Friday, September 14, 2007


Japanese school kids urged to learn martial arts

TOKYO, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Japanese girls and boys will have to revisit their roots by learning martial arts and traditional sports such as judo or sumo in school if curriculum changes urged by experts are adopted.

An advisory panel this week also called for students to study traditional Japanese dance -- along with modern steps such as hip-hop -- in physical education courses.

"It's good for students to experience Japanese tradition through martial arts," education ministry official Yoshikazu Maetani said on Wednesday of the panel's advice.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made reforming the education system to put more emphasis on patriotism and traditional culture and values a signature policy since taking office a year ago.

Japanese children can study dance and martial arts at present, but those classes are optional and popular dance styles often attract more students than traditional arts.

"We want students to experience all sorts of athletic activities, not just ones they already know they like," Maetani said.