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"I Was Afraid" - Japanese Long Distance's World Championships in Its Own Words

translated and edited by Brett Larner
click athletes' names for source articles

Despite the ongoing swell of high-level domestic performances over the last few years, the 2015 World Championships were nearly a complete failure for Japanese long distance.  The lone highlight was 23-year-old women's 5000 m runner Ayuko Suzuki (Team Japan Post Group), who frontran in both the qualifying heat and final on the way to setting an all-time Japanese #5 PB of 15:08.29 for 9th in the final, missing a place on the Rio Olympic team by a fraction of a second.  Her teammate in the final, Misaki Onishi (Team Sekisui Kagaku) and women's marathon 7th-placer Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku), who did score a Rio spot for making top 8, earned passing marks, but the rest of the distance team and in particular the men ranged from mediocre to completely unprepared.  The 2015 Beijing World Championships in the words of Japanese distance runners and those responsible for their performances:

Athletes
Masak…

Fujiwara and Okada Win Hokkaido Marathon (updated with video)

by Brett Larner



His career marked by more ups and downs than virtually any other elite marathoner, London Olympian Arata Fujiwara (Miki House) pulled yet another surprise comeback out of nowhere on a week's notice to win the hot and humid Hokkaido Marathon in Sapporo on Sunday.  One of only five Japanese men to ever win a marathon outside Japan under 2:10, after a mid-race surge Fujiwara's strategy evoked his course record-setting 2010 Ottawa Marathon win, waiting until the final km before going for a long surge over a group of five including his training partner and 2010 Hokkaido winner Cyrus Njui (Kenya/Arata Project), 2015 Nagano Marathon runner-up Tomohiro Tanigawa (Team Konica Minolta) and others.  Fujiwara crossed the finish line to claim his second career marathon victory in 2:16:49, one of the slower winning times in recent Hokkaido history but a full 11 seconds over Njui in the final kilometer.

Njui held off Tanigawa, who previously felt the sting of Fujiwara's fi…

Beijing World Championships Day Nine - Japanese Results

Beijing, China, 8/30/15
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m Final
1. Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia) - 14:26.83 - MR
2. Senbere Teferi (Ethiopia) - 14:44.07
3. Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 14:44.14
4. Viola Jelagat Kibiwot (Kenya) - 14:46.16
5. Mercy Cherono (Kenya) - 15:01.36
6. Janet Kisa (Kenya) - 15:02.68
7. Irene Chepet Cheptai (Kenya) - 15:03.41
8. Susan Kuijken (Netherlands) - 15:08.00
9. Ayuko Suzuki (Japan) - 15:08.29 - PB - all-time Japanese #5
10. Eloise Wellings (Australia) - 15:09.62
-----
14. Misaki Onishi (Japan) - 15:29.63

Beijing World Championships Women's Marathon - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

In a sight already familiar from the women's 5000 m heats and 10000 m final, the Japanese women ran up front together through most of the Beijing World Championships women's marathon, the slow early pace and low-hanging fruit of the JAAF's promise of a place on the Rio Olympic team to the first of them to make the top 8 combining to ensure they stayed near the front until things really got moving.  Mai Ito (Team Otsuka Seiyaku) was the first Japanese woman to go to the lead, joined in short order by domestic favorite Sairi Maeda (Team Daihatsu) and the controversial Risa Shigetomo (Team Tenmaya).  Apart from periodic surges at water stations by Mare Dibaba and other members of the Ethiopian team the Japanese trio led until well into the second half tailed all the while by rival Hye-Song Kim (North Korea).

Shigetomo, again followed by Kim, made the first real effort to get the pace moving faster after halfway, killing off the European members of the lead pac…

Beijing World Championships Day Eight - Japanese Results

Beijing, China, 8/29/15
click here for complete results

Men's 50 km Race Walk
1. Matej Toth (Slovakia) - 3:40:32
2. Jared Tallent (Australia) - 3:42.17
3. Takayuki Tanii (Japan) - 3:42:55
-----
4. Hirooki Arai (Japan) - 3:43:44
34. Yuki Yamazaki (Japan) - 4:03:54

Masters Women 400 m
1. Sarah Louise Read Cayton (Great Britain) - 1:00.05
2. Virginia Corinne Mitchell (Great Britain) - 1:00.81
3. Elizabeth Gail Wilson (New Zealand) - 1:02.54
-----
7. Yukiko Usui (Japan) - 1:05.34

Men's 4x100 m Relay Heat 1
1. U.S.A. - 37.91 - Q
2. Great Britain - 38.20 - Q
3. Germany - 38.57 - Q
4. Japan - 38.60

Women's 4x400 m Relay Heat 2
1. U.S.A. - 3:23.05 - Q
2. Great Britain - 3:23.90 - Q
3. France - 3:24.86 - Q
-----
7. Japan - 3:28.91 - NR

Men's 4x400 m Relay Heat 1
1. Great Britain - 2:59.05 - Q
2. Belgium - 2:59.28 - Q
3. France - 2:59.42 - Q
-----
7. Japan - 3:02.97

Men's Decathlon
1. Ashton Eaton (U.S.A.) - 9045 - WR
2. Damian Warner (Canada) - 8695 - NR
3. Rico Freimuth (Germany…

Beijing World Championships Day Seven - Japanese Results

Beijing, China, 8/28/15
click here for complete results

Women's 20 km Race Walk
1. Hong Liu (China) - 1:27:45
2. Xiuzhi Lu (China) - 1:27:45
3. Lyudmyla Olyanovska (Ukraine) - 1:28:13
4. Ana Cabecinha (Portugal) - 1:29:29
5. Antonella Palmisano (Italy) - 1:29:34
-----
25. Kumiko Okada (Japan) - 1:34:56

Men's High Jump Qualification Group A
1. Derek Drouin (Canada) - 2.31 m - Q
2. Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qatar) - 2.31 m - Q
3. Brandon Starc (Australia) - 2.13 m - PB - Q
-----
15. Naoto Tobe (Japan) - 2.26 m
16. Takashi Eto (Japan) - 2.22 m

Men's High Jump Qualification Group B
1. Guowei Zhang (China) - 2.31 m - Q
2. Bohdan Bondarenko (Ukraine) - 2.31 m - Q
3. Dimitrios Chondrokoukis (Cyprus) - 2.31 m - Q
-----
16. Yuji Hiramatsu (Japan) - 2.17 m

Women's Javelin Throw Qualification Group A
1. Britney Borman (U.S.A.) - 64.22 m - Q
2. Christina Obergfull (Germany) - 64.10 m - Q
3. Sunette Vilioen (South Africa) - 63.93 m - Q
-----
9. Yuki Ebihara (Japan) - 60.30 m - Q

Men's Deca…

Sani Brown's Semifinal Pulls in 25.5% Viewership Ratings, Highest So Far at Beijing World Championships

http://news.biglobe.ne.jp/entertainment/0827/mnn_150827_4806869453.html
http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2015/08/26/220/
http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2015/08/24/379/

translated and edited by Brett Larner

At 9:39 p.m. on Aug. 26 during the TBS network's exclusive live broadcast of the Beijing World Championships, the men's 200 m Semifinal 2 featuring Japan's 16-year-old Abdul Hakim Sani Brown recorded an instantaneous viewership rating of 25.5%, the highest so far during these World Championships.  The high ratings continued during Semifinal 3, Japan's Kei Takase and Kenji Fujimitsu pulling in ratings of 24.5% at 9:47 p.m.  For comparison, Sani Brown's opening heat on Aug. 25 where he placed 2nd generated 23.1% viewership ratings, with world record holder Usain Bolt's 200 m heat attracting only 19.9% ratings.  Bolt's 100 m title defense over rival Justin Gatlin on Aug. 23 scored 24.2% viewership ratings.

Average ratings for the men's 200 m semifinals program window…

Beijing World Championships Day Six - Japanese Results

Beijing, China, 8/27/15
click here for complete results

Women's 5000 m Heat 1
1. Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 15:20.82 - Q
2. Mercy Cherono (Kenya) - 15:20.94 - Q
3. Mimi Belete (Bahrain) - 15:20.94 - Q
4. Irene Chepet Cheptai (Kenya) - 15:21.03 - Q
5. Susan Kuijken (Netherlands) - 15:25.67 - Q
6. Misaki Onishi (Japan) - 15:33.84 - q
7. Stephanie Twell (Great Britain) - 15:34.72 - q
8. Nicole Tully (U.S.A.) - 15:41.03 - q

Women's 5000 m Heat 2
1. Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia) - 15:09.40 - Q
2. Senbere Teferi (Ethiopia) - 15:14.57 - Q
3. Viola Jelegat Kibiwot (Kenya) - 15:15.27 - Q
4. Janet Kisa (Kenya) - 15:26.49 - Q
5. Eloise Wellings (Australia) - 15:26.67 - Q
6. Ayuko Suzuki (Japan) - 15:28.18 - q
7. Jennifer Wenth (Austria) - 15:43.57 - q
-----
11. Azusa Sumi (Japan) - 16:13.65

Beijing World Championships Day Five - Japanese Results

Beijing, China, 8/26/15
click here for complete results

Men's 200 m Semifinal 2-0.2 m/s
1. Justin Gatlin (U.S.A.) - 19.87 - Q
2. Alonso Edward (Panama) - 20.02 - Q
3. Femi Ogunode (Qatar) - 20.05 - NR - q
-----
5. Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Japan) - 20.47

Men's 200 m Semifinal 3+0.8 m/s
1. Usain Bolt (Jamaica) - 19.95 - Q
2. Anaso Jobodwana (South Africa) - 20.01 - Q
3. Ramil Guliyev (Turkey) - 20.10 - q
-----
7. Kenji Fujimitsu (Japan) - 20.34
8. Kei Takase (Japan) - 20.64

Women's 200 m Heat 5+0.1 m/s
1. Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica) - 22.79 - Q
2. Semoy Hackett (Trinidad and Tobago) - 22.89 - Q
3. Margaret Adeoye (Great Britain) - 23.10 - Q
-----
5. Chisato Fukushima (Japan) - 23.30

Men's 5000 m Heat 1
1. Hagos Gebrhiwet (Ethiopia) - 13:45.00 - Q
2. Ben True (U.S.A.) - 13:45.09 - Q
3. Edwin Cheruiyot Soi (Kenya) - 13:45.28 - Q
4. Tom Farrell (Great Britain) - 13:45.29 - Q
5. Imane Merga (Ethiopia) - 13:45.41 - Q
-----
7. Suguru Osako (Japan) - 13:45.82

Men's 5000 m H…

Beijing World Championships Day Four - Japanese Results

Bejing, China, 8/25/15
click here for complete results

Men's 200 m Heat 1-0.3 m/s
1. Ramil Guliyev (Turkey) - 20.01 - NR - Q
2. Kenji Fujimitsu (Japan) - 20.28 - Q
3. Reynier Mena (Cuba) - 20.37 - Q

Men's 200 m Heat 2-0.2 m/s
1. Alonso Edward (Panama) - 20.11 - Q
2. Churandy Martina (Netherlands) - 20.22 - Q
3. Christophe Lemaitre (France) - 20.29 - Q
4. Kei Takase (Japan) - 20.33 - q

Men's 200 m Heat 4
1. Justin Gatlin (U.S.A.) - 20.19 - Q
2. Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (Japan) - 20.35 - Q
3. Nickel Ashmeade (Jamaica) - 20.40 - Q

Beijing World Championships Day Three - Japanese Results

Bejing, China, 8/24/15
click here for complete results

Women's 100 m Semifinal 2+0.9 m/s
1. Tori Bowie (U.S.A.) - 10.87 - Q
2. Kelly-Ann Baptiste (Trinidad and Tobago) - 10.90 - Q
3. Natasha Morrison (Jamaica) - 10.96 - PB - q
-----
7. Chisato Fukushima (Japan) - 11.32

Women's 10000 m
1. Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot (Kenya) - 31:41.31
2. Gelete Burka (Ethiopia) - 31:41.77
3. Emily Infeld (U.S.A.) - 31:43.49
4. Molly Huddle (U.S.A.) - 31:43.58
5. Sally Jepkosgei Kipyego (Kenya) - 31:44.42
-----
13. Kasumi Nishihara (Japan) - 32:12.95
20. Yuka Takashima (Japan) - 32:27.79
22. Rei Ohara (Japan) - 32:47.74

Men's Long Jump Qualification Group A
1. Jianan Wang (China) - 8.12 m +0.4 m/s - q
2. Kafetien Gomis (France) - 8.09 m +0.9 m/s - q
3. Aleksandr Menkov (Russia) - 8.08 m +0.4 m/s - q
-----
5. Yohei Sugai (Japan) - 7.92 m -0.6 m/s

Men's Javelin Throw Qualification Group A
1. Ryohei Arai (Japan) - 84.66 m - Q
2. Braian Toledo (Argentina) - 83.32 - NR - Q
3. Thomas Rohler (Germany)…

Beijing World Championships Day Two - Japanese Results

Bejing, China, 8/23/15
click here for complete results

Women's 100 m Heat 7-0.5 m/s
1. Rosangela Santos (Brazil) - 11.14 - Q
2. English Gardner (U.S.A.) - 11.16 - Q
3. Chisato Fukushima (Japan) - 11.23 - Q

Men's 400 m Heat 3
1. LaShawn Merritt (U.S.A.) - 44.51 - Q
2. Javon Francis (Jamaica) - 44.83 - Q
3. Kevin Borlee (Belgium) - 45.01- Q
-----
6. Yuzo Kanemaru (Japan) - 45.65

Men's 400 mH Semifinal 3
1. Michael Tinsley (U.S.A.) - 48.47 - Q
2. Nicholas Bett (Kenya) - 48.54 - Q
3. Kariem Hussein (Switzerland) - 48.59
-----
8. Yuki Matsushita (Japan) - 51.10

Men's 20 km RW
1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Spain) - 1:19:14 - PB
2. Zhen Wang (China) - 1:19:29
3. Benjamin Thorne (Canada) - 1:19:57 - NR
-----
14. Isamu Fujisawa (Japan) - 1:21:51
48. Eiki Takahashi (Japan) - 1:28:30
DNF - Yusuke Suzuki (Japan)

Beijing World Championships Day One - Japanese Results

This is how they watch track in Japan. pic.twitter.com/MuhnnTVrFT — Japan Running News (@JRNHeadlines) August 22, 2015Beijing, China, 8/22/15
click here for complete results

Men's 100 m Heat 1-0.1 m/s
1. Asafa Powell (Jamaica) - 9.95 - Q
2. Bingtian Su (China) - 10.03 - Q
3. Akani Simbine (South Africa) - 10.09 - Q
4. Kei Takase (Japan) - 10.15

Men's 10000 m
1. Mo Farah (Great Britain) - 27:01.13
2. Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor (Kenya) - 27:01.76
3. Paul Tanui (Kenya) - 27:02.83
4. Bedan Karoki (Kenya) - 27:04.77
5. Galen Rupp (U.S.A.) - 27:08.91
-----
18. Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Japan) - 28:25.77
22. Kenta Murayama (Japan) - 29:50.22
23. Yuta Shitara (Japan) - 30:08.35

Men's 400 mH Heat 1
1. Nicholas Bett (Kenya) - 48.37 - Q
2. Timofey Chalyy (Russia) - 49.05 - Q
3. Jeffery Gibson (Bahamas) - 49.09 - Q
---
8. Takayuki Kishimoto (Japan) - 49.78

Men's 400 mH Heat 2
1. Boniface Mucheru Tumuti (Kenya) - 48.79 - Q
2. Michael Tinsley (U.S.A.) - 48.91 - Q
3. Javier Culson (Puerto Rico) …

Beijing World Championships Men's Marathon - Japanese Results

by Brett Larner

For the first time since 1997 no Japanese men made the top 10 in a World Championships marathon.  With the withdrawal of Masato Imai (Team Toyota Kyushu), the favorite to clear the JAAF's top 8 requirement for a place on the Rio de Janeiro Olympic team, and no alternate in place to take his spot, Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) and Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko), both 34 and with sub-2:09 bests, had a chance of making it on paper, but neither proved up to the task.  Looking heavy in stride, Maeda was out of the lead pack early in the race.  Fujiwara looked more comfortable and lasted longer but likewise could not cope when the race really began.  Fujiwara ultimately finished 21st in 2:21:06, just ahead of the only Kenyan athlete to finish the race, with Maeda 40th out of 42 finishers in 2:32:49, seconds behind Mongolia's Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (Team NTN).  Chol Pak (North Korea), who had an unfortunate fall late in the race at last year's Asian Games, was the top …

Tulu, Kawauchi and Koitile Headline Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Men's Race

by Brett Larner

With 30 days to go until South Africa's Sanlam Cape Town Marathon the organizers have announced the men's elite field for a race the hope will elevate Cape Town from IAAF silver label status to become the first gold label race in Africa.  Defending champion and course record holder Willy Kibor Koitile (Kenya) returns to face 2013 Dusseldorf Marathon winner Dereje Debele Tulu (Ethiopia), 2014 Hofu Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi (Japan) appearing with support from JRN, 2013 Prague Marathon winner Nicholas Kipngeno Kemboi (Qatar), 2013 Castellón Marathon winner Andualem Belay Shiferaw (Ethiopia) and more.  Also in the field is South African great Hendrick Ramaala competing in the masters' division.  With course changes this year to take out some of the hills Koitile's 2:10:45 course record should be in range of a field featuring eight men who have run faster than that within the last three years.

Making his South African debut, Kawauchi will be hoping for a…

'New Plagiarism Concern, Now in U.S., for Tokyo Olympics Logo Designer'

http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20150821p2g00m0dm035000c.html

The two designs referenced in the article above, one by American Josh Divine from 2011 and the other from Tokyo Olympics logo designer Kenjiro Sano from earlier this year:

#五輪エンブレム】佐野氏の『おおたBITOロゴ』見た米デザイナー「法律顧問と相談したい」★2 2020年東京五輪公式エンブレムを制作したデザイナー、佐野研二郎氏(43)の ... http://t.co/4yLaLSRAHFpic.twitter.com/N0JuqmKlG0 — DatNews (@DatNews) August 20, 2015

Marathon Commentator Kin Makes Proposals for Olympic Sub-Track and 6:00 a.m. Marathon Start

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/society/news/2015/08/20/kiji/K20150820010967890.html

translated by Brett Larner

Speaking about the forthcoming new plans for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Aug. 19, former Hakone Ekiden star turned marathon broadcast commentator Tetsuhiko Kin made several proposals for the plans in response to a request from Tokyo Olympic Committee member Toshiaki Endo, saying, "If the softball field and tennis courts are relocated, the space can be used in a more flexible way including the building of a sub-track."  With regard to when to hold the 2020 Olympic marathons, Kin advised, "A start around 6:00 a.m. when temperatures are lower is the most realistic."

Takashima Feeling Ambitious Ahead of World Championships Debut

http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASH8L3S2KH8LONFB009.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Set to run the women's 10000 m at the Beijing World Championships, Yuka Takashima, 27, of the Denso corporation's Daian Factory in the city of Inabe, Mie, met with Inabe mayor Yasushi Hioki on Aug. 18 to talk about her hopes and plans for the race.  A native of Yamaguchi prefecture, Takashima now runs for Denso and can sometimes be seen training on the streets of Inabe.  Facing her world-level debut, Takashima was quietly confident as she told Mayor Hioki, "My ambition to compete with the best in the world is stronger than ever."  Mayor Hioki wrote "Fly on to the world!" and a personal support message on Takashima's t-shirt. 

The World Championships begin Aug. 22 with the the women's 10000 m scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m. (Japan time) on Aug. 24.  On the day of the race 200 Denso workers will watch Takashima run on TV in the factory cafeteria, while anot…

Japanese Team Heads to Beijing

http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2015/08/19/kiji/K20150819010962120.html

translated by Brett Larner

Concerned about the potentially serious impact of Beijing's air pollution, most of the Japanese team arriving for the upcoming World Championships were wearing surgical masks.  Running in the Championships' first event, the men's marathon, Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko) commented, "I'm a bit nervous since we're up first, but I want to try to get things off to a good start."  Looking toward the guaranteed place on the 2016 Rio Olympic team available if he finishes in the top 8, Maeda's marathon teammate Masakazu Fujiwara (Team Honda) said, "I'm going to run in the lead group right from first half."

Competing in his third-straight World Championships, sprinter Kei Takase (Team Fujitsu) spoke confidently as he said, "This is the best shape I've been in up to now.  More than anything I want to produce good results."  Along wi…

Beijing World Championships: 10 Races to Watch Japanese Athletes In (updated)

by Brett Larner
updated throughout World Championships as start lists are posted

Although its medal chances are slim, with three looking solid, a chance for five and even six conceivable, in many events Japan is sending one of its best-ever teams to the Aug. 22-30 Beijing World Championships.  The potential medal count may not be that large, but the real measurement of success will be progress at the next level down as everything in the Japanese industry focuses toward Tokyo 2020.  The stakes are high for Japanese athletes, as in every individual event the top-placing Japanese will secure a place on the Rio de Janeiro Olympic team if they make the top 8 in their final.  Based on the entry lists released by the IAAF on Aug. 15, with the possibility of breakthroughs into the top 10 and in a few cases the magic top 8 these ten events in Beijing are especially worth watching for fans of Japan at home and abroad:
Men's 20 km Race Walk: World record holder Yusuke Suzuki is the heavy favo…

Kawauchi Leads 700 Runners Through Nosappu Misaki Half Marathon

http://dd.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/area/doto/1-0169494.html

 translated by Brett Larner

On Aug. 16 the 34th running of the Hoppo Ryodo Nosappu Misaki Half Marathon took place along the Pacific coastal highways of far northeastern Hokkaido.  Blessed with perfect weather, over 700 runners gave it their best with encouraging cheers from local residents crowding the roadside. 

The race featured three distances, the main half marathon as well as 10 km and 3.7 km races, with participation numbers increasing year by year.  Last year's winner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) returned to run as part of the masses, finishing 1st in 1:07:01.  "I have the Rio Olympics and London World Championships coming up," he said, "so I won't be able to run this race next year or the year after that.  But I will definitely be back three years from now!"

Half marathon senior division runner-up Seiji Okabe, 61, laughed as he commented, "I've run here every year since th…

Temporary Track Still Planned for New Olympic Stadium - "No Land Nearby"

http://www.nikkansports.com/general/news/1522682.html

translated by Brett Larner

Despite strong demands from JAAF officials for a permanent sub-track to be included in forthcoming revised plans for the New National Stadium that will be the flagship venue of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, on Aug. 13 it was confirmed that only a temporary sub-track will be built.

On July 29 JAAF officials including chairman Hiroshi Yokokawa and executive board member Naoko Takahashivisited Olympic Games Committee executive Toshiaki Endo to confirm the status of the plans for a sub-track and stress the importance of a permanent one from a former athlete's point of view.  However, multiple government officials told them that there were no plans for a permanent sub-track, saying, "There is no land nearby [for a permanent sub-track], so there is no chance but to stick with the original plans for a temporary sub-track."

Without a permanent sub-track the new stadium will not be able…

'Suntory Pulls Promotional Bags Bearing Designs of Tokyo Olympics Emblem Creator'

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/08/13/national/suntory-pulls-promotional-bags-bearing-designs-tokyo-olympics-emblem-creator/#.Vc0g9L8pKw2

In his defense of his Tokyo Olympics logo design last week, Kenjiro Sano stressed that the design was "something made starting from zero" and that "as an art director I have never ripped anything off."  While some of the comparisons below are pretty doubtful at best, a few clearly make use of pre-existing images and one, the swimmer and shadow, looks undeniably like a copy of the original's style.  Their withdrawal from the Suntory promo campaign is a major blow to the credibility of Sano's Tokyo logo defense.
サントリー、佐野氏デザインの一部賞品を取り下げ 佐野研二郎(本名・朴尊簸) http://t.co/3ub2dWdK5Q(朝鮮人はパクリの名人) pic.twitter.com/WlDumNMpwq — yosida (@honned_tubuyaki) August 13, 2015

18 Teams Set to Run Second Edition of Nikko Irohazaka Women's Ekiden

http://www.shimotsuke.co.jp/news/tochigi/sports/general/news/20150813/2050831

translated by Brett Larner

As part of its mission to make the tourist town of Nikko a "runner's paradise," on Aug. 12 the organizing committee of the Nikko Irohazaka Women's Ekiden released the list of teams scheduled to run the event's second running on Nov. 29.  18 teams from 16 universities in the Kanto and Kansai regions will take part, an increase of 4 teams over last year's inaugural edition.

After starting at Nikko Daiyagawa Park, the 6-stage uphill course covers 23.4 km from the historic area of Nikko up the steep slopes of Irohazaka to finish at Nikko Futarasan shrine.  Last year Tokyo Nogyo University became the event's first champions.  This year they return along with rivals Daito Bunka University, a Tokyo University alumni team, and first-timers Nihon University, Nihon Joshi University, Nihon Joshi Taiiku University and Nittai University.

Hokkaido Marathon Elite Field

by Brett Larner

This year's 29th edition of the Hokkaido Marathon features an all-Japanese invited elite field led by sub-2:11 men Hideaki Tamura (Team JR Higashi Nihon) and Ryosuke Fukuyama (Team Honda) and 2011 World Championships marathoner and defending women's champion Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease).  The race will take place simultaneously with the Beijing World Championships women's marathon.

Hokkaido Marathon
Sapporo, Hokkaido, 8/30/15
click here for detailed field listing

Men
Hideaki Tamura (JR Higashi Nihon) - 2:10:54 (Biwako 2013)
Ryosuke Fukuyama (Honda) - 2:10:59 (Biwako 2013)
Tomohiro Tanigawa (Konica Minolta) - 2:11:39 (Nagano 2015)
Ryoichi Matsuo (Asahi Kasei) - 2:12:11 (Nobeoka 2014)
Tatsunari Hirayama (Yasukawa Denki) - 2:12:38 (Nobeoka 2013)
Yu Chiba (Honda) - 2:13:19 (Beppu-Oita 2013)

Women
Azusa Nojiri (Hiratsuka Lease) - 2:24:57 (Osaka Women's 2012)
Chieko Kido (Canon AC Kyushu) - 2:29:08 (Osaka Women's 2015)
Aki Odagiri (Tenmaya) - 2:30:24 (Nagoya…

'Track & Field Announces Full Incoming Class: Golden Bears Bring In One Of The Nation's Top Classes'

http://www.calbears.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=30100&ATCLID=210260815

UC Berkeley recruits Koku Gakuin Prep Kugayama H.S. grad Takeshi Okada for its distance squad, a rare example of a good Japanese high schooler going to a U.S. program.  His twin brother Nozomu Okada runs for Waseda University, one of Japan's top running schools.  The pair's progress through the two systems should be interesting to follow in coming years.  Thanks to Dan Lilot for the link.

Tokyo Olympics Update: Prime Minister Abe's Party Proposes Not Building a New Stadium, A Demand For A Date Change to Autumn, and Takahashi Calling Current Plan a Fatal Mistake

translated and edited by Brett Larner
source articles linked within text

With just 1809 days left until the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics there are at least that many opinions floating around the Japanese media on what to do about the Olympic Stadium and other problems surrounding the Tokyo Olympics.  A sample of weekend articles:

Takahashi Calls for Permanent Sub-Track at Olympic Stadium
2000 Sydney Olympics women's marathon gold medalist and former world record holder Naoko Takahashi, a member of the JOC and JAAF executive committees as well as serving on the Tokyo Olympic Games Organizing Committee Athletes' Commission, appealed directly to the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee's Toshiaki Endoto stress the importance of having a permanent sub-track in the new stadium plans, calling the recent announcement that only a temporary sub-track would be included a "fatal" mistake as it would preempt the stadium being used for future international or national-level…

Yakult Scores First Towada Hachimantai Ekiden Title

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/local/akita/news/20150807-OYTNT50234.html

translated by Brett Larner

Carrying the tasuki over five stages covering 73.7 km from Lake Towada to Hachimantai, the 68th running of the Towada Hachimantai Ekiden took place August 7 in Akita prefecture, with the Yakult A team from Tokyo scoring its first win in 3:45:46, the sixth-fastest time in the event's history.  The top team from Akita, the Akita Track and Field Association team, finished 13th, three places better than last year.  The local Kazuno Track and Field Association team was 20th of 27 teams overall.

The race began at 8:00 at Lake Towada in Towada, Aomori.  Running on a tough course featuring 818 m total elevation difference made all the tougher by blistering sunshine under cloudless skies, many athletes collapsed after finishing their stages.  Charles Ndungu (Team Komori Corp.) ran a new stage record of 39:49 on the hilly 13.6 First Stage to open a lead of over one minute over his closest competitio…

Kenta and Kota Murayama - Amino Acid Supplements a Vital Partner in Building Stronger Bodies

http://number.bunshun.jp/articles/-/823811

by Takaomi Matsubara
translated and edited by Brett Larner

Kenta and Kota Murayama were born Feb. 23, 1993 in Miyagi prefecture.  After graduating from Meisei High School Kenta went to Komazawa University, where he played a major role in the team winning four-straight National University Ekiden titles, while Kota went to Josai University where he was coached by one hour run national record holder Seiji Kushibe.  As students both brothers had strong records of achievement outside the ekiden, Kenta breaking the Japanese university student half marathon record in 2014 with a PB of 1:00:50 and going on to run for the Japanese national team at the 2014 World Half Marathon Championships, and Kota running for the Japanese national team at the 2014 Asian Games where he ran a PB to place 5th in the 5000 m close behind four African-born athletes.  After their graduation this spring both twins joined the Asahi Kasei corporate team.  Both will run on the J…

Speed is the Key for Developing Stronger Distance Runners - 5000 m National Champion Kota Murayama's Josai University Coach Seiji Kushibe

http://sports.yahoo.co.jp/sports/athletic/all/2015/columndtl/201507270006-spnavi?page=1

translated and edited by Brett Larner
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When Kota Murayama (Team Asahi Kasei), who won the men's 5000 m at June's National Championships, graduated from Josai University this spring, he left with these words: "Looking back on my four years of university, the thing I'm most proud of is running 3:39.56 my senior year.  When I entered university my goal was to run 3:45, so I never imagined I'd run in the 3:30s.  It makes me really happy to have gotten faster than I expected of myself."  Murayama's 3:39.56 was the fastest Japanese men's time last year and the first time in three years that a Japanese runner had broken 3:40.

With the 5000 m as his main focus, Murayama's view that the 1500 m was just something to help him get stronger never faltered, but given that he calls his 1500 m result "the thing I'm most proud of in th…