Introducing e-sports, or competitive video gaming, as an after-school extracurricular activity remains controversial in Japan.
In January, Takahiro Inose, principal of prefectural Oarai High School in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture, proposed setting up an e-sports club.
“After-school club activities are one of the catalysts for students to come to school. It’s good to see students enjoy themselves,” Inose said.
His proposal comes as an interprefectural e-sports competition is scheduled to take place for the first time during a national athletic meet that Ibaraki Prefecture is set to host in autumn this year.
Inose held an e-sports trial session for students and teachers last month in an effort to rally support for his proposal.
But the proposal is facing strong opposition from teachers.
“I feel uncomfortable with doing gaming as part of school education. I’m strongly opposed,” one teacher said of the principal’s proposal.
Several teachers strongly oppose using public money to purchase video game titles.
Satoru Kaneko, principal of Aichi prefectural Johoku Tsubasa High School in Nagoya, which launched an e-sports club last year, gave a positive assessment of its effects.
E-sports activities “led to increased communication among students, especially during competitions,” Kaneko said.
There are roughly 100 million e-sports players across the world, according to the Japan e-sports Union. E-sports will be an official medal event at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.