Sportswear maker Asics Corp. has organized a running school for beginners in collaboration with scale maker Tanita Corp. and cosmetics maker Shiseido Co. to capitalize on the growing popularity of the activity.

On a weekend morning in late June, 20 people, many in their 20s, gathered at an Asics store in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district, each armed with calorie-burning meters.

Dressed in matching T-shirts, the runners walked to a nearby park by the Imperial Palace and started running. "Relax your upper body," a trainer told them. "Move your legs forward straight from the pelvis."