New Olympic sport for Tokyo 2020: Hide-and-Seek?

This weekend Japan celebrated the announcement that Tokyo was chosen by the International Olympic Committee to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, considered a “safe” choice after the prime minister gave heartfelt safety assurances vis a vis the country’s 2011 nuclear disaster. The prime minister said, upon learning of the decision, “The joy was even greater than when I won my own election.”

Another Japanese man is thrilled, and has his own big plans for Tokyo 2020: Professor Hazaki of Nippon Sport Science University is on a mission to get Hide-and-Seek represented at the 2020 games.

Hazaki sounds deeply passionate about Hide-and-Seek. He set up the “Hide-and-Seek Promotion Committee” in 2010, and has enlisted 1,000 members—mostly college students.

However despite his tenure at a university dedicated to sports, Hazaki sounds a little disconnected from the whole point of the Olympics—namely, competition.

He told Telegraph:

I want to encourage sport for all, meaning that anyone can take part, regardless of age, gender or ability,” he said. “When you watch sport now, it’s all about world-beating techniques and skills – fantastic dribbling, running or shooting skills in football, for example.
“But that’s not sport for all,” he said. “Hide-and-seek is a sport that anybody can play, from children as young as 4 years old to someone who is in their 80s.”

Which is a little odd given that the Olympics wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for those little medals they hand out meaning that somebody won and other people lost. Literally the whole thing is a giant celebration of ability. But no matter. This sport just happens to be inclusive, and Hazaki wants it that way.

“We are trying to arrange games all across Japan so many people can play, to see how much fun it is and that anyone can play,” he said. He acknowledged that it may be a tough sell getting Hide-and-Seek accepted into Tokyo 2020, but he’s optimistic. “The IOC just kicked wrestling out, and that is a sport that has been around for a long time – but I see Tokyo 2020 as our big chance,” Hazaki said.

In case you want to start playing for yourself, here are the official rules as per the Hide-and-Seek Promotion Committee of Japan;

Two teams of seven players against each other in a 10-minute match. In the first five-minute half, one team is given two minutes to hide on a “pitch” that measures 65ft x 65ft . The opposing team then has to locate and touch the hiding players.
In the version for children under the age of 12, the pitch measures 55 feet x 88 feet.

It can be played anywhere from gardens to beaches, which Hazaki calls “interesting,” but the best “courts” tend to entail “light woodlands.”

You’ve got seven yours to start training. I’ll close my eyes and start counting…