Kate Sylvester, “Women and Martial Art in Japan” (Routledge, 2022)

Kate Sylvester’s Women and Martial Art in Japan (Routledge 2023) examines sport, gender, and society in Japan through the author’s extensive experience and ethnographic research as a kendo practitioner both at elite international levels and in Japan. Sylvester focuses on kendo as a university sport, placing her experiences as a veteran (foreign) competitor working within the hierarchies of that system in the context of the ideologies and lived realities of gender in contemporary Japan. In doing so, Women and Martial Art in Japan unpacks the “sporting masculinity” that permeates women’s experiences of sport within a masculinist culture, and places the practice of sport within the idealized and actual life course of Japanese women. 

Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese language and history in the University of Bergen’s Department of Foreign Languages.

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