Live talk webinar: Kemari

FIFA Museum Seestrasse 27, 8002 Zurich English

Kemari is a highly ritualised game indigenous to Japan that has been played for over a millennium. Join us and our experts for a free one-hour webinar where we tackle the question why the beautiful game of kemari failed to stand the test of time.

The game of kemari enjoyed a high social status, the legacy of which is a historical record that has been passed down through the centuries. Still celebrated and played today, it is considered a part of the cultural heritage of Japan. As a ball game in which only feet are used, it can also safely stake its claim among the antecedents of all the modern football codes, but in particular association football.

Kemari was remarkable for the fact that in its heyday, it boasted many of the seven criteria necessary to call itself modern. Even today, its spirit and legacy lives on in the ball tricks performed by the likes of Diego Maradona and in new sports such as freestyle football. Join our live talk webinar to find out why kemari failed to make the transition from ancient to modern sport.

Our experts:

Prof. Lee Thompson - University of Waseda, Tokyo Japan

Lee Thompson is a professor at Waseda University Faculty of Sport Sciences in Japan. His research interests include the relationship between sport and the media, with a focus on Japan. He is co-author of Japanese Sports: A History. He received a Ph.D. in sociology from the Graduate School of Human Sciences of Osaka University, and has lived and worked in Japan for over 40 years. He is former president of the Japan Society of Sport Sociology. He appears as a regular commentator on television broadcasts of professional sumo.

Guy Oliver - Football Historian, FIFA Museum

Guy Oliver is a journalist, broadcaster, author and historian specialising in world football. After writing Guinness Record of World Soccer in 1992, he spent the next twelve years travelling the world working in television, first as the producer of the weekly Futbol Mundial, then as the Series Producer of the 13-part documentary series History of Football: The Beautiful Game, before making the official film of the 1930 World Cup for FIFA’s centenary. From 2004 Guy wrote and published FIFA’s yearbook before joining the FIFA Museum in 2013 as its consultant historian.


Learn more about kemari in our digital exhibition “Origins: Pre-Histories of Football”


All live talk webinars - The Origins of Football