Gateball is the quintessential game for the over 60s in Japan. A form of croquet played on the rough gravel of public parks between two teams of five a side - although the number per side is allowed by the rules to be lower. In fact, the rules of the game continue to baffle me.
Gateball has spread overseas since it first appeared in Japan after World War II, conceived first in Hokkaido by Washin Suzuki as a game for young people. It is now played in a number of countries (almost exclusively by old people) including South Korea, Australia, the USA, UK and even Brazil. In spite of its history and popularity, its formalization took a while, with the formation of the Japan Gateball Union in 1984.
The 10th World Gateball Championships are due to be held in Shanghai in September this year.
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Monday, March 29, 2010