Bringing the Joy of Sport to Every Possible Child
The system of junior spor t clubs was founded in 1962 with the aims of bringing the joys of sport to every possible child and establishing systems in local society to raising healthy young bodies and minds. The further goal of building stronger communities by connecting people through sport was added in 2009. As of the end of the 2018 fiscal year, Japan had 31,863 junior sport clubs nationwide involving 864,303 members, instructors and others.
With sports such as baseball, kendo, football and volleyball at the core, these clubs also engage in camping, hiking and other outdoor activities, plus cultural activities, including painting, choral singing and the local performing arts of their region, and par ticipate in community projects and events and voluntary and other social activities. Emphasis is placed especially on these social aspects of their activities as highly significant experiences for nurturing good citizenship.
Structure and Activities of the Japan Junior Sport Clubs Association
The Japan Junior Sport Clubs Association (JJSA) has been established within the JSPO. The junior sport clubs of each specific
sport across Japan form the base, with prefectural and municipal junior sport clubs above them, making this the country’s biggest junior sport organization.
The association coordinates and cooperates closely with the prefectural and municipal junior sport clubs to provide full back-up for the activities of junior spor t clubs in each specific sport and their members.
Concretely, its duties include nurturing and training instructors in each category, nurturing and training junior and senior leaders, national and regional youth programs and friendship tournaments in each sport, international junior sport exchange activities with Germany, China etc., and the full range of public relations activities, publications etc.
Promoting the Active Child Program for Infants
The junior sport clubs provide exercisethrough-play programs for infants in order to help them experience the joys of physical
activity, acquire the various foundational physical skills of sport, and be equipped to live life to the full in the future. The Active Child Program (ACP) for infants and guardians was launched in the 2015 fiscal year and is being disseminated through training seminars. The junior sport clubs will continue to perform key roles in its spread and the provision of instruction systems.
Nurturing Healthy Young Bodies and Minds
The importance of the nurturing environment for the young has been brought into sharp focus by the large numbers of young
people who cannot function well in society due to mental issues, and a number of tragic incidents. What kind of environment is needed for young people to develop a firm sense of self and grow up healthy and strong? Sport has a big role to play in making such growth possible.
In the case of sport, the first priority is that the sport itself must be interesting and fun to do. The roots of this are found in the spirit of play. Sport is also an emotional, fulfilling experience that, in due course, fosters friendship and the sense of connectedness with others. The desire to be stronger and more skillful teaches the importance of dedication and nur tures the powers of perseverance.
Junior sport clubs members grow up together in an environment where social skills and mutual cooperation are required, developing both richer sensitivity and selfdiscipline in the process.
The clubs that nurture such powers do so within the group ethos of community life. These junior sport clubs activities give the
young ideal opportunities to develop in both body and mind.