Japanese Original Sports “KYOTEI” Invented at Sugamo Prizon

There are many sports that can not be seen abroad in Japan. One of them is a boat race KYOTEI. It is a competition that circles the course with a boat of a single passenger with a 31 horsepower engine and competes for that speed, but outside Japan, small scale competitions are being held in South Korea.

boat race

The history of the competition boat is new

Ryoichi Sasakawa, who was arrested as a business man involved in war after the end of World War II, devised a prototype of KYOTEI during detention Sugamo prison. Sasagawa was released without being indicted because of the political speculation of the United Nations.

Sugamo Prizon

From there Sasagawa was instrumental in the development of KYOTEI and became famous for casting the revenue of the competition boat for many charity projects. But the political argument was consistent with extreme anti-communism after release. It is also widely believed that he was a collaborator of the CIA.

KYOTEI is also gambling at the same time as sports

Current race boats are hosted by local governments and competition results are targets to betting. Approximately 75% of the sales is returned as dividend, the remaining 25% will be operating expenses, the prize money, income of the municipality. To be gambling is making the image of the competition boat worse, but it is also true that sports facilities for children are built nationwide by profit and it is devoted to welfare facilities and other donations.

Boats and engines to use for the race will be selected by lottery before the competition. Since the performance of the motor varies depending on the condition of the parts, the winning percentage of the athlete who assigned the good motor is high. There are also skill of participating players, each ranked. Based on these information, predict the arrival order.

There are also sites that explain ways of watching KYOTEI in English. (GO to BOAT RACE STADIUM/BOATPIER)

The Valuable place leaving old features of Japan

There are people who specialize in predicting the outcome of the race at the boat racecourse. They loudly announced their expectations and a lot of audience listens to their expectations. But it is impossible to tell us that the important part that the prediction store knows will pay 100 yen. However, many people know that even if you bet as expected by predictors, you can not win.



KYOTEI is interesting as competition, gambling, but KYOTEI is also interesting as a sightseeing spot. Few foreign tourists are still visiting the boat rink. The racecourse remains the atmosphere 40 years ago when the Japanese economy had momentum. It is not the appearance of clean and orderly Japan like now. Cheap and easy food is sold in the hall and you can watch the race while drinking beer or shochu.

For the same reason Omoide Yokocho in Shinjuku is popular with tourists from abroad, but the boat racecourse is a place where the older Japan atmosphere was condensed. There are not many places where can be feel this atmosphere in Japan.