translated and edited by Brett Larner
click here for a photo of the attack
The civil servant runner has been attacked by a bear. Marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (26, Saitama Pref. Gov't) appeared as a special guest at a Dec. 8 community event in the town of Kawauchi, Fukushima to help support the village's reconstruction efforts from the 2011 Fukushima disaster. From 10 a.m. to well into the evening he took part in a series of events one after another. After running with local children, the main street in town was renamed 'Yuki Kawauchi Commemorative Road.' The final event of the evening was the planting of a memorial tree. After the tree was safely planted, up from behind Kawauchi came.....
Also taking part in the event were town mascots from across the country including 2013 National Mascot Grand Prix champion Sanomaru of Sano, Tochigi. The Melon Bear mascot of Yubari, Hokkaido came up behind Kawauchi and noisily attacked him, biting his head. Enjoying himself as he was swallowed whole, Kawauchi spent the rest of the time with Sanomaru, enjoying himself and saying, "This was a really fun event."
The entire town of Kawauchi evacuated at the time of the Fukushima Nuclear Plant Number One nuclear accident following the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit eastern Japan in March, 2011. Amid fears that their village was gone forever, roughly half of its original 2800 residents have returned. After a day of unending laughs and smiles mayor Yuko Endo said, "I'll never forget our local children's joy when they heard the news that Kawauchi had agreed to come to our town. They were jumping around in an uproar all shouting, 'No way!!!!'" The happiest of all, however, may have been Kawauchi himself.
Click here for video of Kawauchi taking part in the Kawauchi village event.