The very nature of long-distance running resonates with the Japanese spirit. Endurance, perseverance, and the will to never-give-up-no-matter-how-damn-uncomfortable-it-gets are core Japanese values. A popular proverb is Nana-korobi, ya-oki. (Fall down seven times, get up eight times.) One of the highest compliments that can be paid to an athlete is to say that he or she has makenki, roughly translated as 'the spirit not to lose.'
- Brendan Reilly -
Where the Marathon Matters: Japan's Long-Running Tradition