Sports Day in Japan: Everyone’s Big Day to Shine!
In Japan, autumn is a season for reading, eating, and sports! Which is why Undoukai is usually held around this time of the year (there are some exceptions which are held during spring). Undoukai is a Japanese term for sports day or field day. On this day, students are divided into two teams: red and white (some schools have more teams), and compete for a better score. What’s so significant about Undoukai is that each game is unique and the unity power seen through them is spectacular. Let me introduce you some of the sporting events you can see at Undoukai!
Tama-Ire (Beanbag Toss)
You throw small beanbags into a basket which is placed on top of a high pole. Whichever team that has more bags in the basket wins. I think this is what many people picture when they think of Undoukai.
Kiba-Sen (A Mock Cavalry Battle)
During a battle, a general is usually fighting on top of a horse, and this even is basically the same except the general is riding on a few students. The “general” fight to get other team’s generals’ caps, and the team which got more wins. When I first saw this sport, I thought it was very aggressive for elementary school kids to do.
Kumi-Taisou (Group Gymnastics)
Through this event, you can see the “power of unity” between the students. Before performing this in Undoukai, the students practice many times to form the perfect human pyramid. They form it by getting together and standing on each other’s shoulders as they hold hands with each other to keep the balance. Human Pyramid seems to be the most difficult one, but there are more different forms. If one falls, then the whole thing will collapse. Great effort and teamwork is required in order to succeed.
In many countries, a sports day is only one day, but in Japan, it takes several weeks to prepare and practice. The teachers have to be punctual about the time to stick to the program, and students are instructed to move before their turn comes. There are even a world cup for Undoukai! Anyone is welcomed to join in, so why don’t you join and conquer the Undoukai! For more information, visit: http://www.undokaiwc.com/ .
Undoukai is such a popular event that idols also love it! iDOL Street Autumn’s Big Sports Festival was held as well as Tokyo Idols Sports Festival which is going to be held on October 9th. Idols including Nemu Yumemi and Ayane Fujisaki from Dempagumi.inc will be there. You can join this event as an athlete, photographer or fan. Visit http://undoukai.dearstage.com/ for more information!
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