Radio Taisou – The national exercise of Japan

Folks, if you ask any individual who has been to school in Japan, what “Radio Taisou” ラジオ体操 is, they will give you not only a description, but most likely a music-laden preview of this national exercise.

I remember during summers, waking up early around 6am, to meet friends on school grounds to take part in the stretching exercises to get my day going.

The history of Radio Taisou (Radio Exercise) goes back to 1928 when it was created as a celebration for the new Showa Emperor. It first was broadcasted over the radio in the mornings and was later moved to television as well. Because of the long history of this exercise, it’s something people of all ages from young to old know very well. The starting time for Radio Exercise has changed from early in the morning to later times recently, but the content of the exercise itself hasn’t changed much.

The basics of Radio Taisou consist of a simple melody played on a piano and a narrator who gives instructions on the kinds of motions to make. The same goes for the exercises on television with several people moving to the instructions – some standing up and some sitting on chairs. There have been several versions of this exercise over the years, but most everyone knows at least the original.

Videos of Radio Taisou are widely available online and very easy to follow. Even if you don’t speak much Japanese, just copy the movements of the exercise and enjoy.

There’s nothing like starting your day with an 87-year-old national exercise in Japan.


above image courtesy of  Mr. GC at