Japan, Denmark and sports exchanges

I have been learning about a long history of sports exchanges between Japan and Denmark. 

1  Gymnastics exchanges; Grundtvig and its children

First of all, look at a perfect balance with straight back and legs in air!  This is the first Danish gymnasts who were invited to Japan by Tamagawa Gakuen Academy in 1931.
(Danish gymnastic performance at Tamagawa Gakuen Academy in 1931 photo: Tamagawa Gakuen Acadmey)

Next photo is Japanese elementary school students doing the famous Japanese radio gymnastics exercise programme. 
          (At an elementary school in Noboribetsu city of Japan in July 2019 photo: Muroran Minpo Media)

On 15 November, I met Mr. Uffe Strandby, CEO,  Gymnastic “højskole” of Ollerup during a film screening of “Grundtvig’s Japanese Warriors” in Faaborg city.  Folkehøjskole is a treasure of Danish education.  Indeed, from this “højskole” of Ollerup, the Danish gymnasts in the photo above came to Japan in 1931.  Later on, this Danish gymnastics was transformed into the famous Japanese radio gymnastics exercise, which almost every Japanese school student experiences at an early age.  I was one of them.  I was much encouraged by the Japanese young men who study at the Ollerup Gymnastics højskole, saying as follows;
“Japanese schools would find it useful to adopt some positive aspects of “folkehøjskole” such as huge respects for students’ own initiatives.  I would like to share what I will have learnt here with students at Japanese gymnastics school on my return to Japan.”
(photo: Mr. Stavnsager, Mayor of Faaborg (on the left) and many guests at the film screening)

Faaborg is the friendship city of Noboribetsu city, Hokkaido, Japan.  Mr. Hans Stavnsager, Mayor of Faaborg, who attended the film screening told me that he looked forward to further exchanges with the friendship city Noboribetsu.  How wonderful the two friendship cities are!  They are bridging our old and new friends through sports! 

2. Opening a new chapter – the handball players

Denmark is one of the world top handball countries.  Men’s team won the world championship of 2019 and women’s team is ranked number 6 in the world.