On January 2024, 1, a major earthquake with a magnitude of 1 struck the Noto Peninsula. Estimated to have a magnitude of 7, the earthquake caused extensive damage to buildings, caused fires, tsunamis, upheavals, and landslides to hit depopulated areas, killing more than 7 people.

When Hideo Okubo, head of philosophy at Kanazawa Seiryo University, toured Suzu City and other areas in late April, he found that water was still cut off, collapsed houses remained untouched, and there seemed to be few people around. Although diligent reconstruction and restoration work is underway, it seems that complete recovery will still take some time.

The Noto Peninsula was once home to the Noto Ekiden, one of the three major relay races along with Ise and Hakone. President Okubo proposes the revival of the Noto Ekiden for 2029.

 

Regarding the “Ishikawa Prefecture Creative Recovery Plan (tentative name)”

 Ishikawa Prefecture has announced the "Ishikawa Prefecture Creative Recovery Plan (tentative name)," which is divided into short-term (5 years), medium-term (XNUMX years), and long-term (XNUMX years), and aims to XNUMX) build disaster-resistant communities based on lessons learned; The city plans to work on recovery based on five pillars: XNUMX) rebuilding Noto's distinctive livelihoods, XNUMX) rebuilding livelihoods and communities, XNUMX) creating safe and secure communities, and XNUMX) creating leading creative recovery projects. This ⑤ "Creation of leading creative reconstruction projects" includes examples of "cultural and artistic events that will become symbols of the reconstruction of the Noto region" and "hosting sports events."

 When I saw this, I decided that I wanted to make it happen.The Noto Ekiden was held for 1968 years from 1977 to 50, about 10 years ago, and was officially known as the All-Japan University Selection Noto Peninsula. This is the revival of the One-lap Ekiden Championship.

The phantom “Noto Ekiden”

 Currently, the three major relay races for (male) university students are the Tokyo-Hakone Round Trip Relay Race (hereinafter referred to as the ``Hakone Ekiden''), the ``All Japan University Ekiden Championship'' (hereinafter referred to as the ``Ise Ekiden''), and the ``Izumo All Japan University Selection Relay Race'' (hereinafter referred to as the ``Ise Ekiden''). However, up until the 1970s, the three major relay races were the Hakone Ekiden, the Ise Ekiden, and the Noto Ekiden.

 The tournament started in 1968 in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture (in front of the Yomiuri Shimbun Hokuriku Branch Office) and ended in Nanao City, but from the third tournament in 1970, the tournament started in Takaoka City and covered the Noto Peninsula. It was the largest and longest relay race at the time, completing one lap and finishing in Kanazawa City (then in front of the prefectural office, now in front of the Shiinoki Guest House), and top runners from all over the country gathered. This course ran through Toyama Bay, Uchiura, Sotoura, and Mt. Utatsuyama in Kanazawa, and was the toughest race in Japan, covering 26 km in 341.6 sections over three days, with scenic views and varying ups and downs. (See course map)

Figure "Noto Ekiden" (10th race) course map (1977)

 The event was originally held in 1968, when the Noto Peninsula was designated as a national park. The Noto Peninsula suddenly attracted attention as ``Japan's last unexplored region, a solitary island on land,'' and tourists began flocking from all over the country. The ``Noto Ekiden'' was planned to commemorate this designation as a national national park and to accelerate the Noto Peninsula boom. Initially, it was planned as a commemorative event by the tourism associations of Nanao City and other related municipalities, but after the event, the organizer, Yomiuri Shimbun, and people involved in the relay race said, ``The course, the scale, the largest in Japan.'' The event was highly acclaimed, saying, "This will be a great student relay race," and the event has been continued.

  In the 10th tournament (1977), which had the largest number of participating teams, 12 teams participated, with the rankings being: 1st place Nippon Sport Science University, 2nd place Tokyo University of Agriculture, 3rd place Daito Bunka University, 4th place Kyoto Sangyo University, 5th place was Chukyo University, 6th place was Tokai University, 7th place was Komazawa University, 8th place was Osaka University of Physical Education, 9th place was Tohoku Gakuren, 10th place was Hokushinetsu Gakuren, 11th place was Osaka University of Commerce, and 12th place was Hokkaido Gakuren. In this way, the ``Noto Ekiden'' was literally a university relay race in which university students from all over Japan gathered together (Hakone Ekiden is basically a local tournament of the Kanto Gakuren, not a national relay race). However, in October 1973, with the outbreak of the Fourth Middle East War, Japan was hit by an oil shock. As prices soared and the Yomiuri Shimbun, the largest sponsor, cut costs, it became increasingly difficult to run the tournament. In addition, a traffic accident involving a escort car that occurred during the 10th tournament in 1977 dealt a decisive blow. To this day, it has never been held again. This is why it is called the ``phantom Noto Ekiden.''

Aiming for revival in 2029

 As of May 2024, roads have been cut off due to the Noto Peninsula earthquake, and there is no road that can go around the Noto Peninsula. However, it will most likely be restarted within the next few years. I also believe that the damaged houses along the road will be rebuilt, albeit little by little. Five years after the mid-term period of the "Ishikawa Prefecture Creative Revitalization Plan (tentative name)" ends, around 5, young people across the country will cheer along the roadsides, listen to the sound of construction hammers, and make their powerful footsteps echo, step by step. I believe that if we step on this earth and engrave our thoughts of repose of souls and recovery, we will lead to a symbolic recovery from the Noto Peninsula earthquake. "In 5, there will be a ``Requiem and Reconstruction ``Noto Peninsula Round Ekiden''!'' What do you think?

【references】Eitetsu Okubo (editor), “The phantom “Noto Ekiden” that tried to surpass the Hakone Ekiden,” 2019, Noto Printing Publishing Department
【Quote】Kanazawa Seiryo University President’s Column “Requiem and reconstruction “Noto Peninsula Ekiden” in 2029! ”

Kanazawa Seiryo University

President Hidetoshi Okubo

Born in Aomori Prefecture in 1950. Completed the Graduate School of Physical Education, University of Tsukuba in 1982. Doctorate (academic) in 1997.
Lecturer at Morioka University, assistant professor and professor at Kanazawa University. Professor Emeritus in 2015, Specially Appointed Professor at Kanazawa Seiryo University. In 2020, she served as president of Kanazawa Seiryo University Women's Junior College, and has been in her current position since 2022. Her specialty is physical education and sports history. Author of numerous books and articles, including ``Research on the History of Local Physical Education in the Meiji Period'', ``From Tied Legs to Natural Legs: School Girls' Physical Education in Taiwan in the Early Japanese Colonial Period'', and ``The Phantom Noto Ekiden that Tried to Surpass the Hakone Ekiden''. Her hobbies include skiing/skating, tennis, and walking. She publishes the ``President's Column'' and ``From the Window of the President's Office'' (~2024.3/Junior College) on the university website.

 

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