February 24, 2013

ラジオ体操の起源の体操:Long-Forgotten US Radio Calisthenics Still Active in Japan as Radio Taiso

If you ask me how to tell Japanese from other Asians, I'd list two things; tegatana (whenever we/they pass in front of other people, we/they make a gesture of bowing with tegatana) and radio taiso. 

When I jog, I do this radio taiso (radio calisthenics) on a hilltop overlooking San Francisco Bay.  It's an integral part of Japanese culture and literally everyone knows the set of movements.  Looking up a private jet passing over, I tell myself,  'whoever up there might be able to tell I'm Japanese.'  

So, it was really shock when my husband told me it originated from the US.
The first radio calisthenics program was sponsored by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in the United States in 1922. In the US, the program never got very popular and it faded out within a few years. However, it served as the inspiration for radio taiso in Japan. Like most Western ideas that make it big in Japan — it quickly took on a Japanese flavor. The first rajio taiso broadcast was part of the 1928 commemoration of the coronation of Emperor Hirohito. - Japan Talk
After WW2, the radio taiso broadcasts were banned by the occupying powers as being "too militaristic."  As Japan regained its independence in 1951, it was quickly revived.  Thus we still keep the US pre-war exercises in Japan for like 85 years...amazing hunnn...

Just for curiosity, I searched for the image of the original MetLife version and found it listed on eBay  for over 10 years (see above and below).  I ordered it for $4.90 to keep it as my family treasure.







Cosmopolitan Insurance Co. "Health Exercises"


UPDATE:  Just Arrived! 届いた!


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