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First of all, let me explain who they are and what they are doing. What they are doing in this video is a sport called “men’s rhythmic gymnastics,” which was born in Japan.
The gymnasts in this video are members of the Ibara High School RG team from Okayama, Japan. This video shows their previous performance
Actually, they are not a professional performance team, but just high school kids who work hard after school and on weekends to make this performance as a part of their school club activities.
As I said, men’s rhythmic gymnastics originated in Japan, but the fact is it is still a minor sport, even in its homeland. What they get from winning is honor of being the best in Japan, but no more than that.
Although men’s rhythmic gymnastics does not have professional gymnasts and is very little known to the public, it has more than half a century of history and there are nearly 1,500 gymnasts, including the Ibara High School RG team.
But even in this minor sport, it requires extraordinarily hard work to become the best in Japan. They spend most of the days of the year practicing rhythmic gymnastics.
At a glance, their body may seem rather slim, but there are times when they have five meals a day-meals that make it easy to put on weight. But even so, the amount of calories burned from endless exercise exceeds their calorie intake.
Their team routine, made with a lot of hard work and devotion, is shown at a few RG competitions. After that, they start to make a new routine all over again from scratch.
There are many other men’s RG teams like Ibara in Japan. This year, the Ibara RG team got 1st place in the competition for high school teams. But there are many other high school teams as strong as Ibara, not to mention higher-level university teams.
Aomori University RG team, being at the top of this sport and extending their winning record, surprised the world by showing their performance at the closing ceremony of the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Men’s rhythmic gymnastics is a minor sport born in the far east of Asia. But their videos spread all over the world, one of which recorded more than 15 million views in only half a year. Perhaps that happened because people from different backgrounds could feel the sweat and effort each gymnast put into their three-minute routine, beyond language and culture differences.
Currently, men’s rhythmic gymnastics is getting known by more and more people through the prevalence of SNSs. However, it struggles against the loss of one of the major competitions and lack of a major sponsor, leaving the sport in a vulnerable situation.
I posted this video because I wanted as many people as possible to know the passion those gymnasts have for their three-minute routine.
I often see comments on JPglobal which say “I want to see it live!” “This should be an Olympic event!” However, with the above circumstances, this sport is struggling to survive even in Japan.
I suppose you are reading my comment here because you are somewhat moved by their performance.
If you have any ideas or questions, or if you just want to know more about men’s rhythmic gymnastics, please leave a comment.Thank you!
An Update in April 2020/04/30
All gymnasts train so hard for competitions which are held only a few times a year that participating in these competitions mean everything to them. However, due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, they have not only lost a chance to participate in competitions but have been unable to practice although every other sport is affected in the same way.
There is more to a competition than participation for them. Some athletes were supposed to compete for the very last time. Some others had planned to make their academic decisions or career decisions based on the results from this year’s competitions. Now that the competitions are officially called off, they are at a loss of words and there is no word to describe what they are going through.
Let’s hope that something can be done to help those athletes, and let’s pray that the unprecedented pandemic comes to an end and that everyone can return to a safe daily life.