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JUMP ROPES TAKE OFF:
Traditional Kids' Play Finds New Popularity
April 10, 2001
With the aim of increasing the sales of its products, Bandai has held jump-rope classes all over Japan and has begun sponsoring competitions aimed at elementary school students. Between September 1999 and March 2001, Bandai held about 250 classes, which teach various techniques and tricks, attracting approximately 100,000 young participants.
Bandai began sponsoring jump-rope tournaments last year. Regional qualifying tournaments were held at 11 locations across Japan, followed by a national championship at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan, an arena used for sumo. Is this strategy working? Bandai sold one million jump ropes last year in a country where the overall demand is estimated to be about 7 million per year, making J Rope a huge hit. Sporting goods makers Asics and Mizuno have also put their energy into manufacturing and selling competition-level jump ropes, lending momentum to the spread of rope skipping as a legitimate sport.
Popular for Fitness
As the number of people who attempt competitive rope skipping continues to grow, the level of competition continues to rise. Japan currently boasts the athlete ranked number one in the world by the International Nawatobi (jump rope) Federation, Yuya Kiuchi of Ashiya City in Hyogo Prefecture. Meanwhile, jumping rope just for fun is not limited to young children. Its spreading popularity can be seen by the growing number of women enjoying the activity in sports clubs.
Copyright (c) 2001 Japan Information Network. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.