Japan’s Sports Day

We’ve lived in Japan since 2014 and have had kids in the Japanese school system ever since. There are certain things that define the Japanese school system (lots of study, clubs, kanji and school lunches to name a few), but of all those things the Sports Day is certainly on the list.

Sports day has taken different forms over the years, especially effected by corona and the subsequent steps taken to continue the sports days, like only having one class at a time compete. Another thing that was done was to limit the parents who came — sometimes to one parent per child or even only the parents of the oldest kids! Fortunately this year things are getting more back to normal, which means we were able to see all of our kids compete in two different sports days.

While we’ve been to many sports days, this was the first junior-high sports day to witness. Many things are similar, and yet so many things were leveled up. Months of preparation goes into any sports day, including tryouts for some of the special track events. While everyone participates in the sports day, not everyone competes in the same events (as seen in the videos). But points are scored and the competition is fierce!

Joshua and Sarah’s sports day took the auspicious title not of sports day but of olympics and the whole school was divided equally into two teams, white and red. Olympics was a great new title for it, as the sports day is full of pageantry, competition, dances and so much more. Like commentators from their booth, we could watch the whole sports day take place from our nearby apartment. Not only that, but this was cousin Izzy’s first sports day in elementary school.

A question we often receive is “How does sports day compare to sports days in America?” Since Ruth grew up in Brazil, and I grew up in a small private school (home school!), neither one of us know. So what do you think? If you’ve done sports days in America, are they similar?

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