Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education
SPICE Publications

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Japanese Radio Exercises

Full Unit

1977, 1996 (16 pages)

For Middle School - Secondary students.

Softcover - $19.95
includes Videotape

Japanese radio exercises became popular just after World War II in Japan. Defeat in World War II was particularly devastating for Japan. Japan experienced psychological disillusionment, loss of prestige, and general confusion, facing problems like lack of housing, sanitation problems, and lack of food. Therefore, after World War II there was a period of reconstruction, during which energy was focused on the educational, physical, and structural reconstructing of Japan. Morale needed to be raised among the Japanese people. Japanese radio exercises were designed to play a role in this purpose.

These exercises reflect the general role of exercise in Japanese culture- to serve as a symbol of unity and cooperation among Japanese, as well as to raise energy levels and encourage good health among the people.

Japanese radio exercises are especially popular among students and workers in companies. Physical development is integral to the curriculum in elementary and secondary schools. Most often the entire school practices these exercises during the morning before classes begin. Attendance is taken, so students are required to attend these sessions. The purpose of these exercises is not to encourage students to become athletes but to push themselves and develop unity with their classmates.

Unit Goals


  • to introduce students to a form of exercise in Japan known as "Japanese Radio Exercises"
  • to understand the cultural and historical context in which these exercises developed
  • to learn how to count from one to ten in Japanese


  • to foster a positive attitude toward exercise and physical fitness


  • to develop muscle toning and flexibility