Big fortune – Japanese dreams come true in the world of keirin cyclists

‘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.

The theme this time is ‘money’.

What’s the Original “KEIRIN” in JAPAN / All about “KEIRIN” series 1

Categories of keirin cyclists

Keirin cyclists have ranks. Men are categorised in 6 ranks starting from A3. As for women, or ‘Girls’ keirin’, they have only one category, which is L1.

SS (9 cyclists)
S1 (211 cyclists)
S2 (450 cyclists)
A1 (518 cyclists)
A2 (519 cyclists)
A3 (510 cyclists)

(L1 123 cyclists)

The number of the cyclists in each rank is as of January, 2019 (the source- Japan Institute of KEIRIN Guide)_

The number of the cyclists in each rank is as of January, 2019 (the source: Japan Institute of KEIRIN Guide).

Men’s cyclists start off from A3 when they’ve debuted and ascend to higher ranks in accordance with their performance records (of course there are cases of descending ranks). The higher their ranks are, the higher-graded events they can compete. The higher-graded races, the bigger prize money.

This is just an example but one data shows as follows;

Top 3 of the rookies’ prize money earned for the first six months since debut (from July to December in 2018)

Men Women
1st prize 6.4 million yen 5.6 million yen
2nd prize 6 million yen 4.7 million yen
3rd prize 5.9 million yen 4.5 million yen

*Reference: Japan Institute of KEIRIN Guide

Let’s take an example of postgraduate business people who have just begun to work. If the amount of money they earn for the very first year is approximately 3 million yen annually (200,000 yen/month plus bonuses), rookie cyclists would earn double as much as they do.

Keirin cyclists’ average prize money for each rank (2018)

Men prize money (average amount)
SS Approx. 108 million yen
S1 Approx. 21.6 million yen
S2 Approx. 12.3 million yen
A1 Approx. 8.7 million yen
A2 Approx. 7.3 million yen
A3 Approx. 5.8 million yen
Women prize money (average amount)
L1 6.3 million yen

*Reference: Japan Institute of KEIRIN Guide

The average amount of overall men’s cyclists (from SS to A3) is approximately 27 million yen (as of 2018).

If their performance records are of no good, of course things wouldn’t go that way. But in all, it’s a good fortune that you could dream of.

Prize money rankings in overall history

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