Japan at the school of esports
The practice of competitive video games was surprisingly underdeveloped in the archipelago. It changes. It is even entering the curriculum of several high schools.
Esports, a term that designates the practice of competitive video games, is growing in popularity. The number of practitioners worldwide is estimated at over 100 million, mainly concentrated in Europe, the United States and South Korea. In Japan, the discipline, which has integrated the program of some high schools, is experiencing strong growth. Video game addiction remains a source of concern in the archipelago, however. We have conducted our investigation.
Mitsuasa Kudo, a third-year student at Renaissance Correspondence High School – Shinjuku-Yoyogi Campus, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo – is enrolled in the esports course. “That we can play video games in class surprised me a lot at the beginning”, he confides. Two days a week, he goes to school to practice, supervised by a former professional player. Since the creation of the course in April 2019, the school has seen its number of students explode; it currently has around 100 registrants, ten times more than the first year.
Inter-high school championship
Last year, the establishment placed third in the 3rd National High School Esports Championship (organized among others by the Mainichi Shimbun [le quotidien nippon dont cet article est extrait]), in which a record 346 teams from 194 schools participated. Among these, the Clark Memorial International High School [à Fukagawa, dans le nord du Japon] also offers a specialized course, and the N and Sendai Ikuei high schools, the two leading correspondence schools, have an e-sport club. Last October, Jin-ai Girls’ High School in Fukui City [est du Japon], also inaugurated an e-sport club.
Beyond secondary education, local communities are also starting to promote and disseminate e-sport, contributing to the development of the sector. According to Kadokawa ASCII Research Laboratories, an organization that conducts research on the subject, professional teams are multiplying and the market, which weighed about 4.8 billion yen [37 millions d’euros] in 2018, the discipline’s “year zero”, climbed to some 8.7 billion yen [67 millions d’euros] this year and is expected to reach around 18.4 billion yen [142 millions d’euros] in 2024.
The number of supporters attending the high school championship or following it on screen is expected to almost double this year compared to 2018, to exceed 7.96 million. With the increase in advertising revenue, it is likely that many professional players will emerge. “Despite a slowdown due to the pandemic, the growth of the esports market is remarkable, and it is expected to accelerate further in the future with the spread of 5G”, Mitsunobu indicates
Founded in 1872 under the name of Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun, the Mainichi Shimbun is the oldest Japanese daily. It took the present denomination in 1943 during a merger with theOsaka Mainichi Shimbun. Centrist, the “