Chinese Blogger Spreads Appeal of Hakone Ekiden Running Relay Race

Ichiro Ohara / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Chinese participants listen to a presentation about the Tokyo-Hakone Intercollegiate Ekiden at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on Saturday.

BEIJING — An event to promote the Tokyo-Hakone Intercollegiate Ekiden was held at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on Saturday ahead of the 100th edition of the annual running relay race in January.

Hu Zesheng, a 35-year-old Chinese blogger who is a fan of the race, came up with the idea of the event, which was then jointly held by the Japanese Embassy and other organizations. Hu became enthusiastic about the Hakone Ekiden after watching a video of it about eight years ago, and he visited Japan to watch on the roadside the preliminary round for next year’s race this October.

“I share the sense of togetherness,” he said.

Hu is now aiming for an event in which Japanese and Chinese people can mingle through an ekiden race.

At the event on Saturday, Hu introduced the history of the Hakone Ekiden using video clips. Such relay races are not widely known in China, but he told participants, “We need an ekiden.”

“I thought it was wonderful that young people devoted themselves to ekiden,” said Kui Jun, a 36-year-old online media editor who attended the event.