Video: Memory Competition in Japan

Could you memorize the order of 52 shuffled playing cards in 5 minutes? This episode follows a competitive memory sports event in which competitors must memorize a pack of cards, and then recall that order in another deck.


Awww. That young girl warmed my heart. It’s so nice to see young people learning memory techniques at such a young age. She also learned memory techniques for the same reason I did

I know that memory sports are more popular in Asia (Mongolia & China), but I wonder how popular they are specifically in Japan. Are memory sports recognized by the government, or is it something more akin to the memory competitions in America.

I’m really rooting for the manga artist, Shohei. I always thought it would be nice to create a story about someone competing in the Memory League, but I don’t know how to draw. I hope to buy his manga someday. I also wonder how does he apply his techniques to memorizing drawings. Having done so myself, I have an idea what he’s doing, but I wonder if he has more advanced techniques.

Lastly, I wonder if anyone in this video are aware of us. It seems like a lot of foreign memory competitors are aware of us in some form.


I think NHK did a nice job with this one… they don’t get lost in technical details or make it look like it’s inaccessible for the average person. Good runtime too… just something quick to give an overview for people not familiar with memory sports… might actually motivate some people to at least give it a try.

That depends on what you mean when you say recognized by the government… the event is privately organized. I once spent a couple of minutes explaining to the customs officer at Narita why I had 10 decks of playing cards in my carry-on. But like you said, in Asia it’s a bit more popular, so we got that sorted without an issue and he wished me luck at the competition… but it’s not a government organized competition.

Who’s us? For example, I’ve met Takeru for the first time five years ago. He’s the one you see in the very beginning of the video and has been organizing the Tokyo championship for years. It’s not really that hard to be “aware of each other” if you go to the competitions.

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Us meaning the forum.

In that case foreign memory competitors are part of “us.” Even though I’m not sure what “foreign” is supposed to mean if “us” is the forum.