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Add a bit of Japanese into your PE class

Japanese culture has always been a source of mystery and intrigue to western societies and is rich with interesting customs, geographical features and martial arts.  All useful content to embed within your PE classes.  And what better time to do it than the year of Tokyo 2020!

As many of you will be aware, children learn in different ways: visually, auditory, kinaesthetically and audio-digitally and most will be a combination of one or two of these.  So exploring classroom content in a more physical way will support those that need to move to learn.  Plus creating a more active learning environment is beneficial to all – it’s fun, creative and gets the blood flowing around the body (and brain).

All these suggestions tie in with the curriculum in numerous ways, reducing planning and delivery time!


Japan is situated on what is known as the ‘pacific ring of fire’ and has 108 active volcanoes.  There are frequent earthquakes and the majority of the land is forested, mountainous and uninhabitable. 

Ways to explore the geography of Japan include…

  • Develop a short dance phrase: exploding (jumping and leaping actions) and oozing (slower, rippling movements)
  • Create a duet where the dancers shake and then separate away from each other

Martial Arts

Martial Arts are extremely popular in Japan and Sumo is considered their national sport.  Aikido, Karate and Jujitsu are also widely practiced.  Japan is also the home of ancient warriors the Samurai.

These combative sports can all be explored through your PE class…

  • Practice a range of kicks with the legs – try out different ways to kick and choose different directions.
  • Practice a range of slicing and chopping actions with the arms – try out movements at different levels (high, medium and low).
  • Start at one side of the room, and travel all the way to the other whilst adding in at least one kick and one arm move from the practice.
  • Finish with a bow.

Visual Art

Japanese art is diverse and distinctive.  Even their writing could be considered a work of art, with their beautiful images for sounds and words.  Many artists express themselves through woodblock printing, and both manga and origami originate from Japan.

Why not create an active art class by adding in a bit of movement…

  • Use ribbons to create line and shape like Japanese calligraphy
  • Explore the famous woodblock print ‘The Great Wave of Kanagawa’ through movements that represent the sea rising then crashing down

These are just a few examples of how Japanese culture can be explored through movement whilst also incorporating curriculum subject areas.

Would you like support in developing active learning within your classroom?  Would you like a specialist to deliver dance in your school?  We can offer you an exciting one-day experience in either ‘Cultural Dance’ or ‘Japanese Culture’.

Invite us in to your school to bring your curriculum to life!

Contact us now on 07738042089 or email [email protected]


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