View from Japan Esports Union

What do Japanese people think of "esports"?
In order to clarify what esports is, we summarized the views of the Japan esports Union (JeSU) from our interviews and other media's news.

Is "esports" a kind of sports?

When we interviewed, there was a reply saying as follows:
"Sports" is "sports" globally, not necessarily "physical education", so the competition where winning or losing depends on the player's ability is sports. Those whose outcome depends on luck are not necessarily sports.
It seems that not all games are sports.
There was a point in common with other sports that the luck should not affect the winning or losing.
In Japan, there is a strong tendency that esports are not a sport, but JeSU Vice Chairman Mr.Hamamura says about it as follows:

"As a matter of fact, even in South Korea, which is an 'e-sports developed country', the discussion of 'whether esports is a sport or not' has been continued for a long time.
Although Korea has been penetrating the culture as soon as 20 years from Japan, there are still such discussions.
However, as e sports athletes are active as athletes, people are beginning to think that esports is also a sport."(This is a quote from an interview of Yomiuri News.We translated from Japanese.)

It is considered to mean "Although it takes time, esports will be recognized as sports in Japan as well".
However, among the Japanese, there is still a persistent tendency that "games are not sport".
We think that it will take quite a long time for everyone to recognize esports as sports.

About Internet dependence

Games and Internet often have bad impressions due to concerns about addiction。
About that topic, Mr. Hamamura says that the people who depend on the Internet and the esports player are completely different.

"The cause of the addiction of the Internet is that the significance of their existence is completed in the Internet world and they do not want to leave from there.
In contrast, esports is a competition. In order to win the game, they have to be strong in mentally and physically.
They need to jog, go to the gym, etc, and they are totally reversed with people with Internet addiction."(This is a quote from an interview of Yomiuri News.We translated from Japanese.)

People who can not stop the game can not train mental strength, physical strength, which will affect the outcome of the match.
Professional esports players seem to need to be able to control themselves, as they need to be firm in time and management.
The development of esports culture and the measures against addiction of the Internet are considered to be contradictory.
However, they may share the same goal.
It is important to understand the difference between game dependence and esports player.
pro and addiction

How to spread esports?

As we interviewed, they said that it is important to encourage esports tournament to be held at international sports competitions and to dispatch Japanese athletes to the tournament.
They also said they would like to promote the establishment of an environment so that the community of esports will be revitalized throughout the country and to provide players an opportunity to play.

Regarding establishing the esports department at the international sports festival, in 2018, the Winning Eleven was introduced experimentally as an open competition at the Asian Games, which attracted a lot of attention.
If the impression on sports changes, the esports division will be set up for international sports competitions.
In addition, in 2018, the Japanese team won the gold medal at the Asian Games held in Jakarta with the title "Winning Eleven".
If the number of esports tournaments increases, it is predicted that the activity of Japanese esports will be more prominent.