RYOKOU – SHANE PERKINS’ JOURNEY
Ryokou 旅行 – Japanese, noun, travel, trip, tour, journey.
If you have ever ridden track then you may have raced a bit of Keirin. Its an awesome event and a favourite of both riders and spectators. But few of us really know much about its origins in Japan and the rules that surround Japanese keirin. This series of short films provides a fascinating insight into the world of keirin racing following Aussie ‘bad boy’ Shane Perkins after he was invited to attend the 2012/13 Keirin season in Japan.
RYOKOU (meaning ‘Journey’) is a five part web documentary published on the Youtube channel of Chasing the Glory Media House, in association with Projucer. Ryokou follows Perkins from his home in Adelaide, post London Olympics, to taking up residence in Japan whilst competing in the Keirin competition.
Shane Perkins is an Olympic, World and Commonwealth medal winner
The film ‘explores Japanese Keirin cycling as a pivotal part of Shane’s personal and professional growth, in context of some of the major events in his professional and personal career’.
Keirin racing was created in post-war Japan as a way to help the country recover and since 1948 gamblers betting on the outcome of the races have contributed 850 billion Yen into Japan’s public welfare fund.
With only a select few international riders being invited to attend these lucrative events and only 10% of local riders who try to enroll at the Japan Keirin School being accepted, competition is extremely tough. The students at the Keirin School undergo a rigorous 15-hour a day training and classroom study program.
Keirin students prepare for another gruelling day of training at the Japanese Keirin School
When they are finally accepted riders must only use the bikes and equipment that have received the coveted NJS (Nihon Jitensha Shinkōkai) stamp to ensure that all riders are equal and do not have any technological or material advantage, thus ensuring that the strongest man wins.
You’ll need to set aside a good half hour to watch it all. So grab a tea and some biscuits. First up is the Ryokou trailer, then the rest of this atmospheric film about a part of cycling and the world that we know relatively little about. Enjoy.