Published Apr 2015
On 1st January each year, Japan comes to a standstill as the biggest event on the country’s sporting calendar takes place. Crowds decked in team colours line the streets, while all across the country families settle down together in front of the television to watch the ekidens – Japan’s equivalent of the Superbowl – a series of intensely fought marathon relays.
Adharanand will travel to Japan to investigate the ekiden phenomenon, immersing himself in Japanese running culture to discover what ekiden can tell us about Japanese society. Running With The Kenyans shone a light on Kenyan culture through the eyes of an outsider who became an insider, and The Way Of The Runner will do likewise. Running in Japan already has literary and philosophical connotations through Murakami’s What I Think About When I Think About Running: what the world doesn’t realise is how consistent Japanese runners are when it comes to the big competitions. Why is this? Do the ekidens play a part?