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Friday, Feb. 12, 2010

Exhibit shows joy of the run

Staff writer

Ikuo Tatsumi, senior assistant editor of the audiovisual news department at Kyodo News, has a second business card, on which he describes himself as a "running-marathon photographer."

News photo
Best foot forward: A female runner waves to spectators while running the 2008 Tokyo Marathon. IKUO TATSUMI PHOTO

A 20-year amateur runner who has completed more than 40 marathon races worldwide, Tatsumi has captured the festivity surrounding the runners, supporting staff and cheering spectators at races everywhere — from Rome to New York to Vancouver — while running them himself. Some of his pictures are now on display at Ring Cube, on the eighth and ninth floors of San-ai Dream Center, a landmark columnar building along Ginza's Chuo Street.

Also featured are photos from the 2009 Tokyo Yumeoi Marathon, a citizens' event originally aimed at campaigning for a grassroots, carnival-like marathon in Tokyo — as opposed to races featuring elite athletes only. Started in 2001, the Yumeoi Marathon was a major driving force for the 2007 launch of the Tokyo Marathon, Tatsumi says, noting that the massive running event, coming up this year on Feb. 28, is still not international enough compared with races in other cities around the world. In races in New York and Rome, for instance, nonlocal runners account for up to 40 percent of all participants and people from the world over engage in grassroots cultural exchange, with many donning uniforms representing their home countries, he says.

"One reason I wanted to have Tokyo host an international marathon was because, at races I participated overseas, runners would always say to runners from other countries, 'Come see my country next time!' I couldn't say that until Tokyo had its own marathon," the 49-year-old photographer says. "Marathon is such a barrier-free sport, as super athletes and handicapped people, men and women, and people across different cultures can all join in."

Tatsumi, dressed as a jogger, will greet visitors daily at Ring Cube (5-7-2, Ginza, Chuo Ward, Tokyo) until Sunday. Admission is free. Runners passing through the area can get a drink as a gift at the reception. The gallery is open 11 a.m. till 8 p.m. (till 5 p.m. on Sunday). For more information, visit ringcube.jp

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