We have been able to find very little information on Japanese summer camps. There was a Boy Scout movement in Japan during the inter-War era so you would think there may have been some camping. And we see what look like camps run by the Army engaged in military training. We know nothing about these camps such as how extensive they were and how the boys were selected. We note boys from what look like all the teen years. We note one unidentified group, probanly about 1940. We suspect the groups may have been organized at schools.
We do not see any girls' summer camps, perhaps because the camps were military oriented. We do not know if there were any girl guide camps. Nor do we see any mixed-gender camps. Aftter the war we begin to see some images indicating that summer camps were organized. The photograph here seems to be from a summer camp in 1957 (figure 1). The first camps seem to have been single-gendr camps, but eventually by ar least the 1960s we begin to see mixed gender camps. We have been unable to find much information about these camps. From what little we can tell, the camps seem more expensive and tightly organized than American camps. One report tells us, "The Japanese do not view summer camp as an opportunity to simply relax and have free time. Their time at camp is short, and Japanese camps are very expensive. So the participants want to get the most out of their time at camp, and there is a busy schedule planned. There will be a lot of children at camp -- up to 1,000 at some camps! -- and many will be young children on their first trip away from home. With so many young campers, and given the Japanese tendency to plan everything super-well, you will probably find Labo camp to be much more strictly organized than camps in North America, with set times for certain activities, and little room for changes from the schedule." Hopefully Japanese readers will provide us some more information.
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