Radio calisthenics (ラジオ体操, rajio taisō, literally, "radio exercises") are warm-up calisthenics performed to music and guidance from radio broadcasts. They are popular in Japan and parts of China and Taiwan.
In Japan, radio calisthenics are broadcast to music on public NHK radio early in the morning. 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 Japan's defeat in 1945, the broadcasts were banned by the occupying powers for being too militaristic in nature.
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.
Radio taisō is still used at schools as a warm up for physical education classes and during sports day activities. It is also implemented 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.
China also has such calisthenics. They have been mandatory in some regions since 2010. Originally they were introduced by Mao Zedong in 1951 but the broadcasts are now run by the General Administration of Sport of China.
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