Japan Racing Association (JRA)

History of Racing

The history of racing in Japan can be traced to the beginning of the Eighth Century. Originally held as a religious ceremony for the Imperial Court, this style of horse racing flourished and was propagated about the country, to the point where it appeared at nearly all of the major shrines and temples.

These events between the samurai of that time, attracted countless fans among the commoners and began to frequently appear in the historical journals and literature of that era. Every succeeding year to the present, this style of horse racing, now open to the public, is held each May at the Kamikamo Shrine in Kyoto. Its style and tradition have remained nearly intact since the 11th Century, lasting through the aristocratic and feudal eras of Japan, for more than 800 years, from Japan's middle ages to the present.

Then, at a time when Japan was moving from the feudal system into the year of the Meiji Restoration, circa 1861, the foreign residents living in the area of present day Yokohama, predominantly English, introduced the first western styled horse racing to Japan with the formation of the "Yokohama Race Club."

This new style of horse racing was held extraterritorially, and unfortunately, very little is known or recorded about that initial era in Japan's modern horse racing history. It is known that at about the same time that the name of the capital was changed from Edo to Tokyo, Western styled horse racing began to appear in the major metropolitan areas across the country.

Then, in 1906, the government embarked on a policy, referred to as the "Era of the Tacitly Approved Sale of Betting Tickets", which saw the introduction of modern horse racing featuring the sale of betting tickets, in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, and other metropolitan areas, the operations of which, for the largest percentage, were profitable.

However, this was extremely short lived, as in two years, the government prohibited the sale of betting tickets and instituted a system of the payment of direct subsidies for prize monies and other horse racing expenses.

During this era, prominent legislators, businessmen, as well as breeders, began efforts to reverse this law. The government concluded that Japan had already improved sufficiently to allow for the legalisation of betting. 1923 was then to see the enactment of the horse racing legislation which resulted in the formation of 11 horse racing clubs. This produced the reinstatement of the operation of horse racing accompanied by the legal sale of betting tickets. Shortly after this, the Imperial Racing Society was established as a centralised organisation between the 11 horse racing clubs for the operation of horse racing and was responsible for establishing the original rules of racing, which was to serve as a model for the rules of the individual horse racing clubs.

This society provided for the registration of racing colours, the training of trainers, the licensing of jockeys, among its other horse racing functions.

The Horseracing Law was to see a major revision in 1936, which saw the formation of the Japan Racing Society, which legally usurped the 11 racing clubs and the Imperial Racing Society in their entirety, to include their facilities and horse racing functions.

This period can be considered the actual birth date in the development of modern horse racing in Japan as it exists today.

However, during the latter days of the Pacific War, the racecourses were to cease operation, and the most historic of the modern racecourses, Yokohama, was to be commandeered by the government for military use. Horse racing in Japan had ground to a halt.

The cessation of hostilities saw an immediate resumption of horse racing, when in 1946, Tokyo and Kyoto began holding race meetings. Also, 1947 brought with it, the implementation of a new type of betting, the quinella system, for the first time in Japan. Then in 1948, the Horseracing Law was rewritten, whereby the Japan Racing Society was abolished and under the new law and the system it established, the operation of horse racing was totally entrusted to the government (the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry), to be operated as "Government Horse Racing". Although horse racing was to be conducted much the same as before, there was no increase in proceeds, which was to continue through this extremely difficult period. Then, in 1954, the Horseracing Law was revised to enact the Japan Racing Association Law. This established the Japan Racing Association, or as it is now known, the JRA, which absorbed all of the horse racing functions and operations of "Government Horse Racing". The law not only provided for the so-called national racing in Japan, but also provided for the legalisation and operation of regional Public Racing as a separate system to that of national racing.

Postal Address: 11-1, Roppongi 6-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8401, TOKYO, JAPAN

Tel: (81)3-5785-7373 Fax:(81)3-5785-7376

President & CEO: Mr Masayuki Goto

Executive Vice President: Mr Kazuyoshi Honkawa

Executive Directors: Mr Yasuo Kidokoro / Mr Masayuki Yamashita


Mr Kazuto Kimura Mr Masayoshi Yoshida Mr Ichiro Yoshizaki Mr Shoji Fukuda
Dr Sadao Yokota Mr Masahiro Usuda Dr Yoshiharu Ueno

(JRA International Department) -

General Manager: Mr Shuji Kashiwada

Contact for Overseas Liaison / Information:

London Representative Office: 4th Floor, 11 Argyll Street, London W1F 7TH, UNITED KINGDOM, TEL:+44-20-7437-5053, FAX:+44-20-7734-1984, Email:jralon@jrauk.com;

New York Representative Office: 300 Main Street, Suite 401, Stamford, CT 06901, U.S.A., TEL:+1-203-973-0661, FAX:+1-203-973-0665, Email:info@nyjra.com;

Paris Representative Office: 46 Place Abel Gance 92100 Boulogne Cedex, FRANCE, TEL:+33-1-49-10-22-61, Email:contact@jraparis.com;

Sydney Representative Office: Suite 24, Level 26, 44 Market Street, Sydney NSW 2000 AUSTRALIA, TEL:+61-2-9089-8884, FAX:+61-2-9089-8849, Email:sydneyoffice@jraaus.com;

Hong Kong Representative Office: 1705, Prosperity Millennia Plaza, 663 King‘s Road, North Point, Hong Kong, TEL:+852-2840-1566, FAX:+852-2840-1397, Email:racing@jra.com.hk

Principal JRA Racecourses:

Tokyo Racecourse, 1-1 Hiyoshi-cho Fuchu-shi, Tokyo 183-0024, Tel: (81)423-63-3141, Fax: (81)423-40-7070;

Nakayama Racecourse, 1-1-1 Kosaku Funabashi-shi, Chiba 273-0037, Tel: (81)473-34-2222, Fax: (81)473-32-3327;

Kyoto Racecourse, 32 Yoshijima Watashibashima -machi, Fushimi-Ku, Kyoto 612-8265, Tel (81)75-631-3131, Fax: (81)75-633-2009;

Hanshin Racecourse, 1-1 Komano-cho Takarazuka-shi, Hyogo 665-0053, Tel: (81)798-51-7151, Fax: (81)798-57-2000;

Chukyo Racecourse, 1225 Shikita Magome-cho, Toyoake-shi, Aichi 470-1132, Tel (81)52-623-2001, Fax:(81)52-629-1020

Other JRA Racecourses: Sapporo RC, Hakodate RC, Fukushima RC, Niigata RC, Kokura RC

Statistical: 1 January to 31 December 2006

Racing Season:1 January to 31 December 2006
Number of Racecourses 10
Number of Fixtures Flat / Jumping 288 days
Number of Races Flat 3,320
Jumping 133
Number of Runners Flat 47,193
Jumping 1,789
Number of Horses in Training 4,161 (within JRA facilities)
Number of Trainers 226 (as of 1 March 2007)
Number of Jockeys 166 (as of 1 March 2007)
Number of Owners 2,360 (inclusive of 352 corporate owners, as of 1 January 2007)

Principal Races: (2006)

NameDistanceApproxDatePrize Money(¢D)Racecourse
1.Japan Cup 2400 26 Nov 476,000,000 Tokyo
2.Takarazuka Kinen 2200 25 Jun 251,200,000 (Hanshin *)
3.Yasuda Kinen 1600 4 Jun 190,000,000 Tokyo
4.Mile Championship 1600 19 Nov 190,000,000 Kyoto
5.Sprinters Stakes 1200 1 Oct 180,500,000 Nakayama
6.QEII Commemorative Cup 2400 12 Nov 172,000,000 Kyoto
(* The race was held at the Kyoto Racecourse in 2006 due to the renovation of the Hanshin-track.)
Financial: 1 January to 31 December 2006

Total Prizemoney (Local Currency - Yen)

¢D68,029,400,000 - Provided by Racing Authorities

¢D821,931,000 - Provided by Owners in Entry Fees

Average Prizemoney Per Race (Total) ¢D19,701,500

Average Prizemoney Per Race (Flat) 1 ¢D19,482,800

Average Prizemoney Per Race (Jumping) ¢D25,160,100

Exchange Rate to US$: US$1 = ¢D120

Betting Totalizator Yes Off Course Yes
Bookmakers No Off Course No
Total Betting Turnover / Year ¢D2,823,309,442,000 (2006)

On Course ¢D148,851,363,700

Off Course ¢D2,674,458,078,300

Principal Bet Types Trifecta, Trio, Horse Number Quinella, Bracket Number Quinella, Win, Place-show

Betting Deductions Govt Tax (%): 10% of gross wagering plus 50% of any surplus profit

Retained by Authority (%): about 15%

Report on Racing Activities

The JRA holds 288 days of racing in the calendar year, covering a total of 3,450 races. The JRA was affected by the severe financial crisis striking Japan in 1998, and experienced a decrease in both the total on-course attendance and total gross turnover. The total on-course attendance was 94.1% of the previous year and the gross turnover was 95% of the previous year.

History of Racing

All racing in Japan is conducted on the basis of a single Horse Racing Law. As you'll see, however, the sport is divided into two basic forms.

The first type of racing in Japan is organised by the Japan Racing Association (JRA), with which you are all familiar. The second type is organised by local governments on the prefectural and municipal level.

JRA racing provides revenue to the national treasury, while local government racing provides revenue to certain designated local governments.

JRA racing takes place at 10 racecourses throughout Japan, of which more than half are located in large metropolitan areas. The JRA acts as both the organiser and the authority for this type of racing.

In the case of local government racing, on the other hand, there are 16 local governments that hold races independently at 20 racecourses throughout Japan. Each government organizes its own races. Races range from large events sponsored by local governments in large metropolitan areas to more modest events sponsored by smaller city governments.

The NAR is the authority for local government racing.

The NAR was established on the basis of the Horse Racing law in 1962. It is a semi-governmental body that supports its operations through the receipt of 1.2% of the racing turnover of local governments. The NAR's duties include registering racehorses and owners, issuing licenses to trainers and jockeys, and conducting activities that are more efficiently performed centrally rather than by the individual local governments. We also ensure fairness by dispatching stewards and starters to the racecourse whenever a race is held, and we train about 40 jockeys a year. In addition, we provide advice to local governments concerning promotional activities and any problems they encounter when sponsoring races. Recently, we have had more opportunities to provide assistance in these ways.

Name of Racing Authority: The National Association of Racing (NAR)

Postal Address: 2-2-1, Azabudai Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8639, Japan

Tel: (81)3-3583-6841 Fax: (81)3-3585-0481

E-mail: intl@nar.keiba.go.jp

President: Eiji Yamada

Executive Director: Takafumi Nobukuni

Directors: Munetoshi Nishioka / Toshinori Amemiya

Auditors: Motokuni Ishikawa / Katsumi Nishi

Contact for Overseas Liaison / Information: Kichiro Tanaka (Technical Adviser)

Racecourse and Prominent Organizers (Local Governments):

Urawa Racecourse (Saitama Prefecture): 1-8-42, Oyaba Urawa, Saitama 336-0016

Funabashi Racecourse (Chiba Prefecture): 1-2-1, Wakamatsu Funabashi, Chiba 273-0013

Ohi Racecourse (Tokyo Metropolitan Racing Association): 2-1-2, Katsushima Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 140-0012

Kawasaki Racecourse (Kanagawa Prefecture): 1-5-1, Fujimi Kawasaki-ku, Kanagawa 210-0011

Statistical: 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007(for Flat Races)

Racing Season: 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007
Number of Racecourses 18
Number of Fixtures 1,349
Number of Races 14,444
Number of Runners 140,664
Number of Horses in Training 13,712 (as of 31 March 2007)
Number of Trainers 548 (as of 31 March 2007)
Number of Jockeys 346 (as of 31 March 2007)
Number of Owners 5,964 (incl. Corporate owners 395, as of 31 March 2007)

Principal Races:

1.JBC Classic 2100 2 Nov 170,000,000 (Kawasaki*)
2.JBC Mile 1600 3 Nov 136,000,000 (Kawasaki*)
3.Tokyo Daishoten 2000 29 Dec 136,000,000 Ohi
4.Teio Sho 2000 28 Jun 119,000,000 Ohi
5.Kawasaki Kinen 2100 25 Jan 102,000,000 Kawasaki
6.Kashiwa Kinen 1600 5 May 102,000,000 Funabashi
(* The JBC races are held at different racecourses. In 2006 they were held at Kawasaki.)


Total Prizemoney (Flat) (Local Currency) ¢D17,450,751,000

Average Prizemoney Per Race (Flat) ¢D1,208,166

Exchange Rate to US$: US$1 = ¢D120

Betting Totalizator Yes Off Course Yes
Bookmakers No Off Course No
Total Betting Turnover / Year ¢D361,517,332,400 (for Flat Races)

On Course ¢D108,787,078,500

Off Course ¢D252,730,253,900

Principal Bet Types Win, Place-show, Horse Number Quinella, Bracket Number Quinella, Horse Number Exacta, Bracket Number Exacta

Betting Deductions Total approx. 25%

Report on Racing Activities

Japanese horse racing includes turf races and dirt races. The JRA itself determines how turf races are graded. Local governments, on the other hand, are the main organisers of dirt races, which until recently have not been graded. In 1997, a new type of unified system of graded dirt races was introduced. Local governments hold 38 races under this system, and the JRA holds 12. These are exchange races in which horses registered with either organisation can enter. They are also registered with the International Cataloguing Standards.

A second example is found in the initiation and expansion of long-distance betting-ticket sales among different racecourses. Until recently, local governments did not attempt to sell betting tickets outside of their immediate areas. With the establishment of graded dirt racing in 1997, however, and the entry of famous horses registered with both the JRA and the NAR, telephone betting began to expand and long-distance marketing of betting tickets began to grow. The next issue that must be addressed in this regard is finding ways to distribute information concerning races to fans outside the immediate area. Initial efforts are already being made to use the Internet and satellite broadcasting to disseminate information more broadly.

The third example is the growing number of exchange races between local governments and the JRA.

In addition to the graded dirt, there are exchange races for lower class horses. In 2006, a total of 250 races were held at local government racecourses while 567 exchange races were held at JRA meetings.

Japan Association for International Racing and Stud Book (JAIRS)

Name of Racing Authority: The Japan Association for Int'l Horse Racing (JAIR)

Postal Address: JRA Shimbashi Bunkan Bldg., 4-5-4 Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 105-0004 Japan

Tel: (81)3-3434-5002 Fax: (81)3-3432-4668

E-mail: racing-info@jairs.jp Web Site: http://www.jairs.jp/

President & CEO: Dr Makoto Inoue

Executive Director: Mr Toru Sugimoto

Directors: Mr Masafumi Iwamoto / Mr Yasuhiko Kawasaki


Total number of stud farms 1,276 (2006 season)

Total number of stallions Th. 292 Ar. 13 (2006 season)

Total number of mares 12,410 (2005 season)

Total number of thoroughbred births / year 7,655 (2006 season)

Report on Racing Activities

In Japan, as in many other parts of the world, horse racing has gained many supporters and amazing popularity in recent years. There is a growing demand among racing people for greater communication and increased mutual understanding with other countries.

In accordance, the Japan Association for International Horse Racing was established in 1993 with funds mainly raised by the Japan Racing Association to promote international exchange activities in horse racing.

Various activities of the Japan Association for International Horse Racing:

Accepting guests and trainees from abroad

Facilitating study programs for Japanese racing connections

Preparing for participation in international racing conferences

Providing language programs for breeders and stables

Co-operating in international invitation races

Supporting Japanese horses and jockeys to race abroad

Publishing a weekly news digest of racing abroad

Sending abroad the results of graded races in Japan and a bimonthly bulletin of racing in Japan

Providing information on the Japanese breeding industry

Secretariate of Japanese Committeeman for ARF Executive Council and of the Japanese Delegation for ARF.