Ekiden Pass

Takes place December 20, 2015

Every Fall is the Kume Island marathon relay (aka ekiden). There are nearly thirty aza (neighborhoods), and since Kumejima has been around for so long tensions can rise between the members and families of different areas. Many have their own festivals, traditions, and ideals. For a long time the various communities were organized into two villages, but not long ago those villages were incorporated into Kumejima Town. Independent communities became one entity. In order to avoid creating more tension and bring the separate communities together the leaders of Kumejima sought to facilitate communications through friendly sporting competitions. The ekiden is one modern competition to bring both the smaller communities, and Kumejima as a whole, closer together.

RunningEach aza selects a team for the competition which comprises 16 segments over nearly 40 kilometers. This requires a meeting which is an opportunity for locals to meet at the community center (kominkan). During the actual race, even those who aren’t participating gather to cheer on their teams. Everyone from babies to grandmothers line the roads to cheer on everyone.

The event starts and ends at the Nakazato Ground in the Eef Area, circling the island in a counter-clockwise course.

Ekiden Pass

At the end of the night, after awards, each aza meets at their kominkan to celebrate their victory, loss, or participation.

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