Kanpei Back on Home Soil

Hazama Kanpei

More than two years after setting off on his Earth Marathon, comedian Hazama Kanpei (61) arrived back on Japanese soil in the early hours of Tuesday. He has sailed the Pacific and Atlantic, and run across North America, Europe and Asia before sailing between China and Fukuoka on the southern island of Kyushu. About 2,500 fans braved the early morning cold and rain to join his wife Mitsuyo, his two grandchildren and the mayor of Fukuoka at the city’s marina to welcome home the popular comedian.

Up to Hazama’s arrival back in Japan, the combined distance he has covered is estimated at about 40,400km. He now faces the final challenge – running the last 620km across western Japan to his goal in Osaka, where he is scheduled to reach the Osaka Castle Hall on January 21. The momentous event will be televised live.

A New Year TV special showed Hazama in tears as he ran the final few kilometers through the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao. During his mammoth run across Eurasia, he was told that he was suffering from prostate cancer. But even that discovery only temporarily sidelined him and he spent several weeks undergoing treatment in the U.S. before getting back on the road in Turkmenistan last June.