Table Speech

About NOSS (Nihon, Odori, Sports and Science)

March 19, 2014

Mr. Ukon Nishikawa
Headmaster, Nishikawa Company of
Classical Japanese Dance
(Nagoya Rotary Club)

 Traditional performing arts are valuable, yet I don’t find much meaning in handing them down unchanged to the younger generation. Each performing art was a new work when it was first produced. It isn’t in my nature to treat it like a fragile decorative figurine and hand it down intact with utmost attention. Just as I was wondering how I could spread classical Japanese dance to the young people, I got seriously ill and underwent two cardiac bypass surgeries. Thank goodness I am alive today. Such a life-changing experience encouraged me to embark on new challenges and this is how I created a new kind of exercise NOSS, based on classical Japanese dance. Many elderly people enjoy NOSS at day-care facilities, as it makes them refreshed as if they are dancing. Today, I want you to actually try NOSS. Before we start, please enjoy the video that explains what NOSS is.

(Video showing)

 NOSS is a calisthenics created for the elderly, based on classical Japanese dance. It trains the muscles using the whole body and makes you fit.

 Dr. Kagemoto Yuasa, Dean of the School of Health and Sport Sciences at Chukyo University, states “there has been no scientific data that proves how classical Japanese dance benefits health. So we decided to conduct some studies.”

 We found out that NOSS burns at least 1.3 times more calories than walking. You burn 27.5 kcal through a 6-minute-45-second long exercise NOSS, while your average pulse rate counts 79, which is much lower than other exercises. Dr. Yuasa assures “you can burn calories with lighter load for the heart and blood vessel.”

 It is generally said that you need to exert over 50% of your maximum strength for muscle buildup. Measured results indicated that NOSS dancers used on average 80% of their back muscles. To our greater surprise, we found out that some parts of the vastus medialis muscle exceeded its maximum strength, as NOSS dancers made slow movements of kneeling down that stretched their muscles with some load added. Dr. Yuasa explains “NOSS incorporates the three major elements in exercises that keep us healthy: aerobics, muscle movements and stretching. This makes NOSS highly suitable to maintain our health.”

(End of the Video)

 Now, how many of you have made the movement of raising your arm above your shoulder since this morning? (Many raised their hand). Excellent! We make only a few of such movements in our daily life today, while we used to make this movement frequently in the past when we switched on the ceiling light or dusted the room. Also, the Japanese-style toilets made us take a deep-knee bend posture. Elementary school children today have a hard time keeping their balance in such posture. As muscles are connected to bones, you cannot move smoothly once your muscles weaken. The only way to overcome disuse syndrome is to do exercises.

 Professor Morimoto of the Geriatric Medicine at Kanazawa Medical University made a presentation on NOSS and how it could activate the brain. Unfortunately, it is not effective for dementia, but it has strong effect on those suffering from depression or social withdrawal. We are trying to accumulate further medical evidence in 4 years and plan to launch a research team, including my son who is studying at the Graduate School of Fujita Health University. I hope the traditional Japanese dance will make some contribution to deal with the issue of declining birth rate and aging population. Currently, most of our NOSS instructors work at nursing-care facilities.

 Now, let me explain some movements of NOSS that are uniquely Japanese. Your muscles remain stretched when you stand straight. You can build your muscles by repeating the movements of bending down slightly, keeping it for 7 seconds and then straightening up. NOSS movements resemble those of the onnagata (female-role) players in the traditional Japanese kabuki dance who walk pigeon-toed. This way, you can build up your vastus medialis muscle. When you bow forward, don’t just lower your head but make a whole body movement of bending forward from the waist that functions as a pivot point. Next, clasp your hands in front of your chest, take the pigeon-toed posture, bend down a bit, and then tilt your head first to the right, then to the left and again to the right.

(Exercise with the video)

 Thank you for your cooperation. You can activate your brain by simply clapping your hands. The best way to activate your brain is by making your mouth and your hands work. We cannot escape from physical decline, yet we can build our muscles to keep our energy from flagging and extend our happy life. I sincerely hope NOSS will bring you such happiness.