Scene in Winter, Rokko-san Hill, Japan, c. 1940.



1940sAmusements & RecreationsOutside TokyoSports & Athletics
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Scene in Winter, Rokko-san Hill, Japan, c. 1940.

“Nowhere are we more unsure of the early history of skiing than in Asia … From China, a document of the West Han period (206 BC – 225 AD) that has recently emerged reports that ‘people of the Dingling nationality living in the Altai mountains of northwest China sped like goats in the valleys and on the flatlands wearing the ‘horns of goats’ – a kind of knee high fur boot under which is bound a wooden board with a hoof-shaped front tip.”

The Culture and Sport of Skiing: From Antiquity to World War II, E. John B. Allen, 2007

From the wiki: “There is no single mountain or peak called “Rokkō.” The highest peak of the mountains is called Rokkōsan-Saikōhō – literally, the highest peak in Rokkō Mountains. The mountain range spreads from Sumaura Kōen Park in the west end of Kobe to Takarazuka. The highest point is 931m (~3000 feet).

“It is thought that recreational skiing first came to Japan in 1911, when Major Theodor von Lerch of the Austrian Army gave lessons on Mt Kanaya in Niigata, to members of what would become Japan’s first ski club. However, the sport got it’s first real boost in the 1930’s when the Japanese government put Austrian Hannes Schneider on the payroll to give lessons to the public.

“Hannes Schneider introduced more developed skis that were lighter and had primitive bindings to Japan in the 1930’s. Mr. Schneider, complete with his expensive three-piece suit – worn at all times, even coming down the slopes! – impressed those around him. This marked the beginning of the first ‘skiing boom’ in Japan.”

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