Marathon mobilities: A Western Tourist Perspective on Japanese Marathons

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Abstract

This chapter contributes to the (tourism) mobilities literature by giving an embodied tourist perspective on the Tokyo Marathon and the Kyoto Marathon. Marathon running is today hugely popular in Japan: the world-famous Japanese fiction writer Murakami has published a best-selling biographical book about marathon running; marathons get much media coverage; they attract many local spectators and huge sponsor deals; and many are over-subscribed and use lotteries to manage entries. For instance, the Kyoto Marathon course takes full advantage of the city’s world-famous sights and it is promoted as ideal for sightseeing. Yet the case of the Kyoto Marathon illustrates that the extraordinariness of Kyoto and the tourist-gaze-friendly course is not enough to attract western runners. The paramount reason is that this race is not a Major. Indeed, the research in Tokyo demonstrated the globally networked nature of elite marathon events. It was overwhelmingly the case that westerners ‘ran Tokyo’ as part of a larger quest to become six-star finishers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Tourism Mobilities in Japan
EditorsEndo Hideki
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Publication date2021
Pages124-137
Chapter9
ISBN (Print)9781138387751
ISBN (Electronic) 9780429426087, 9780429759901
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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