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Tuesday 21 July 2020

Celebrate Japanese Sports Day!

Celebrate Japanese Sports Day!

Stay Active this Summer: Play Japanese Games at Home

The Japan Society invites children and families to celebrate Sports Day, a Japanese national holiday, by playing typical Japanese sports day games this summer. Originally created to commemorate the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, the national holiday of ‘Sports Day’ normally falls in October. This year it was moved to July 24 to coincide with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games’ opening ceremony and honour the event’s return to Japan.

Although we will have to wait for the Olympics, we invite everyone to hold their own fun-filled Japanese sports day at home, in the park, or at the beach. In doing so, we hope to promote the values championed by Japanese sports days and show our support for Japan and the international sporting community.

We have created an At Home Edition of our Japanese Sports Day Pack to allow small groups to recreate a Japanese-style sports day with minimal equipment.


How to Take Part

  • We invite everyone to take part in our celebration of Japanese Sports Day by playing some typical Japanese Sports Day games over the summer.
  • Download the At Home Edition of the Japanese Sports Day Pack, choose some of the games, and head out to the garden or park.

  • Before the games begin, warm up with our Radio Taiso video. This three minute exercise is a classic Japanese warm up for Sports Day and works out all the muscles in the body.

  • Share a video clip or photo of your Sports Day on social media* using the hashtag #SportsDayJapan
Share your Japanese sports day with the hashtag #SportsDayJapan:
facebook link Twitter link Instagram link

*Check out these Share Aware tips from the NSPCC and think carefully before sharing anything online.


Japanese Sports Days

School sports days, called undōkai in Japanese, are popular events in the school calendar and the emphasis of the day is on group work and community spirit as much as individual attainment.

The whole school, including teaching staff, will usually be divided into either the Red or White team and students get to support and cheer for others who are not in their class or year group. They are also always scheduled on a weekend or national holiday so that family members can attend. 

Two games from the At Home Edition of the Japanese Sports Day Pack, Paper Toss and Late for School, can be seen in action in our YouTube videos.


For more information, please contact our Education Projects Coordinator Alys Turner.