“Greater Depth, More Women”

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
“Greater Depth, More Women”

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The mushrooming interest in marathons and ekidens helped dissolve boundaries between elite and recreational running in the 1990s. Japanese men comprised a deep trove of excellence just below the top level; the 1990s were a breakout decade for top female marathoners. Morishita Kōichi, silver medalist in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic marathon, was the speediest Japanese male runner, while Arimori Yūko won two Olympic medals in the women’s marathon before turning professional in 1996. Tanigawa Mari, a former civic jogger turned elite champion, touted the joys of running to the general public and sponsored a charity race starting in 2000. The 1990s were a decade of intensified recruiting of high school boys by Tokyo-area universities for the annual Hakone Ekiden and a time of expanded opportunities for ekiden racing by high school, corporate, and community teams for both genders. Television broadcasts helped spread interest in road racing and contributed to the democratization of sport.

Keywords: Japan; marathon; Morishita Kōichi; Arimori Yūko; Tanigawa Mari; Hakone Ekiden; television; democratization; Olympics

Chapter.  8416 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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