China – Birthplace of Football (Cuju)



The Cuju (the prototype of contemporary football) is a sport of ancient Chinese. It is considered to be the origin of the modern football.


Here’s an interesting bit of news to generate more heat to the feverish 2014

World Cup that is being played in Brazil.

The game of football (soccer) is recognized as the most popular sport in the world but few may know that it is one of the oldest games as well.In ancient China,the game was known as “Cuju”.

Cuju first appeared in the renowned ancient Chinese historical work Zhan Guo Ce (“Strategies of the Warring States”) compiled which described cuju as a form of entertainment among the general public.

. In the classic novel Water Margin, there are several paragraphs describing the emperor playing Cuju with officers of the court.

Later, cuju was commonly played in the army for military training purposes, during the Han Dynasty.

However, it was England that transitioned soccer, or what the British and many other people around the world call “football,” into the game we know today. The English are credited with recording the first uniform rules for the sport, including forbidding tripping opponents and touching the ball with hands.


An artifact from ancient China describes a kid playing cuju, kept at the Linzi Football Museum, Shangdong province.[Photo/IC]

Records of the game begin during the Tsin Dynasty (255-206BC) and represent a game in which soldiers competed in a training activity featuring a leather ball being kicked into a net strung between two poles. The main difference between Cuju and soccer was the height of the goal, which hung about 30 feet from the floor.

Everything began in Linzi, the capital of the Qi State during the Chun and Qiu Periods. The Cuju experienced a tremendous increase during the Han dynasty.

Cuju became very popular during the Tang and Sungdynasties. Fresco drawing a game of Cuju horse (playing Cuju on the horses), shows a scene of noble playing Cuju on horseback. The Cuju has greatly developed during the Sung dynasty.

The Cuju greatly influenced the modern football. During the Tang Dynasty, the Cuju was extended to Japan, Korea, and Western Europe, and turned into football in Britain.

On July 15, 2004, Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, at the Third International Exhibition of Chinese Football, formally announced to the world that football originated in Zibo, Shandong province, China. But not many know that the sport was originally called “cuju” in ancient China.

As a way of national culture protection, cuju was listed into the first batch of China’s intangible cultural heritages in 2006.


China’s Rich Cultural Heritage

By P Chong                                                                                                       1 March 2011

China’s 56 Ethnic Minorities

Multiculturalism as practised in China is unique & unprecedented. It reflects diversity in unity & unity in diversity. It means on one hand the pride of conservation & presentation and on the other acceptance & respect by one & all.

In the atmosphere of peace & harmonious living, the minority groups are separate and yet integrated. As a matter of fact, with their fluency in Mandarin, the national language of China, any visitor would say that they are well assimilated and fully integrated in the society mainstream.

China’s ancient operas, performing arts, and other cultural legacies now have legal protections. The top legislature, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, passed a new law on Friday 25 February 2011 to protect the country’s intangible cultural heritage.

China's Ethnic Minorities

Sun Anmin, member of NPC Standing Committee, said, “China’s thriving culture industry in the past few decades is in a large part owed to the increased tapping of intangible cultural heritage. As such, I believe it is important to emphasize rational exploitation, and protection. So we can have both effective use and protection at the same time.”

With an ancient history and diverse culture, China has a wealth of intangible cultural heritage. Just what new forms they will take and how they will develop are in the hands who love them – both Chinese and foreigners. Xie Zheng, CCTV reporter, said, “The passage of the new law is a milestone in China’s protection of its intangible cultural heritage. After all, a people without heritage fails its cultural identity, and the world without cultural diversity will be one that is too dull.”

Distribution of the Ethnic Minorities

China is a big and united family made up of 56 ethnic groups. Geographically speaking, they are distributed in different parts of China with the resulting difficulty of experiencing each ethnic group‘s architecture, their festivals and tasting their snacks during one of your visits.

Bai Minority

But the China Folk Cultural Village, lying at the Overseas Chinese Town, Shenzhen, will help solve this problem. It is the first spot in China where you can learn of the folk cultures of China. More than 200,000 square meters have

Miao Artist Song Zuying

Dai or Tai Minority

been made available to accommodate 24 peculiar cottages making up the cultural village to welcome visitors & tourists.

In the village, you will see the distinctive architecture of ethnic groups and can join in their brilliant festivals. Buying handicrafts or tasting local snacks is another way to experience the China Folk Culture Village.

Officially recognized, the following are the most numerous of the ethnic groups in mainland China:

  1. Han 漢族 1,230,117,207
  2. Zhuang 壯族 16,178,811
  3. Man 滿族 10,682,263
  4. Hui 回族 9,816,802
  5. Miao 苗族 8,940,116
  6. Uyghur 維吾爾族 8,399,393
  7. Tujia 土家族 8,028,133
  8. Yi 彝族 7,762,286
  9. Mongo 蒙古族 5,813,947
  1. Zang 藏族 5t,416,021 Source: Wikipedia (This page was last modified on 16 February 2011 at 07:40).

In our tour of Yunnan, we had the chance of meeting the Naxi 納西族 (308,839) and also the Bai 白族 (1,858,063). Many of the Naxi girls that we met are largely involved in driving taxis or running food stalls. Many are pretty but are conscious of their dark complexion. They speak perfect Mandarin and one that we met in the silk embroidery factory even has a college education and speaks good English.

The Naxi Ethnic Minority

Foreigners would love to marry these Naxis, for by tradition, they are the ones who work while the men are privileged to play. All responsibilities of life fall strictly upon the women. Naxi men are known to play & sing all day, drink, smoke & make merry . . . as though there’s no tomorrow!

Naxi women are traditionally forbidden to marry outside their cultural group. Modern educated Naxi girls however would rebel and much prefer to marry a Han man any time.

Miao MinorityTibetan Ethnic Minority