Marathon mobilities: A Western Tourist Perspective on Japanese Marathons

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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
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)9781138387751
ISBN (Electronic) 9780429426087, 9780429759901
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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