Research by Ochanomizu University and NHK: 'Elite-university students said they used to play more as kids than their non-elite university peers.'

The amount of time children spend playing outside has
drastically decreased over the last generation:

Play Time by Generations

Japanese people in their thirties, forties, and fifties used to play outdoors, on average, for more than hour and a half when they were kids.

Due to the growth of video games, and change in kids' lifestyle - such as increased participation in after-school activities, today's children in Japan spend, on average, less than an hour playing outside.

Simultaniously, the physical abilities of Japanese
children detoriated tremendously:

Yamanashi University conducted research comparing physical development of children of different generations by looking at performance in a variety of athletic disciplines including running, jumping, etc.

Shockingly, it was found that the average 5 year old child in 2007 had the athletic abilities of a 3 year old kid in 1985.

Similarly, the average third and fourth grader in 2007 was at the level of a 5 year old child in 1985.

Decrease in Physical Abilities

While there are plenty of parks in Japan, many of
them are not ideal environments for free play due to:

Unstimulating Environment


Too many parks in Japan consist of the following two things: gray ground and a single slide. While that might entertain a child for a minute or two, it certainly is not a stimulating free play environment.
Unstimulating Environment


While prohibiting certain behaviors in a park is not necessarily a bad thing, prohibiting kids to play with a ball or to “run around and be loud” creates an environment that is not ideal for free play.

On top of that, the government lacks funds to renovate
old and broken play equipment:

Age of Play Equipment

According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, 47.7% of Japan's approx. 464,000 pieces of play equipment are 20 years or older - with significant portion of those being broken or otherwise unusable.

As reported by Nikkei in December 2017, the government lacks the funds necessary to repair or replace that equipment - and is relying on support of donors more and more.

We strive to improve the state of play in Japan by revitalizing play spaces and organizing play events.

Want to Improve Play Conditions Where Needed the Most?