Rajio taisō were introduced to Japan in 1928 as a commemoration of the coronation of Emperor Hirohito. The idea for radio broadcast calisthenics came from the US, where during the 1920s the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. sponsored 15-minute radio calisthenics in major cities in the US. Visiting employees of the Japanese postal insurance division brought samples of the exercises from the US back 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 introduced to several other pacific nations, including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Indonesia during Japan's colonization period.
After several rewrites to the exercise routine, it was reintroduced by NHK radio in 1951 with the support of the education ministry, health ministry, the Japan Gymnastic Association and the Japan Recreation Association.
China also has such calisthenics. They have been mandatory since 2011. Originally they were introduced by Chairman Mao in 1951 but the broadcasts now are run by the General Administration of Sport China.
Radio taisō is still used at schools as a warm up for physical education classes, during sports day activities, and by some companies as a way of building morale and a sense of group unity, as well as to raise energy levels and encourage good health.
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