Hiroshi Ota

 Hiroshi Ota 10.10.18

Hiroshi Ota 10.10.18


Hiroshi Ota -

Director of Global Education at Hitotsubashi University and avid fan of Japanese sports & sports history, Professor Ota described how spectators typically support ekiden and react to the drama unfolding around it.  Having attended university in America and then several years conducting business in the U.S., Hiroshi Ota has a strong foundation in understanding intercultural communications.  As such, he was able to assist us in identifying subtle Japanese behavioral patterns that are reflective of societal values.


Notes & Reflections  

2017 Yosenkai Qualifier 

In order to compete in Hakone there are three major qualifying races that Tokyo-area teams must attend. We caught our first glimpse of the pre-Hakone excitement at the 2017 Tachikawa Yosenkai Qualifing race. Just twenty-four hours before we took the train to Tachikawa, Ota-san sat down to talk with us about the varying elements of the competition.  

Pre-Race Enthusiasm  

Imagine: 50 teams. 500 total athletes and hundreds of supporters. 20km to run

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Japanese cheering squads that preform before the race begins

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Ekiden Cheerleaders 

50 teams - 50 cheer squads dancing, drumming and cheering on their respective teams 


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9:00 AM the race begins

Approximately 500 runners race through the Showa Kinen Park in Tachikawa, Tokyo


What is more important? The individual runner or the collective group? 

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Alumni Networking

How do you keep track of who is winning? The Alumni - tally sheets and counting help the fans know who is winning.

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International Runners


2017 Yosenkai Race Results 

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Crowd watches final runners finish

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2016 Yosenkai Qualifer

According to Ota, during the 2016 Yosenkai Qualifing Race Chuo University failed to make the top 10 seats. As a result, Chuo University could not compete in Hakone for the first time since 1925.

  Photo Courtesy:  QP Publishing 

Photo Courtesy: QP Publishing 

  Photo Courtesy:  QP Publishing  - 

Photo Courtesy: QP Publishing  - 

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