A world record

This year Japan won the world soccer championship for women by beating the US in the final game in Frankfurt, Germany. This was a remarkable achievement for which the Japanese team earned a lot of praise. In Sweden there are two old sports events that still linger in our minds and which are very much related to Japan. One is the match between the Swedish and Japanese soccer teams during the Olympic games in Berlin in 1936. The Swedish team underestimated the the Japanese team and lost by 2-3. The famous commentator Sven Jerring described the match in a depressed way in a radio broadcast that has become legendary.

The other event is the marathon which took place during the Oympic games in Stockholm in 1912. The Japanese runner Kanaguri Shizo simply disappeared during the race and he was nowhere to be found. People speculated for years what had happened to him and in the end he became famous as “the Japanese that disappeared”. In the 1960s a Swedish newspaper started to investigate the incident and finally found out what had happened. The runner was living in Kumamoto and had no idea that he was described in Sweden as a missing athlete. Mr. Kanaguri explained that the race had been held during an extremely hot day and as he passed a Swedish house with a nice garden in the suburbs of Stockholm he was invited by the family living there to enjoy a glass of lemonade. The drink was so good that he abandoned the idea of finishing the race. And he managed to leave Sweden without being noticed by the organizers.

In 1967 he was invited to Stockholm to symbolically finish the race and thus he holds the world record for finishing a marathon in the longest time ever:

54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 8 hours and 20,3 seconds.


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