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Marathon JapanDistance Racing and Civic Culture$
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Thomas R. H. Havens

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824841010

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824841010.001.0001

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“Greater Depth, More Women”

“Greater Depth, More Women”

Marathons and Ekidens in the 1990s

(p.95) 5 “Greater Depth, More Women”
Marathon Japan

Thomas R. H. Havens

University of Hawai'i Press

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

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