University cheer squads make an unusual bid for survival

Japanese university cheer squads are in a battle for survival. Traditionally, such groups offer encouragement to students taking part in sporting and other events, and usually comprise enthusiastic, school uniform-clad young men, who offer their support in loud and brazen terms. Now, however, these boisterous batteries are facing their greatest ever crisis since first emerging during the Meiji era (1868-1912), writes Moe Hamada for The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Recently, university students have been shying away from cheer squads due to the intense coaching and rigorous training such groups undergo. There also have been growing calls to suspend the activities of the cheer squads due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

However, in a somewhat unorthodox bid for survival, 36 cheer squads at universities across the nation have joined forces with the aim of registering themselves as a national intangible cultural asset.
Full report on the Asia News Network site