The Undokai 【運動会】 appeared in Japan around 1880, when it was stated in the constitution that family members should meet at schools annually in order to get together. Undokai is a compound word: "undô" means sport and movement, and "kai" is a meeting in Japanese. However, the best translation for Undokai is a family sports gymkhana.
Undokai is an informal event that takes place on a weekend where country and children get together at school. Organized by the school or by local communities, the activities are primarily aimed at children, who can play and interact with other children, with their own families and with the community.
Undokais are usually held in the fall. Months of September, October and November. In some schools, the Undokai is held in May, taking advantage of the beginning of classes in April, for greater integration of students and teachers. The most interesting thing is that the calendars are very well organized, so that parents can participate in all Undokais, regardless of the grade their children are attending.
The Undokai lasts for a whole day, colorful flags are extended all over the field and several competitions take place at the same time. Each family takes their lunch and some schools usually have a place to have a good picnic. The countries usually make their obentos, onigiri, some delicacies and several other snacks.
Undokai Event Games
There are countless games and competitions, all diversified. No football, volleyball, baseball and usual sports. Some schools usually have another date to hold competitions and championships with sports and school clubs. In Undokai we have very different sports and some simple ones to interact with the whole family.
Acrobatics – School classes usually perform acrobatics. They usually make the human pyramid.
Oodama (Big Ball) – In this particular game children play in 2 ways, they try to pass the giant ball over the students. Others usually go pushing the giant ball like crazy …
Samurai fight – A game where 3 students serve as a horse (support) and the student who sits on top of the 3 students has to take the opponent's hat or bandana.
Bands – A group of students make up their band, and spend the event marching and playing their traditional instruments.
Dances – There are also dance exhibitions and other cultural activities to entertain the crowd. One of them is the famous Radio taiso, which is a standardized fitness program.
Basket ball – There are 2 ways to play this game. One way is that there is a huge basket, and students should try to fill their basket using small beanbags. The other, the teacher has the basket on his back, and the students have to run after him to fill the basket.
It is worth remembering the sports already known, such as running, relay race, tug of war, three-legged race, and many other games and activities between country and children.
Remember that there is no age limit for these events. Even the adult community can organize similar events for the entire community.
Nothing better than closing our article, with great videos for you to get to know Undokai. Below is the video of Velberan:
Undokai performed among adult students. Channel my common day (JNDCD):
Video showing Thalita Matsura's Undokai:
- Photos by: Steven Duncan
- Credits: nikkeypedia e duncansensei