science University.
Tokyo Handball Project
Tokyo Handball Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting handball in Japan. Established in 2013, the project aims to increase awareness of the sport and create opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to play.
One notable event organized by Tokyo Handball Project is the annual Tokyo Cup tournament, which attracts teams from across Japan and beyond. The tournament features both men’s and women’s divisions and has become one of the largest handball events in Asia.
VELUX EHF Champions League
The VELUX EHF Champions League is one of the most prestigious handball competitions in the world, featuring top-level teams from across Europe. The tournament features a group stage followed by knockout rounds, with the final being played at a neutral venue.
In recent years, Japanese players have been making an impact on the competition, with some joining European clubs and competing at high levels. Notable Japanese players who have competed in the VELUX EHF Champions League include Kentaro Mori and Yuto Agarie, who both played for SG Flensburg-Handewitt in Germany.
Notable Teams And Players
Some of the most notable teams and players in Japanese handball include:
Japan men’s national handball team – This team was established in 1954 and has won multiple medals at the Asian Handball Championships.
Japan women’s national handball team – This team has also won several medals at the Asian Handball Championships and competed in the 2016 Olympics.
Panasonic Panthers – One of the most successful teams in the Japan Handball League, they have won multiple championships.
Alvark Tokyo – Another strong team in the JHL, they have also won several championships.
Reo Ikegami – A star player for both the national team and Panasonic Panthers, he is known for his impressive scoring ability.
Yuko Arakida – Considered one of the best female handball players in Japan, she has competed at numerous international competitions and was named MVP of the 2007 Asian Championship.
Yuki Kawabata – A key player for Alvark Tokyo, he has been a consistent scorer and leader on the court.
These teams and players have helped to elevate the profile of handball in Japan and showcase their talent on both domestic and international stages.
Getting Involved In Handball In Japan
Joining a local handball club is the best way to get involved in handball in Japan, with ample training and coaching opportunities available.
Joining A Local Handball Club
If you’re looking to get involved in handball in Japan, joining a local club is a great place to start. Here are some things to consider:
- Look for clubs in your area by checking with the Japan Handball Association or doing an online search. Many clubs welcome new members and offer introductory training sessions.
- Make sure you have the appropriate gear, including comfortable clothing and handball shoes. Some clubs may provide equipment, but it’s always a good idea to bring your own if possible.
- Attend training sessions regularly to improve your skills and techniques. Most clubs have regular practices and may also offer team events and competitions.
- Consider working with a coach or mentor who can provide guidance on specific areas of improvement.
- Get involved in tournaments or competitions to gain experience and build your network within the handball community.
Remember that handball is a popular sport in Japan, so there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and meet other players. Don’t be afraid to reach out and join a local club – it could be the start of an exciting journey in this fast-paced sport!
Training And Coaching Opportunities
As a handball fan in Japan, you may want to take your passion for the sport to the next level by getting involved in training and coaching opportunities. Here are some options:
Join a local handball club: The best way to get started is by joining a local handball club. You can find clubs through the Japan Handball Association website or by asking around at sports centres and universities.
Attend training camps and clinics: There are training camps and clinics held throughout the year, some organised by JHL teams or players. These events offer intensive training sessions and allow you to learn from experienced coaches.
Get certified as a coach: If you have a passion for teaching, consider getting certified as a handball coach through the Japan Handball Association’s coaching certification program.
Attend matches and observe coaching techniques: Watching professional matches can be an excellent way to learn more about strategy and technique. You can observe how coaches communicate with their players and how they make decisions during games.
Volunteer at events: Volunteering at tournaments and events can give you valuable experience working with other players, coaches, and organisers.
Remember that safety should always come first when attending these training opportunities. According to a study among Japanese university handball players, injuries are prevalent among players, particularly in line positions due to the nature of their position. So be sure to prioritize your safety while learning from experienced coaches and players!
Participating In Tournaments And Events
If you’re a handball fan in Japan, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved in tournaments and events. Here’s what you need to know:
- The Japan Handball League (JHL) holds its championship tournament every year, featuring the top teams from around the country.
- The Tokyo Handball Project regularly hosts tournaments and clinics for players of all ages and skill levels.
- The VELUX EHF Champions League is a major international handball tournament that features some of the best teams from around the world.
- There are also numerous local and regional tournaments held throughout the year, giving players a chance to compete against others from their area.
- If you’re interested in participating in a tournament or event, start by checking with your local handball club or league for information on upcoming competitions.
- You can also find information about tournaments and events on social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook.
- When participating in a tournament or event, be sure to follow appropriate rules and regulations for safety reasons.
- It’s always a good idea to bring your own equipment, such as gloves or shoes, to ensure that you’re prepared to play at your best.
- Don’t forget to have fun! Tournaments and events are a great way to meet other handball fans and improve your skills on the court.
Cultural Etiquette And Customs
It’s essential to understand the cultural etiquette and customs when participating in handball in Japan. The Japanese place high value on respect, politeness, and teamwork.
As a player or spectator, it’s crucial to show respect for your coaches, teammates, opponents, and officials.
It’s also important to be mindful of the dress code. Modesty is key when selecting appropriate clothing for matches or tournaments. Avoid wearing revealing clothes that may be considered inappropriate by Japanese standards.
Resources For English Speakers
If you’re an English speaker looking to get involved in handball in Japan, there are plenty of resources available to help you out. Here are some options:
Japan Handball Association (JHA): The JHA website has a section in English with information on the rules of the game, as well as news and updates on handball events in Japan.
English-speaking clubs: There are several handball clubs in Japan that welcome English speakers, including the Tokyo Handball Project and the Kobe Steel Cobras. These clubs offer training and coaching sessions, as well as opportunities to participate in tournaments and events.
Coaching services: If you’d like to improve your handball skills, there are also coaching services available for English speakers in Japan. One example is HANDBALL COACHING TOKYO, which offers individual and group coaching sessions.
Social media groups: There are also several social media groups for handball fans in Japan, including the Shizuoka Handball Group and the Japanese Handball Fan Club.
No matter what your level of experience or interest in handball may be, there are plenty of resources available to help you get involved and enjoy this exciting sport in Japan!
Conclusion And Future Of Handball In Japan
In conclusion, handball is a beloved sport in Japan with a rich history and growing popularity. From the early beginnings to its current state, we have explored various aspects of this exciting game.
With the JHL leading professional leagues and events like VELUX EHF Champions League drawing crowds from around the world, there’s no doubt that handball has a bright future in Japan.
Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting out, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in this dynamic sport through local clubs, tournaments, and coaching programs.