This talk will trace the history of golf in Japan, trying to explain the postwar explosion of course development, obsessive practice and occasional play, which culminated in the 1980s, as well as what has happened since. Golf in Japan turns out not to have been so much about playing the game, as joining the club - more or less Anglo in the first instance, then progressively corporate and speculative as the century wore down to its end. By the 1990s, the game was up. American vultures swooped in and the booking moved online. Currently, a bashful prince may promise a happy ending, while women pros earn the hard foreign prizes, but the truth is the days of the cozy but constricting male comfort zone seem to be at an end.
Dr Angus Lockyer was educated in the UK and the US, receiving his PhD from Stanford University. He is currently Lecturer in Japanese History and Chair of the Japan Research Centre at SOAS, University of London. He is completing a book on the history of Japan and exhibitions (hakurankai), from 1862 to 2005. His talk draws on a new project on the history of Japanese golf.