“Strength through Joy” in Japan

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: F206
Oral Presentation
Daisuke TANO , Faculty of Letters, Konan University, Kobe-shi, Japan
During the second half of the 1930s and into the 1940s, the National Socialist leisure organization “Strength through Joy” (Kraft durch Freude, shortly KdF) had a great influence on the development of Japanese leisure movement (Kôsei movement), and played a crucial role in the establishment of relations between the two countries. Since the World Recreation Congress in Hamburg 1936, the activities of the KdF, which should regenerate the “strength” of workers through “joy” in leisure, attracted public attention in Japan, where the general interest in the subject of leisure had been slight. The KdF gave the Japanese movement many suggestions and became its model. After the foundation of the Japanese Recreation Association (JRA, Nihon kôsei kyôkai) in 1938, the Japanese leisure movement made a rapid growth into the holding of the Recreation Congress for Asian Development (Kôa kôsei taikai) in Ôsaka 1940. At this congress, to which also representatives from Germany were invited, the slogan “Strength through Joy” was adopted and the Japanese-German cooperation in the field of social policy was proclaimed. However, the actual discussions between the two countries on issues relating to leisure were not deepened by the congress, and also the mutual perceptions of Germany and Japan contained contradictions in many respects. This report therefore examines the image of the KdF in Japan and that of the Kôsei movement in Germany, and also investigates the relationship between the two countries, in oder to clarify the features of the mutual perception and its significance.