The pioneering days of modern sport

Pick up items

  • Hand Apparatus for Gymnastics 1 Hand Apparatus for Gymnastics 2
  • Hand Apparatus for Gymnastics (Clubs, Wooden dumbbells) used during the Meiji Period

  • Modern sports began to take root in Japan during the early part of the Meiji period (1868-1912) and started with the arrival of gymnastics from Europe.

    The dumbbell, so named as it was originally a mute bell, was literally translated in Japan as an “arei.” The clubs and wooden dumbbells, brought to Japan from America by sports educator Gendo Tsuboi in 1880, were widely used in school physical education classes during the Meiji period.

  • Kanaguri Marathon Tabis 1 Kanaguri Marathon Tabis 2
  • Kanaguri Marathon Tabis (Japanese Split-Toed Socks)

  • The advent of track and field shoes in Japan can be traced back to 1901, when the national police banned walking or running outside with bare feet in order to prevent the spread of the plague. The Marathon tabis, or split toed socks, were loved by many marathon runners, including Shizo Kanaguri who competed in the 1912 Stockholm Games, and Son Gi Jeong the gold medalist in the 1936 Berlin Games. The rubber-soled Kanaguri tabi shown here was named after its inventor.