The Japanese Art Of Synchronized Walking

 | Grace Higgins

Yup you read the title correctly, in Japan synchronized walking is a real sport and it’s actually pretty nuts. For the same baffling and strange reasons that the Japanese do many things we find bizarre, they have been competing in a competition around synchronized precision team walking since 1966.

In Japan, it is called Shuudan Koudou and as you can imagine they have trained they’re walking down to perfection and it looks pretty crazy. Just have a look at some of the many videos floating around Youtube if you really want to see just how intense their synchronized walking tournaments become.

Some of the nation’s best and celebrated winners, such as the Nippon Sports Science University’s team training for over 1,200 kilometers of walking. And yes other countries have marching bands that do some pretty amazing things, but it is nothing compared to the complexity and precision that happens in Japanese synchronized walking.

Though do not think that we will be seeing this as an Olympic sport anytime soon, this sport is only really practiced in Japan. It is a 47-year-old tradition and is pretty mind-blowing when you see some of the maneuvers that the teams pull off. The walking routines do look quite similar to military marching exercises, yet they are much more intricate and precise.

Most teams are practicing three days a week for around five-month straight before a competition, which is much needed to ensure everyone is on the same pace. The captains of the sport believe it shows that youngster of the modern generation does still know how to work as a collective in a group. Generally in Japan being able to work as a team and a collective is seen as an asset for then entering the job market.

It is kind of seen as the western equivalent of cheerleading, synchronized movements are really embedded deep in Japanese culture. Who knows, maybe in the future if it grows into a sport that enters more countries, we could see synchronized walking at the Olympics.