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Shisō Kanakuri

At first I planned to post the entry on the first episode of "Idaten" but the images that is necessary for it have not uploaded on the official website as yet. So I post this entry today.

Shisō Kanakuri was a Japanese marathon runner and a professor of a higher normal school. He was born in Tamana, Kumamoto in 1891.

He was educated in Tokyo Kōtō Shihan Gakkō, current Tsukuba University. When he studied at the Shihan Gakkō, he qualified for the Stockholm Olympics and became the first Japanese athlete who joined the Olympic Games. However he suffered from sunstroke in the race and was nursed by local farmers. He had to drop pout of the race because he regained his consciousness on the following morning.

There were some reasons why he became ill. Firstly, there was no system that makes an athlete keep the good condition. Secondly, it took time to go to Sweden from Japan at that time so he was tired. Thirdly, the temperature was about 40 degrees Celsius on the day and he had to run to the stadium owing to the committee's mistake. Besides he couldn't eat rice there and the white night didn't make him sleep well.

He couldn't do well in the subsequent Olympic Games. On the other hand, he took part in  the first ekiden race in 1917. He also made efforts to realise Hakone Ekiden, the race competed by the university teams in Kantō area on the 2nd and 3rd of January every year. His made achievements in athletics in Japan and his statues now stands in his hometown Tamana. And some cups of the races of ekiden or marathon are named after him.

In March 1967, he was invited to the ceremony that memorialised the 55th anniversary of the Olympics 1912. He breasted the tape at the ceremony and there was an announcement that the Olympic Games finished with this. It took more than 54 years until the end of the Olympics. He said that it was so long and he had five grandchildren before his "goal".

His "missing" in the race was adapted for "Monty Python's Flying Circus" and Bo Grandien, a Swedish novelist wrote a novel based on it. He spent his last days in his hometown and died in 1983 at the age of 92. 

The image shows NAKAMURA Kankurō VI as Shisō Kanakuri
(From the official website of "Idaten")


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