The roots of Undokai
UNDOKAI, a sports festival in Japanese, has more than 150 years of history and started in the Meiji period as a cultural activity in many regions of Japan.
Today, over 70,000 Undokais are held each year, and the total number of participants exceeds 30 million nationwide.
Undokai is a part of the Japanese culture, and it’s one of the most popular annual events in schools, local communities, and even in companies.
However, we cannot ignore the fact that those sports-festivals partially need to be updated to catch up with the rapidly changing modern age. In fact, there are some unwilling participants due to the old fashioned contents of Undokais.
The Future Undokai Platform
The name of our project is the “Future Undokai ” and we strive to build a community of co-creation in which every participant has opportunities to share their ideas freely to create a new style of Undokai.
The “Future Undokai ” is for those who are willing to devote themselves to building their own future. The contents and colors of Undokai depend on the participants. Imagine sports festivals with people of different fields of studies and sports: advanced scientists, philosophers, or dancers among others. Such sports festivals vary by locations, communities, and seasons. By sharing unique technologies, techniques, and ideas with a variety of people, we can create tools and increase our knowledge that will benefit everyone.
This allows individuals to gain experience and become familiar with available resources, and it helps them to become a part of the process of generating ideas and implementing them.
The experience of creating something from almost-zero fosters the possibility to design their own futures.
The Covid-19 and our community.
Still, Undokai is possible.
2020. The whole world was affected by COVID-19.
In Japan, all sports events were cancelled due to the self-restraint request issued by the Japanese government. All Undokai events that were supposed to take place throughout Japan have also been cancelled. Using the internet, people began to seek out possible connections and sports activities while staying at home.
We immediately started to make an Online Undokai, the first attempt in the history of the event.
People have gathered online every day, continuing their creative Undokai games and ceremonies.
We invented many methods by devising not only digital technologies such as Zoom, p5.js and Miro, but also using our bodies and physical objects.
The photo shows the 5th future Undokai in Yamaguchi (May 3th-5th, 2020), which was a representative Online Undokai event.
Cultural co-creation cannot be stopped under any circumstances.
Online activity will be one of the options for the Future Undokai.
WATERSHED David Heylock
Kazuhiko Sawai Associate Professor, School of Commerce, Meiji University