Racing to Catch Up

Thomas R. H. Havens

in Marathon Japan

Published by University of Hawaii Press

Published in print February 2015 | ISBN: 9780824841010
Published online November 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780824869083
Racing to Catch Up

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School and university sports in Japan date to the mid-1880s but remained elitist until the early twentieth century. The first marathon dates to 1909, sponsored by Mainichi newspapers; Asahi, Yomiuri, and other media companies soon followed suit. Kanaguri Shizō represented his country at three Olympic games. Kanaguri also founded the Hakone ekiden relay race for Tokyo-area university teams in 1920; other school, civic, and corporate ekidens quickly followed. Hitomi Kinue became the first Japanese woman to win an Olympic medal when she finished second in the 800 meter race at the 1928 Amsterdam games. The Korea-born Sohn Gi Jeong, a colonized Japanese subject, won the 1936 Olympic marathon at Berlin but resented having to represent Japan rather than his native land. The Japan Amateur Athletics Federation (est. 1925) and the education ministry subsumed sports, including road racing, in national mobilization for war in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Keywords: Japan; athletics; marathon; ekiden; Kanaguri Shizō; Hitomi Kinue; Sohn Gi Jeong; Asahi; Mainichi; Yomiuri; newspaper; Olympics

Chapter.  7818 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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