Radio calisthenics

Refers to the popular warm-up gymnastics in mainland China, Taiwan and Japan.

In Japan, radio gymnastics is broadcast on music on NHK public radio early in the morning. Rajio Taisō was introduced in Japan in 1928 as a commemoration of the coronation of Emperor Hirohito. The idea for radio broadcasts came from the United States, where, in the 1920s, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. sponsored 15 minutes of radio gymnastics in major cities in the United States. Employees of the Japan Post Insurance Division brought samples of United States exercises to Japan. The exercises were widely used to improve the health of Japanese soldiers both at home and abroad during the 1930s and 1940s. The exercises were presented to several other Pacific nations including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Indonesia during the period of colonization of Japan. After the defeat of Japan in 1945, the occupying powers banned the broadcasts because they were too militaristic. After several rewrites to the exercise routine, it was reintroduced by NHK radio in 1951 with the support of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Japan Gymnastic Association and the Japan Recreation Association.

China also has such gymnastics. They have been mandatory since 2011. They were originally introduced by Mao Zedong in 1951, but the broadcasts are now run by the Sport China General Administration.

Taisō radio is still used in schools to warm up physical education classes, during sports activities, and by some companies to boost the group’s morale and sense of unity, to raise the level of energy and encourage health.

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