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Power of Sports

HEROs Sportsmanship for the future - Athletes' Contributions to Society

Feb. 26, 2024

HEROs Sportsmanship for the future (HEROs) is a platform designed to promote social contribution activities by athletes. It was established by SSF’s parent organization, The Nippon Foundation, in 2017.

1. Purpose and Background

HEROs was established to provide athletes with opportunities to demonstrate sportsmanship even off the playing field and to broaden the community of individuals addressing social issues through the power of sports.

2. The Three Pillars of HEROs

The three pillars for promoting social contributions by athletes are as follows.

2-1. HEROs Academy - Supporting Capacity Building

This program supports athletes in fulfilling their potential to contribute to society by utilizing the abilities and experience that they have gained through sports. This program includes organizing workshops where athletes can discover the power of sports and share the immense potential that they hold with other participants. It also offers scholarships for athletes.

2-2. HEROs Action - Utilizing the Power of Sports and Athletes

This program supports athletes in engaging in social contribution projects that harness the power of sports and the social influence of athletes. HEROs Dream is one of the projects under this program in which athletes organize events to provide their fans with opportunities to experience something special. These events include talk sessions with athletes and private lessons by top athletes. Another important aspect of HEROs Dream is fundraising, as fans have the option to make donations when applying to participate. In addition to HEROs Dream, HEROs also collaborates with athletes to carry out a variety of initiatives, including disaster-relief activities, and beach cleanups.

2-3. HEROs Awards - Awards for Charity and Social Change Projects Led by Athletes

This program recognizes and awards outstanding social contribution projects led by athletes as well as individuals and organizations that serve as role models. In the 2023 HEROs Awards, Hanae Ito OLY, a former Olympic swimmer who competed in the Beijing Olympics and who serves as one of the counselors of SSF, was recognized for her leading role in the 1252 Project, an educational initiative that addresses various menstrual issues faced by female athletes. The next paragraph mentions more past winners whose projects align with SSF’s areas of focus.

Past Winners of the HEROs Award

3-1. World YURU Sports Association

The World YURU Sports Association is a general incorporated association established in 2015 that received one of the 2017 HEROs Awards for its efforts to address diverse social issues through sports. Based on its core concept of “YURU”—a term used in their organization name that means relaxed, free, flexible, and easy to approach—the association has created new sports that everyone can participate in and enjoy, regardless of their ability, age, or gender. The association's areas of focus include extending the life expectancy of the elderly, promoting understanding of diversity, and contributing to regional revitalization.

3-2. Being Alive Japan

Being Alive Japan is a non-profit organization that supports children undergoing long-term medical treatment and their families through sports. In 2018, the organization received the HEROs of the Year award for its commitment to hosting sports events at hospitals and special needs schools to provide opportunities for children to enjoy sports and to experience working together as a team.

3-3. Japan Inclusive Football Federation (JIFF)

JIFF is one of the affiliated organizations of the Japan Football Association (JFA), and it was established as the governing body of the seven disability football associations in Japan. Its goal is to contribute to the creation of a vibrant and inclusive society where everyone, with and without disabilities, can enjoy and receive the benefits of sports. The Federation received the HEROs of the Year award in 2019 for its efforts to promote disability football and to address social issues surrounding people with disabilities.


As a part of the Nippon Foundation Group, SSF supports the concepts of HEROs Sportsmanship for the future and hopes that HEROs projects will continue to make positive changes to society. SSF will continue to collaborate closely with other organizations within the Nippon Foundation Group to achieve a Sport for Everyone society.

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