Sports Day (体育 の 日 -Taiiku no hi) is a National holiday. The Japanese take their Sports Day very seriously and often have weeks of practice for the events. Sports Day events start early with speeches from the government or people in leadership positions.
It has been celebrated since 1966, to commemorate the opening of the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo (which happened in October that year, to avoid the rainy season in July, in the country). The date promotes the practice of sports and a healthy lifestyle. For a long time, this date was celebrated on October 10, however from the year 2000.
On this day, most schools, neighborhoods and institutions from Japan take advantage of feriado to organize Undoukai the traditional sports competitions, the event is configured with a meeting of games and exercises.
Undoukai is a very fun activity, especially for children, but people from the neighborhood, parents and teachers also participate. Competitions are held in a kind of mini-Olympics, with athletics events such as 100 meter runs, obstacle course, relay, sack race, tug of war, etc.
In Japan, sports are considered as a healthy pastime that develops good discipline, builds character, encourages honest play, and promotes sportsmanship. Winning or losing the Japanese will cheer enthusiastically for the athlete who makes a sincere effort. At sporting events, competitors are often encouraged with shouts of Ganbate! (force).
Sumo is considered the national sport of Japan and is very popular and judo and karate became international sports. The government provides access to various sports for its inhabitants, including tennis, table tennis, volleyball, swimming and others. Thanks to the constant investment in gymnasium infrastructure, equipment and instructors, Japan has been achieving increasingly positive results at the Olympic Games.
Today, several Japanese athletes, especially soccer and baseball, have great international notoriety. Football in Japan began to grow with the arrival of Brazilian player Zico in the emerging local championship, the J-League, created in 1992. Being already the second most practiced sport in schools, it seeks to generate a soccer culture that guarantees its practice by the population. Since then, the clubs of the league have many foreign athletes, mainly Brazilians.
National holiday: June 24, Sports Day.