‘KEIRIN’ – a cycling track race event that takes place in the Olympics. It’s one of the international sport events now but is originated in Japan. In this series, we’re going to introduce Japanese ‘KEIRIN’ and its surrounding environment.

What is KEIRIN?


KEIRIN Rookie Series 2021 4th Round Wakayama, Photo by Shutaro Mochizuki / 望月秀太郎

Keirin started after the Second World War, at the time of the reconstruction of Japan. It’s one of the public sport events which the Japanese government legally permitted betting, and keirin had a role to play to increase the financial sources for the postwar reconstruction back then. Even today, the revenues raised by keirin are added to the public goods such as local financial resources or social welfare.

It is a gamble and therefore..

日本競輪選手養成所, 第121・122回生, 第1回記録会

Keirin is a gamble, and therefore, fairness is required.

In order to learn the rules of keirin and the techniques of competing, those who wish to become a professional keirin cyclist are trained for 10 months at Japan Institute of KEIRIN. In the institute, which is located deep in the mountains in Shizuoka prefecture, the trainees must live in the dormitories provided by the Institute. The use of smartphones, games or personal devices is basically banned. After being trained under the strict rules, they are certified as a ‘keirin cyclist’ and finally, can make a professional debut.

KEIRINグランプリ2020, 平塚競輪場

Not only in the institute as a trainee that are they not allowed to use their communication devices (such as smartphones) in order to contact with the outside world, but also those things are confiscated during the time of an event which they participate in. The purpose for that is to prevent match-fixing.

Keirin cyclists have a lot of restrictions in their career but if they succeed, it is possible to win the profits of approximately 300 million yen a year. The same thing goes to bettors. You may lose a lot but if your luck goes your way, your 100-yen wager may result in 4 million yen.

KEIRINグランプリ2020, 平塚競輪場

Japanese keirin and keirin as a sport event

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