Thursday, July 8, 2010

Japanese man comes to Bozeman with unique take on running and the world

Ask Nishi Hajime what his best time in a marathon is, and he'll quote an inordinate, 10 hour-plus time clocked in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. His worst time, he says, was a three-hour course time in Southern California.

Not that Nishi, a 61-year-old man from Japan, uses time to measure his performance. He's more likely to tell you how many pictures he took while running a course. During his most recent run, he took 150 snapshots, a low number.
Nishi has run marathons on all seven continents - yes, Virginia, there are marathons on Antarctica - and all 50 states.
He's run marathons in "only" 72 countries, which he says leaves him with 278 nations to run in. And he has run two marathons in Montana, with an upcoming third this Sunday at the Lewis and Clark Marathon in Bozeman.

Marathons, Nishi said, help him understand other cultures and places, and going slow helps him spread his philosophy, which is, basically, anti-competitive. "You don't need to be a winner all the time. The best is to be the last runner," he said Friday in an interview. "Losing is winning. Everyone can't be first, but everyone can be themselves, and that is what's beautiful." His approach draws attention. He said Germans, whose have a zeal for competition, were perplexed. "They couldn't understand why this guy looked so happy being the last runner to cross the finish line," Nishi said.

His approach also extends well beyond changing how people run races. He has a vision of a world drawn closer through running. Here's how he sees it working: First, he hopes more runners leave their countries to run elsewhere, so they can learn about other cultures. For example, before traveling to Lahore, Pakistan, to run a marathon there, all he had heard about the Muslim country was that it was the home of al Qaeda and the Taliban. But the thousands of people who lined the streets to cheer runners on changed his perception.

"Wherever I go, they love to see runners. People from all around the world love to see runners. If we open our minds about them, we can understand them," he said. Second, he hopes that as more people learn about other countries, they can begin coming together, he said. East Asian countries could form a union akin to the European Union, for example. By 2074, that union and the EU could form a trans-Eurasian group and eventually be merged with other continental unions. Nishi's travels require significant financial means, and he said he made his as the CEO of a film licensing company in Japan.

For years, he said, he focused on accumulating wealth and power. But at age 38, he lost his wife and decided to change focus."I had a mission to not just make money, not just be powerful, but be meaningful," he said.
If his vision of the future seems fanciful, he points to some of the popular movies he helped release in Japan, like "2010," a sequel to "2001: A Space Odyssey," in which Americans and Russians make a joint mission to Jupiter.
"I was very impressed by the movie, ‘2010,' he said. "2010, that's this year."

Daniel Person can be reached at

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hajime Nishi, Globe-trotting Ecomarathoner

Hosteller Spotlight: Hajime Nishi, Globe-trotting Ecomarathoner

What's your name and where are you from?
My name is Hajime Nishi and I'm from Tokyo, Japan.

What are you doing in Chicago?
I'm in the United States running marathons. I ran one in Colorado last week, and I am doing two in Illinois week. The Rockford Marathon and the The Des Plaines River Canoe and Kayak Marathon.

Oh wow! So you run a lot of marathons? Yes, I have run 568 marathons in 72 different countries.
How did you get so into running marathons?In 1990 I started to experience a lot of personal and spiritual growth thanks to a series of workshops at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, and I began to run many marathons. By 1997 I was the first person who ran seven marathons on each of seven continents in seven months. I'm in the Guinness Book of World Records!

You're famous! What do you in Tokyo when you're not busy traveling the world running marathons?
Actually, I am the founder of an organization called Ecomarathon International. It's based on the philosophy of the ecomarathon. The idea is to lower the bar of the marathon - to make it more inclusive to society - and to increase the winnings of the environment. Before, I thought, "Winner takes all. It's very important to win." And now, I realize this is wrong. Everyone has value, not just the winner. Marathons should respect it's participants, the environment and local culture, and that is what I am trying to do.

When did you think of this idea?
Well, 1990 was a big turning point in my life. I realized that I did not want to run for competitive reasons, but to feel a connection with the environment. I was attending a personal growth workshop in California. I was also running in the Navajo Tribal Park Marathon, which is a very scenic and sacred race. I realized what a truly sacred place it was, and as I was running, I started to pick up trash as I went along. I wasn't racing to make a certain time and I realized I wanted to give back to the environment as I was running. That's where it started. Before competitive marathons spread like a disease, I want to spread the idea of ecomarathons so that we can live in peace and harmony with each other and the environment.

Have you organized an ecomarathon?
The first official Ecomarathon will be held on April 3, 2011 in Inba Nihon Idai & Lake Inba near the Tokyo International Airport.

What are the rules of an ecomarathon?
If you drop any garbage and don't pick it up - even if it's by accident - you are automatically disqualified. You are also disqualified if you arrive in a vehicle, unless it's electric. Otherwise you must come by foot, on bicycle, or by public transportation. You can only use reusable water containers, and the food served will be from the ground of local farmers. People will race with bags so they can pick up trash along the way. The race is not timed, and there will be three different start times so that the walkers can start early. People can take up to 9 hours to complete the race!

So there will be no winners?
No, we don't need winners. We need an eco-hero!

Eco-hero? Sounds like a superhero!
Yes! People will be encouraged to dress up in costumes too. And instead of getting a number, they will put a nickname on their shirt.

This is definitely a unique concept!
How will you explain this to people who are doubtful?
A marathon, and any sporting event, should be a reason to unite humanity. Sports are a great tool to promote peace, human rights, and the environment. A marathon can be very fulfilling to the runner if they are connected with the environment and humanity while they participate. I hope this concept will expand to many people and places.

Back to you - where are some of the unique places you've run marathons?
Dubai and Pakistan. The whole country knew about me when I came to Pakistan to run the marathon. They thought, who is this crazy Japanese guy running a marathon in Pakistan?!

Where was your favorite marathon?
I give ratings to each marathon based on the level of environmentally friendliness. The best one I ran, which was AAA rated, was in 1995 in Morea, Tahiti. In 2002, the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race was a AAA-. I picked up 25 kg of garbage during the 3 days. This marathon was very scenic and beautiful, and was also good for the local community. It brought a lot of cultural exchange and business.

What marathon has the worst rating?
Well, it's difficult to say. But some of the most famous marathons, in terms of the environmental effect, are very bad. The organizers care about the size and don't care about the bad effects on the environment. So where can people find out more information about you and your mission?They can go to And they can come to Japan in April 2011 to run in the very first Ecomarathon!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

西 一のプロフィール

コスプレごみ拾いで、ZERO EMISSIONを印旛沼から世界へ!
をテーマとするエコインバ 主催:NPO法人エコマラソン・インターナショナル理事長

西 一のプロフィール

エコインバ は、印西市に居を構えるNPO法人エコマラソン・インターナショナル理事長であり、世界初のスポーツイベントの環境格付け(エコマラソン国際環境評価)考案者、国際スポーツイベントガイドブック、Ecomarathon Data Book著者、ギネスの7大陸マラソン最速走破世界記録創造者であるにもかかわらず、「世界で最ものんびり走れるランナー」として、1990年から2049年の60年間で250ヶ国の千マラソン参加を通し、世界の人々に環境への気付きを高め、全ての人が平等な機会の下、環境的に調和して暮らせる恒久平和社会、One People, One Planetの22世紀迄の実現をめざすことを生涯の使命として取組んでいる事実が独版Wikipediaに紹介されている西 一(が1990年から19年間で楽しんで来た7大陸72ヶ国の566マラソン参加体験(2009年12月現在)を基に考案されました。

1949 京都市に生まれる。                       
1971 桑沢デザイン研究所ビジュアルデザイン課を卒業し、西武百貨店池袋店のデザイナーとして就職。
1972 英語学習の為、サンフランシスコに渡航。英語習得後、北中南米、欧州、アフリカ、アジアを旅行。
1974 帰国後、ブラジルへの技術移住をめざし京都建築専門学校に入学し、建築士試験に合格。
1976 JICA最後の海外技術移住者として妻と共にブラジル移住し、リオとサンパウロで建築業開業。
1981 ブラジルでの建築業を売却後、帰国し、京都で輸入ビデオソフト通信販売業開業。
1983 輸入ビデオソフト通信販売業者として最大の輸入(通関実績による)・販売額を達成。
1987 妻をがんで亡くした後、輸入ビデオソフト通信販売業と並行し、(株)ニシフィルムズ開業。
1988 米国フィットネススターのビデオ独占頒布権を取得後、プロモーターとして招聘し、各イベントを成功に導く。
1990 米国カリフォルニア州のエサレン研究所で自己成長のワークショップ初受講後、ホノルルで初マラソン完走。
1995 北米モニュメントバレー80Kmレースでのゴミ拾いを通し、ZERO EMISSIONのエコマラソンを提唱開始。
1997 7大陸マラソン最速走破世界記録達成。筋トレ+パワーウォーキングを解説する「超シャイプアップ」が刊行。
2000 米国50州+DCと50ヶ国のマラソン走破を達成。
2001 地球上全ての生命体が自然と調和して暮らせる恒久平和社会、One People, One Planet
2003 55国255種類マラソンをエコマラソン国際環境評価で格付けしたEcomarathon Data Bookを刊行。
2005 スピードよりも環境を優先するエコマラソンの大切さを説く「エコマラソン」が刊行。
2006 日本を除く14ヶ国での72マラソンを楽しみ、年間最高国際マラソン走破世界記録達成。
2008 千葉県印旛村に移住後、印旛沼水質浄化をめざすZERO EMISSIONエコインバ 構想誕生。
© 2010-2011 Ecomarathon International, a Non-Profit Organization


日本経済新聞 2009年11月26日夕刊15面「うたた寝」


2011年春開催を予定しているのが「エコマラソン印旛(エコインバ)」だ。場所は里山など豊かな自然が残る印旛沼。運営方法はその多くが既成の大会を反面教師にしている。26ヶ所に設けられる給水所では紙コップを全廃。ランナーは持参したマイカップ、マイ水筒で給水タンクから取水する。コース内でゴミを落とし、指摘されても拾わなかった場合は失格。会場への交通は公共交通機関や自転車を義務づけ、車での来場は禁止だ。達成感を味わってもらうため、制限時間は破格の9時間。最大の特徴はタイム計測をしないことだ。終了後、表彰されるのはゴミ拾いに奮闘したり、道中ほほえましい写真を撮った人たち。ランナー同士の交流も重視しており、1000人の定員のうち半数は外国人と想定、海外への発信も続けている。     (編集委員 芦田富雄)

A runner who logs 60 marathons a year tries to conserve more than just his energy

A runner who logs 60 marathons a year tries to conserve more than just his energy
By Jon Billman

Hajime Nishi, 58, ran his 496th marathon, the cold and windy thunder Road Marathon in Charlotte, North Carolina, then caught an evening flight, arriving at a Motel 6 Tropicana in Las Vegas, towing only a pilot's case, just before midnight. Six hours later, at the chilly start of the 2006 New Las Vegas Marathon, Nishi cues up in the predawn darkness. He's near the end of the throng of more than 16,000 runners, and he's wearing the same nipple Band-Aids he raced in yesterday.
Reusing Band-Aids (each pair lasts for two marathons) may not seem like much of a conservation effort--unless you run as many marathons as Nishi does. In 2006, he ran 72 marathons in 11 countries; for 2007, he's on track to log another 60 marathons in 25 countries. He averages five a month, and his long-term goal is to finish 1,000 marathons in 250 countries by 2049, when he will be a century old.
Despite his full itinerary, Nishi is never in a rush to get to his next destination--finish lines included. Nishi, you see, is an "ecomarathoner," a term he uses to describe his approach to running, in which his goal is to find "harmony" with his surroundings. And so Nishi lingers and enjoys the environment of the marathon. He never pushes himself beyond his physical limits and is always one of the last to finish. "Amateur runners who race just for time need psychotherapy," says Nishi, whose "worst" marathon time is 3:45, and "best" is 10:32. "What is the purpose? Ecomarathon is beyond competition, but with connection."
Before he was reborn as an ecomarathoner, Nishi was the quintessential overworked Japanese executive. He lost his wife to cancer in 1988 and found himself a single father of three children. "I had heartache," he says. "I was so lonely." After his children were grown, he dissolved his company and enrolled in personal growth seminars at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. His spiritual quest led him to his slow-running philosophy, which was inspired by the Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei, near Nishi's hometown of Kyoto. The monks run for 100 consecutive days in search of enlightenment. Nishi sees himself on a similar path.
Joining the Movement
"This is a wonderful runner's privilege, running the Las Vegas Strip with no traffic!" Nishi says. He runs slowly, his stride full, controlled, and graceful. "The slowest runner is coming."
Nishi does run--he strides and even sprints now and then to blow the cobwebs out of his motor. Nishi wears a waterproof Olympus digital camera tethered to a lanyard around his neck. "There is no other way to capture the marathon," he says. He snaps couples getting married midrace, running Elvises, smiling volunteers, and the long lines at Porta Potties. The lines are one of Nishi's pet peeves, because he says they upset the harmony of the body, mind, and environment. This is the kind of logistical issue that will earn demerits in Nishi's Marathon Data Book series, a register of his ecomarathoning experiences (see "Report Card,"). At the end of the day, Nishi judges the quality of a marathon by how many photographs he takes--more than 100 is his benchmark--which he posts on his Web site (
Nishi brings his own water bottle and asks volunteers to refill it with water. "I am trying to save paper cups," he says. "Thank you very much--you make it possible for us to run." Then he takes their picture. He often tells volunteers, "You are the winner!"
"People are so surprised when you say, 'Good morning,' or 'Guten Morgen,' or 'Buon giorno,'" Nishi says. "These words really work. I would like for every runner to experience the marathon this way." Expressing gratitude, disposing of trash, and carrying your own water bottle are among Nishi's "EcoTips," guidelines for ecomarathoners, which a handful of marathons are now distributing.
"Hajime truly believes in his mission and convinces others that it's possible," says De Sullivan, former race director of Massachusetts's Bay State Marathon, which Nishi ran in 1999. "He feels that runners are role models and should show people how to take care of the planet."
Though certainly not a household name, Nishi did make the Guinness Book of World Records in 1997 as the first person to run a marathon on each of the seven continents in seven months. In Japan, he has humbly turned down an opportunity to appear in a major shoe manufacturer's television commercial because he felt that, at the time, their socio-environmental philosophy was less than admirable. He's not looking for your money--he's self-supported, and there is no way to give on his Web site. He happily refers to himself as one of the financially poorest runners but "the spiritually richest person" on Earth.
"Running is my passport," he says. "A smile is my visa." After Vegas, Nishi is off to Cambodia, then Thailand, Dubai, and Pakistan. He'll make a brief stop in Tokyo to do laundry and resupply his protein stores. "Japanese sushi is the best--sushi other places is not so good," he says. But first he's recycling several silver space blankets he collected at the finish line--he's wiping them down with a washcloth before checking out of the motel. "I can use these again and again," he says. "All over the world.",7120,s6-243-297--11907-0,00.html



西 一(58才)は彼の第496回目のマラソンとなったノースカロライナ州シャーロットでのサンダーロードマラソンを冷たい強風の中で走った日の深夜直前、パイロットが使うキャリーオンバッグのみを引き、ラスベガスのモーテル6トロピカーナに到着した。 その6時間後、 2006年ニュー・ラスベガスマラソンで、西はかじかむ手ももみながら夜明け前の肌寒い暗闇の中でのスタートを待った。彼は16000を超えるランナーの群れの最後の近くで、前日のマラソンで使用したのと同じ乳首保護のバンドエイドを付けていた。 一組のバンドエイドを翌日のマラソンにも再利用することは資源節約にそれ程役立つとは思えないかも知れないが、彼の様に多くのマラソンに参加すれば理解できるだろう。2006年には、彼は11カ国で72マラソンを走った; 2007年には、彼は25カ国での60マラソン参加を予定している。彼は月平均5マラソンを走り続け、自らの中長期的な目標として百歳となる2049年迄に250ヶ国での1000マラソン参加をめざしている。




西はオリンパスの防水デジタルカメラのストラップを首に掛けて走る。 「マラソンを捕らえるには、これより良い方法はない。」と彼は言う。レース途中、コース脇のチャペルで結婚式を挙げているカップルやエルビスに扮したコスプレランナー達、微笑むボランティア達、そしてコース沿の仮設トイレで長蛇の列に並ぶランナー達の姿を彼は写す。長蛇の列は彼が好んで撮影するイライラの象徴だ。なぜなら、それは身体、心、そして環境との調和を乱すから、と言う。西のエコマラソン体験登録としてのエコマラソン・データブックでは、マラソン運営上の欠点と捉えられ、ロジスティック上の問題となる。(レポート・カードを参照)マラソンを完走したその日の終わり、彼をどれだけ多くの写真を撮影したかで走ったマラソンの運営レベルを判断する。100枚以上であれば及第とされ、彼の公式サイト(に掲載される。

 西は自分の水筒を持って走る。そして給水所のボアランティアに水を入れて貰う。「紙コップを無駄使いしない様にしている。」と彼は話す。「どうもありがとう! あなた達のお陰で私達は走れるのです。」と謝意を伝え、彼らの写真を撮る。時にはボランティアに語りかける、「あなた達こそ、勝者だ!」



読売新聞 2007年4月23日「不屈のひみつ」

西一(にし・はじめ)さん エコマラソナー
「自分がゆっくり楽しく走ることで、マラソンは苦しいものというイメージを変えたい。そして、エコマラソンの理想を説くことで、少しでもマラソンを良くしていきたい」 1949年生まれ。
7大陸マラソン最速走破でギネス認定。 著書に『エコマラソン――地球を感じ風になる』(評言社)。
ホームページ  風景を楽しみ、風を感じ、競わず、マイペースで。制限時間をぎりぎりまで使ってフルマラソンを走る“世界で最も遅いランナー”。



~妻の死 崩れた自信

 きっかけは雑誌記事だった。ホノルルマラソンが「誰でも走れる祭り」と書いてあった。「オレでも走れるかな? 面白そうだな」と思った。

 そして――長い長いマラソンロードのゴール。きっと妻が出迎えてくれる、と思う。       小梶勝男


米国トータルヘルス誌 1997年11月3日 19刊 3号


人類初の7大陸でのマラソンを7ヶ月間で完走を果たした西 一は、地球とそこに暮らす全ての生命体にバランスをもたらすミッションに取組んでいる。
 西 一が未体験の僅かに残った世界的に有名なマラソンの一つ、ボストンマラソンを彼の笑顔で止めることが出来た。彼の笑顔は心の奥底から生まれ、目を通し輝き、地球の大半の景観や人々を見てきた。
 自己を引き立てる領域では、はじめは節度ある舵取りをする。彼は以前、ナイキから「Just Do It」キャンペーンのTVコマーシャルに出演しないか、と打診されたが、「Just Do It Right」とか、「Do It With Balance」であるべきと感じ、出演を断った。彼は世界的なデビューを果たせたにも拘らず、謙虚にもその機会を見送り、他の出演できる人と接触する様、同社に助言した。
 昨年、はじめは彼のエコマラソン・インターナショナルと米国の会社、バランス・バイ・ニシとチームを組み、暮らしの全ての事実でのバランスの概念を推進する一連のスポーツウェア市場開拓を始めた。同組織は、はじめの哲学をプロモートする為、Balance By Nishiのロゴや様々なスローガンが入ったTシャツ、セーター、ヘンリーネック、スポーツシャツや帽子等の商品開発を行った。マーケティング・ディレクターのロン・ジョンソン氏は、それらの商品は着る人々のファッション感覚を伝えるだけでなく、人々の価値観に関するとても大切な何かを伝える高品質のスポーツウェアとしてデザインされた、と語る。全売上げの一部は世界の人々に彼の力強い笑顔でマニフェストされたバランスの哲学を広げるミッションを継続する為にエコマラソン・インターナショナルへ支給される。


日本経済新聞 1996年2月8日夕刊「エコマラソンのススメ」



「トレイル」など小大会 走る楽しさ発見   西さんが勧めるトレイルマラソンの一例(表略)


給水コップのポイ捨てせず 人や自然に振れ合って走る

朝日新聞 1995年7月14日夕刊12面「エコマラソン提案」

給水コップのポイ捨てせず 人や自然に振れ合って走る

海外のマラソン大会に参加する日本人に、こう呼びかけている市民ランナーがいる。東京都目黒区で映像ライセンス会社を経営する西一さん(四六) 。一九九〇年にホノルル・マラソンに参加して以来、海外で二十七種のマラソンを経験した西さんは、エコロジーとマラソンを組み合わせた「エコマラソン」という考え方を提案。今秋には、西さんが企画した「海外エコマラソンツアー」もスタートする。(宮田 喜好)

市民ランナーの西さん  クラブ設け、ツアー企画  <西さんの「エコマラソン」の記録>(略)




© 2010-2011 Ecomarathon International, a Non-Profit Organization