On February 21, 2019, two faculty members and nine students from the Nippon Sport Science University (NSSU/Nittaidai) took part in the signing ceremonies of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between NSSU and the University of the Philippines. Held at the Office of the University President in UP Diliman’s Quezon Hall, the Japanese contingent was warmly received by UP officials led by President Danilo L Concepcion, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan and UP College of Human Kinetics Dean Francis Carlos Diaz.
The MOA laid the grounds for the creation of a supervised training program involving the students of NSSU and UP. Starting this academic year 2019-2020, students from the NSSU will be visiting UP, in particular the UP Integrated School (UPIS), to teach Physical Education to its students for a total of 30 to 40 hours.
The NSSU is highly acclaimed in Japan for producing several successful athletes and coaches who have gone on to win medals in the Olympics and other international competitions. They have brought home 128 gold, silver and bronze medals, accounting for around a quarter of the nation’s total medal haul.
The group from NSSU was led by professors Eiko Kaneda and Kazuyuki Yamaguchi, who represented NSSU President Koji Gushiken at the signing. The nine students who witnessed the ceremonies are part of the MABUHAY program of the UP Diliman Office of International Linkages (UPD OIL), a two-week interdisciplinary program that exposes foreign students to Philippine language and culture.
In addition to cultural trips around Metro Manila, the students from NSSU had the opportunity to attend and observe PE classes in UP, as well as train with varsity teams of sports like baseball, tennis and women’s basketball. They were also able to watch a number of UAAP Season 81 games involving the softball and men’s volleyball teams.
According to President Concepcion, having the students from NSSU training with UP athletes will unite both parties in sportsmanship, despite UP’s relatively inferior facilities. “Though you belong to different worlds,” Concepcion said, “somehow your presence here serves as a bridge. You are bridging the gap between the peoples of our two countries and making us closer.”