Know your Chubu Walkathon
The Chubu Walkathon and International Charity Festival started in 1991 in Nagoya, as the “Nagoya Walkathon.” Started and now run mostly by foreigners the festival continues to be held annually on a Sunday in May, and is hosted jointly by the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) and Nagoya International School (NIS).
The Walkathon’s main purpose is to join the international community with Japanese friends and companies to:
- Raise money to support local NPOs and charitable organizations in Chubu
- Encourage a spirit of giving and volunteerism in the greater community
- Promote international understanding and cooperation in the greater community
The Chubu Walkathon has long been popular with the region’s foreign communities for the range of bands, “foods from home,” volunteer opportunities, and fun, but every year it becomes more and more popular with Japanese people as well. Bringing the Japanese community in is a high priority for the event, and has helped grow attendance from a few hundred participants in 1991, to its current size.
Money raised by the Walkathon is distributed and used by local NPOs and charitable organizations, who apply for the funds every year on a project basis. Charitable organizations that have a need make a project plan and budget, and then submit the proposal to the organizing committee of the Walkathon, where the funds are distributed.
In 2011, for example, a local orphanage applied for funds to rebuild a staircase, while another facility asked for a new TV and video game console for the children living there. These are both excellent representations of where money raised by the Walkathon goes. You can find information on charities and groups we have supported in previous years on the Walkathon website.
Connect with the Chubu Walkathon
Walkie the Walrus
Walkie the Walrus is the world’s only walking walrus and the Walkathon Mascot
Walkie was born on October 5th, 2013 with a very rare condition that left him unable to swim like other walruses. As his parents cried their eyes out, sure that he would be eaten by a polar bear, Walkie refused to give up, telling his brother: “If I can’t swim, I’ll teach myself to walk.”
His brother thought it would be impossible, but over the next few months Walkie never gave up. His persistent courage allowed him to become the world’s only walking walrus. As soon as he could he walked south away from the polar bear regions and kept on going. He arrived at the Chubu Walkathon on May 19th, 2014 and was immediately adopted as the Walkathon Mascot for his walking prowess.
The Walkathon T-shirt
Every year we pays our money and gets our shirts. Some are worn only that once and thrown out, never to be thought of again, but many are kept. Very likely, more are kept than you think. The famous “Walkathon T-shirt” tradition began from the fourth year of the walkathon, in 1995. It isalways an original design, submitted by students at Nagoya International School for consideration at the ACCJ’s annual Walkathon Kick-off Party, where the designs are displayed and voted on by attendees from NIS, the ACCJ, charity representatives, and guests. The winners receive a prize and the honor of having their design used on a t-shirt worn by thousands of people. Over time, through the normal churn of our community, its likely these shirts have found their way to all four corners of the globe, and that is pretty cool.