Utilizing Hosei’s Unique Educational Environment to Foster Experts in Sports Business


Takahiro Inoue, Lecturer

Department of Sports and Health Studies, Faculty of Sports and Health Studies

Posted Nov. 27, 2019

Faculty Profile

Takahiro Inoue brings management and marketing expertise to his work in advancing sports culture. Through activities ranging from research to overseas training, he takes the lead in honing his students’ practical wisdom.

A Scientific Approach to Understanding the Attraction of Sports through Analysis of Consumer Behavior

I belong to the Sports Business Program in the Department of Sports and Health Studies, and work on sports-related management and marketing. My research covers a wide range of sports including figure skating, rugby, and baseball, in addition to soccer, which was a sport I enjoyed in my own student days.

What can be done to revitalize sports? Hints to answering this question can be found in the behavior of sports consumers: people who spend time, money, and effort to watch and participate in sports. Surveying and analyzing the characteristic activities and tendencies of these consumers sheds light on what makes sports attractive and where latent demand lies.

Take watching sports, for example. Some people want to watch live sports broadcasts on television, while others prefer to go to the stadium to watch the action. If we can provide a scientific account of the factors behind these behaviors and present the stadium experience in a way that stimulates the interest of the television fans as well, stadium attendances will rise.

Sports marketing and sports management are relatively new fields of academic research. They span a number of different disciplines including business administration and psychology, while also developing their own independent and unique characteristics and incorporating trans-disciplinary insights. It’s important to formulate a stance that effectively marries the subjective standpoint of a sports fan with the objective standpoint of a business decision-maker.

Rapid advancements are being made in sports science, and the environment surrounding sports is changing, but sports culture in Japan cannot be considered fully mature. There are many areas that are yet to be researched. As sports gain impetus and their social and cultural value rises, the climate for ongoing support of sports activity develops, and the training environment for athletes improves. I hope we can produce individuals capable of applying their knowledge of sports business to contribute to the promotion of sports.

Faculty Members’ Networks and Collaborative Structures Open Up New Educational Pathways

The Faculty of Sports and Health Studies is a young organization that has just celebrated its 10th anniversary, so there’s a strong appetite for taking on new challenges. There’s an atmosphere of faculty-wide support for bringing to fruition proposals that will benefit students.

The best thing is that faculty members are very generous in providing access to the personal networks they’ve built in their varied careers to date. In my own research, for example, I once consulted my senior colleagues about conducting a survey of fans attending an international figure skating competition. Professor Hiroshi Yamamoto and other faculty members provided the introductions that enabled me to gather data at a high-profile event, the NHK Trophy in the Grand Prix of Figure Skating.

If I had approached the event organizers myself, I probably wouldn’t have got a foot in the door. The research paper I produced out of that survey was awarded the Japanese Association for Sport Management’s Incentive Prize for 2017.

Another example is the training program on soccer coaching techniques in Europe, which is being offered for the first time in the 2019 academic year. This plan was realized through the efforts of Professor Eijun Kiyokumo, a former coach of the Japanese national soccer team, and Assistant Professor Takahiro Kawada, who holds a professional instructor’s license in Germany.    

The networks of trust built through person-to-person encounters spread across Japan and the world, generating the energy that propels students forward. I believe that this kind of globalization is one of Hosei University’s unique strengths.

Multiple Capabilities Essential in the Realm of Sports Today

To be an athlete you need exceptional talent in your specialized event, but the people who support the activity of these athletes need to be capable of undertaking multiple types of work. They need to equip themselves with extra skills in addition to their expertise in fields such as management and marketing.

With this in mind, faculty members in the Sports Business Program collaborate consciously in holding joint seminars. Each member brings their own insights and incorporates new perspectives into these seminars, in anticipation that they will help raise students’ integrated abilities.

Most students enter the Faculty of Sports and Health Studies with a longing to pursue sports-related careers, and are conscious from an early stage that their learning at university is directly connected to their own future. This is truly education for “practical wisdom,” and I feel it’s my role to present students with a range of options that connect them to the future.

In practice, it’s up to each individual student to decide which path to take. What do you need to get the future you want? Keep your eyes open and absorb everything you can. I hope to work closely with my students and look forward to watching their practical wisdom flourish.

Developing sports culture through practical education that combines coaching and sports business

As an undergraduate student I attended Hosei’s Tama Campus and enjoyed playing my beloved sport of soccer in a free and open environment. I entered graduate school with the hope of becoming a soccer instructor, but in the end I decided to get involved in training people to support the sporting world from the standpoint of sports business. I returned to work at my alma mater when the Faculty of Sports and Health Studies was established. Today, I feel I made the right decision.

What’s good about sports education is that apart from the technical training, it helps you grow as a person. With this expectation, we will be establishing a new camp-based training program as part of our field study curriculum from the 2020 academic year. Participants will work cooperatively in an outdoor living environment, surrounded by nature and without the conveniences of electricity or telecommunications. I hope this will be an opportunity for students to reconsider themes such as coexistence with nature and interrelationships with others.

My research specialization is sports business, but I also have a special fondness for soccer coaching, so on an extracurricular basis, separate from my seminar classes, I’m involved in the development of soccer players and instructors. Under the Japan Football Association’s registration system we are part of a league of adult teams, but all the players in the team are students at the Tama Campus. At the same time as enjoying our soccer matches, I use the opportunity to conduct coaching of instructors and practical education for trainers. I also plan to expand into activities that can be applied in sports business research, such as collection and analysis of match data.

I believe that soccer, among all sports, has tremendous potential to appeal to students. Soccer is highly popular in Southeast Asia as well, and in countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia there is growing interest in studying soccer in Japan, a pioneer within Asia, as a way of increasing the focus on player and instructor development. In the future, the Faculty of Sports and Health Studies is surely to give thought to accepting international students as well.

On the other hand, compared to the mature soccer culture you find in other countries of Europe and North America, there are many areas that are yet to be researched here in Japan. This is why I hope to advance Japan’s soccer culture and expand the pool of people involved in soccer. I also anticipate that we’ll be able to propose ways to apply the findings of soccer research to the development of other sports as well.

Takahiro Inoue, Lecturer

Department of Sports and Health Studies, Faculty of Sports and Health Studies

Born 1977 in Kagoshima.

Graduated from the Department of International Economics, Faculty of Economics, Hosei University, and completed the Master’s program in Physical Education, Graduate School of Physical Education, Health and Sport Sciences at the University of Tsukuba. Joined Hosei’s Faculty of Sports and Health Studies as a Lecturer in 2010. Member of the Japanese Association for Sports Management and the Japanese Society of Science and Football.