12 Days of Japanese Festivities – Day 9: Taiiku no Hi

(Due to some technical difficulties, we are posting this blog a little late)


In Part 9 of this series, our Account Rep. Naomi shares information about Taiiku no Hi…  


Taiiku no Hi, or Health & Sports Day, is a nationally recognized holiday.  It was established in 1966, two years after the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.  On this day, the nation recognizes the importance of sports and maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.1  Originally observed on October 10 (Opening Ceremony day of the Summer Olympic Games), it was moved to the second Monday of October according to Japan’s Happy Monday System (shifting national holidays to Mondays for a three-day weekend) in 2000.2

Interestingly, the 1964 “Summer Games” was held from October 10 through October 24.2  The primary reason for this shift of schedule, was the weather in Tokyo.  In the summer months, Tokyo is rainy, hot and humid, which are not ideal conditions for competing Olympic athletes.  Spring weather tends to be unstable and early fall is the peak season for typhoons.  Therefore, the Olympic organizers decided to hold the games in mid-October, which is unusually late for the Summer Games.  This decision was affirmed when the Olympic Ceremonies were staged under a brilliant, clear sky.2  Thus, following the mid-October scheduling of the Summer Games, Taiiku no Hi is generally a day of good weather.

Most communities and schools across Japan celebrate Sports Day with events which may be described as a “mini Olympics”.1  Each community has its own take on this holiday, so the sporting events vary from community to community.  Activities may include track & field events with relay races, sprints and jumping.  There are also “fun” events which may include a ball toss, tug-o-war, sack races, obstacle courses, etc.  The possibilities for activities and games are endless.3


Information Sources:

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiiku_no_hi

2 http://web-japan.org/kidsweb/explore/calendar/october/sports.html

3 http://www.sse-franchise.com/soapbox/200810/12/what-is-sports-day/