Impressive: Hundreds of Vietnamese students gave their all in a very Japanese Sports Day 

On October 26th, at Ha Dong Indoors Sports Stadium (Hanoi), Japanese International School (JIS) organised its 2018 Sports Day for Primary and Secondary students. Over 20 events organized in a unique and way attracted hundreds of students to do their best and experience unforgettable moments.

An interesting game in which students put on oversised pants and ran in pairs

Sports Day (or undokai) is one of the major annual events at JIS, held in a very different way compared to other similar events in many other Vietnamese schools. The opening ceremony was brief but formal, mainly focused on the opening statement and encouraging students to do their best to bring honour to their team.

Not competing between classes, all students were divided equally into the Yellow team and the Red team. This has created teams of both young and old students, united with one another either as entrants in the competition or spectators cheering on the bleachers. The content of the competition was largely based on Japanese Sports Day with activities such as relay races, running together, …, throwing balls into the basket, passing balls using heads, rolling barrels, tug of war, etc. Some entries have interesting names, like “3-legged race” which means 2 students tie one of their legs together then run, or “storm’s eye” which means groups of three students hold a long stick while quickly run to the marked point and do a counter-clockwise rotation resembling a storm before reaching the finish line.

The “storm’s eye” game requires students to be cooperative and skilful

Parents who attended the event were also divided into teams and competed in the sandal-tossing game, while teachers took part in relay races holding the boxes and a medium-sized water bottle. One month prior to the event, teachers and students had been practicing together, preparing equipment and decorations after school. At this meaningful event, older students were assigned to take on key tasks such as interpreting, hosting, arranging tools,  maintaining order, etc.

Although students competed with a fierce competitive spirit, the main purpose of the event was to help them master cooperation skills, teamwork and do their best. Everyone had a great time, filled with excitement and observed clearly what typically Japanese "qualities" were, like a sense of solidarity, discipline, neatness and order.

At the end of this year's Sports Day, victory belonged to the Yellow Team, the Red Team ranked second with only four points difference. There was no individual award. In his closing speech, Mr. Sasano Tadashi –  Vice Principal of the school, encouraged both teams and reminded students of the meaning of keeping fit and having a stable state of mind despite winning or losing in life.

Here are some striking images at the 2018 Sports Day for Primary and Secondary students:

The Vietnamese National Anthem was sung in the opening ceremony.

Athletes took an oath of integrity and fair play.


Athletes lined up neatly.

Teachers and parents attended the Sports Day.

Athletes warmed up before the competition.

Some teachers joined students in the warm-up exercise.


The opening game, tug-of-war, was pretty tough.

The “3-legged race” was quite interesting.

This activity helped to train students to cooperate well.

With the cheering from spectators, the competition became fiercer.


The game “storm’s eye”

Young athletes tried their best in the running race.


The joy of winning!

Rolling the barrel was rather difficult and required skilfulness from students

With high concentration, participants attempted to roll the big barrel to the finish line.


In order to pass balls and drop them into the basket using only heads, students need tactfulness and excellent collaboration.

A parent tied headband for her child before the game

Participants tried their best to throw balls into the basketball net.

Regardless of their age, all participants were determined to do their best.

Parents took part in sandal-tossing game.

Teachers also competed in the relay races holding boxes and a medium-sized water bottle.


Despite his age, Mr.  Dương Đình Giao enthusiastically participated in the game alongside his teammates.

Every team competes fiercely with the hope of winning.

The game was quite difficult, if not carefully arranged, the boxes would fall when piled too high.

The teachers' competition received encouragement from the students and brought joyful moments to everyone.

The JIS Sports Day had a number of unique and fascinating entries.

In the game running on people’s back, participants coordinated in taking turn to bend down allowing a teammate to walk on their backs for a round. It was a race against time which demanded attentiveness.


The stick-robbing game was thrilling

The final game was a relay race.​


On JIS Sports Day, older students were assigned to support in the preparation and operation of entries so they could learn how to organize an event.


Some students acted as Japanese and English interpreters in this year’s event.

Holding two headbands of respective team, Mr. Sasano announced the final result.

The yellow team won at JIS Sports Day for Primary and Secondary students

Cups were awarded to representatives of each team.

Yellow team showed their happiness when they were announced as the winner.

In the closing remarks, Mr. Sasano would like all students to maintain a stable state of mind and have determination to try regardless of winning or losing. The Sports Day ended with unforgettable moments and feelings for students, teachers and parents. 

Phuong Chi