Sports festival in Japanese school life!

日本の学校(がっこう)生活: Japanese School Life

Japanese article is here;

Hello, this is MIKA!

Autumn is the season of sports, isn’t it? Recently we have cool days, it’s the best season for sports!

Anyway, in autumn or early summer, the sports festival called “Undou(exercise)-kai(convention)” in an kindergarten, a nursery school and an elementary school or “Taiiku(P.E.)-sai(festival)” in a junior-high school and a high-school is held in Japan.

The aim of “Undou-kai” is to enjoy the competitions, and in the case of “Taiiku-sai”, the aim is to show the results of club activities’ practice and regular P.E. class.

However, they compete their score by playing very unique competitions, not normaly ball games and apparatus gymnastics like an Olympics even it’s a festival of sports!

At first, I’ll tell you about the history of “Undou-kai” and “Taiiku-sai”.

The history of Japanese sports festival

The beginning of Japanese sports festival dates back to Meiji-era(1868~1912).

In 1874, Archibald Lucius Douglas, who was the advisor of Japanese Navy came from UK suggested the holding of “The event of sports competition” in the dormitory of seamen; it was the beginning of the history.

In those days, most of Japanese education was desk studies, and the items of P.E. was only martial arts and a horsemanship; that was the reason why he suggested it.

The person who were interested in that event was Mr. Arinori Mori, the first Minister of Education. And he required the holding of “The event of sports competition” to all of schools in Japan. However, it was for the education of a war rather than a health for students.

But after WW2, the competitions to practice as a soldier were deleted; Japanese sport festivals have been held as the event to make happy memories for students.

The present state of Japanese sports festival

At a sport festival, students are separated mainly two teams. One is a red team and other is a white team; it’s an usual, but in the case of the school which has many classes, a team of blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple and others are added.

The students of the red team take a red headband or a red cap.

All nations’ flags are decolated on the ground, students and their parents are staying around the ground to cheer their own team.

The items of Japanese sports festival

Then, finally I’ll show you the very unique competitions!

An obstacle race

Of course the normaly short-distance race and relay are also held, however, they try “An obstacle race which has some obstructions such like a hurdle and a tunnel.

The movie is here↓


A tug‐of‐war

“A tug‐of‐war” is the competition that each teams take a both end of a rope and pull each other. The center of a rope is comming to their area, it means they are a winner.

The movie is here↓

A tama-ire

“A tama(small ball)-ire(putting in)” is the game that students throw up small balls made by a cloth to put them into the basket as many as possible. Naturally the team which could put more balls than other team is a winner.

An oodama-korogashi

“An oodama(big ball)-korogashi(rolling)” is the game to roll a big ball and compete a time.

The movie is here↓

A ninin-sankyaku

“A ninin(two persons)-sankyaku(three legs)” is the race that two persons who are connected one’s right leg and other’s left leg are running. The point is to match each rhythms and not to fall down.

A centipede race

“A cenpitade race” is the game that all of legs of the teams are connected by a rope and run seems like a cenpitade. Also they have to match each rhythms and not to fall down.

A bread taking race

“A bread taking race” is the competition to take a bread which is hanging down on the way, but do not to use a hand, just jump and take it by holding in one’s mouth.

A gymnastic formation

“A gymnastic formation” is the competition that over two person’s team try to many kinds of pose. Especially the pose of “The pyramid” is very powerful!!

A kiba-sen

“A kiba(horse‐riding)-sen(battle)” is the game that tree students lift their leader and each leaders try to take away their cap or headband.

Because “Kiba” means a horse-riding, this game imitates a battle of Samurai on a horse.

There are two patterns; one is that all of the teams start all together, other is that just one-to-one.

A battle of cheering

Finally, I’ll tell you “A battle of cheering”.

It’s a dance performance to cheer each teams.

They can think about the direction freely, but there is the popular style that one is waving a flag of their team’s color, and others are dansing with a rhythms of Japanese drum.

Final comment

How was it?

You want to join because there are so many unique competitions, don’t you?

If you’re still a student, you have a chance to experience. Although you’re already an adult, there is a possibility to join with your child who goes to Japanese kindergarten, nursery school, or elementary school!

Even if you don’t join together, please make a bento which has foods that your child like so much!

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