5,000 sprint for title of ‘Lucky Man’


Some 5,000 men burst through the gates of Nishinomiya Shrine in Hyogo Prefecture at 6 a.m. on Thursday morning and raced 230 meters toward the shrine's main hall with the frontrunners attempting to capture the title of fuku-otoko ("Lucky Man").

The annual New Year ceremony, which has been held since the Edo period, is associated with Ebisu, a god of prosperous business. The first three participants to reach the main gates are considered Japan's luckiest men for the year.

The lucky runner who took first place was Yuki Yamamoto, a 21-year-old fireman from Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture, Fuji TV reported. He said he hopes his win will help cheer up the people of his home town which was hit by flooding and mudslides last summer.

Among the prizes Yamamoto received were a barrel of sake and rice.

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I'll bet the race is "over" before the last people in the race even pass the start line。

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I watched it this morning and you know that's true

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yubaru: I'll bet the race is "over" before the last people in the race even pass the start line。

Probably. And the winner was positioned at the front of the pack at the starting line. If you look closely, you can spot him on the left-hand side during the mad rush when the doors first burst open.

That said, who cares? It's a fun tradition, and I'd love to take part in that. I enjoy seeing this video and news reported every year.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Among the prizes Yamamoto received were a barrel of sake and rice.

Mixed together? Yeesh.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Another great Japanese cultural tradition.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Has a gaijin ever won this race?!

Agree with TOW, I think it's a great/fun tradition.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

i agree... to win the race you probably have to line up 3 days before in front of the gates to get one of the lucky 10 or so spots that really allows you to race for the title. Still look fun :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I remembered seeing on TV Bobby Ologun and some of his Nigerian buddies doing this but they were towards the back. By the time they enter, people just jog and the winners are already like 5-10 minutes ahead. 5000 people is a lot.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Best training method is to go one of the major theme parks and race against the crowd to the most popular attraction at opening time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Pretty stupid, as it’s literally guaranteed that someone in the first 20-30 row (narrow gate) will win. Seems kinda dangerous though with 5000 people trampling each other.

Just like with many things here I bet half the “fun” is sitting around in a massive crowd before and after.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Getting a good starting position is one aspect of the 'lucky' part. Otherwise it's just a foot race and luck would have nothing to do with it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How do they determine who gets to line up at the very front?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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