Every year, Nihon Terebi, also known as the Nippon Television Network has a 24 hour telethon. The telethon, known as 24 Hour TV (Love Will Save the World) always features an entertainer as a marathon runner. The marathon runner’s training and story are featured throughout the weeks leading up to 24 Hour TV, and during the telethon itself, the runner’s progress is monitored.
Whether this is “yarase” as we say here, meaning that the program is staged or forced, it is a big part of the 24 Hour TV campaign.
The tradition of having a marathon runner started back in 1992 with Kampei Hazama who did the run in 1993 and 1995 as well. Lately, entertainers who will be a bit more challenged than the athletically inclined Hazama have been chosen. Last year the runner was Ai Haruna, a transgender celebrity known for irreverent impersonations of Aya Matsuura.
This year’s choice, Kazuo Tokumitsu, seems to continue the trend of moving away from athletic celebrities. The run will certainly be a challenge for 70 year old Tokumitsu. The choice should also pay dividends as the popular announcer will have a lot of people watching and hoping for him to do well.