thecarnut.typepad.com > DANICA PATRICK WINS AT MOTEGI, JAPAN

Japanese Grandstands

Japanese Grandstands

Motegi, Japan

Japanese sports fans are known for their strong loyalty and their appreciation of the sports they support. In a country where the "national sport" is Sumo Wrestling, which was created almost 1,000 years ago (and whose idea was it, anyway? "Hey, let's find the two fattest guys in the country..."), motor racing of all kinds is definitely in the Top Ten Favorites list of that country. Being an island nation, boat racing of all sorts is naturally a favorite, and every form of motorcycle and auto racing are extremely popular and racing stars, Japanese or not, are well-known throughout the country. In fact, The Nippon Foundation, a private charity organization with headquarters in Tokyo, was founded by the late businessman, fascist and organized crime figure Ryoichi Sasakawa, once indicted for Class A war crimes. Despite its funding of many public health and welfare programs, the foundation has been criticized as an organization with right-wing, nationalist motives. What does this have to do with racing? In 1962, Sasakawa established the Japan Shipbuilding Industry Foundation, using funds from a gambling concession that he received from the early post-war Japanese government for "services rendered", whatever those services may have been; that post-war era remains a very dark and secretive one. This organization received a percentage of all proceeds (admissions, concession sales, and gambling) from the speed-boat racing business which Sasakawa controlled. The Foundation's mission was later expanded and it became known as The Sasakawa Foundation ... One of the wealthiest of all charities in Japan and in the world, and it was all based on money from boat race gambling. See, you never know what you'll learn here!

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