The National Sports Festival (Kokutai) was founded in 1946 to give hope and courage to people, especially the young, through sport. The first meet was held in the Keihanshin (Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe) region and ever since the event has been hosted by a different prefecture each year.
This is Japan’s biggest and most prestigious domestic sports festival. The Sports Festival is held with the goals of disseminating sporting activity widely, spreading the sporting spirit, improving the physical health and strength of the people, promoting regional sport, contributing to the development of local culture, and enriching the national lifestyle.
The Sports Festival has grown and developed and started its second circuit of all the prefectures of Japan in 1988 but has also had to adapt to new trends in the world of sport.
Seeking to spread new awareness of the meet’s significance and value, and make the event still more fulfilling for the athletes themselves, concepts for the future of the event were compiled in “The National Sports Festival in the 21st Century – Promoting the Kokutai Movement” (March, 2013). Work is now advancing actively in every field to give tangible shape to the concepts.
2020 Olympic Preparations at the National Sports Festival
With the awarding of the 2020 Olympic and
Paralympic Games to Tokyo in 2013, the
JSPO laid down its 2020 Olympic Policies
and Action Plan for the National Sports
Festival in June, 2014, based on “The
National Sports Festival in the 21st Century
– Promoting the Kokutai Movement”, to
work for the success of the games with the
focus on discovering, nur turing and
strengthening boy and girl athletes in each
The action plan consisted of selecting
Olympic events and disciplines not yet
included at the National Sports Festival for
inclusion as new official events and, with
the agreement of host prefectures, adding
them from the 71st Sports Festival. Seven
new disciplines in 7 events were added at
each of the 72nd and 73rd Sports Festival.
The National Sports Festival coordinates
with the Japan Anti-Doping Agency and
other bodies in implementing anti-doping
activities (doping tests and providing antidoping
education, information and other
awareness activities) to enhance health
management for athletes and the significance
and value of Japan’s biggest comprehensive
sports meet from the perspective
of Fair Play.