PRINCE & CYCLING / 寬仁親王殿下と自転車競技

During his lifetime, Prince Tomohito of Mikasa focused on four themes: the welfare of the disabled, sports promotion, youth development, and international friendship.
His activities on behalf of the disabled started in the early 1970s, when disabled people began seeking independence. Led by the Action Group of Disabled Friends in Tokyo, the disabled became more politically active and expanded to include other groups such as Sendai Arinomamasha and the Action Group for a Better Life of Severely Disabled People in Aichi.
Motivated by his encounters with the Action Group of Disabled Friends, the Prince launched the Supporter Group for the Action Group of Disabled Friends. After that, the Prince conducted various welfare activities for the disabled, including his pioneering promotion of skiing for disabled people.
A documentary film about disabled skiers, Joy Together, produced by the Prince, attracted world attention and won domestic and foreign prizes including the grand prix prize of the first International Federation of the Red Cross Movie Festival in 1978.
Prince Tomohito’s sport promotion activities included being honorary president of the 1990 Japan Series of World Cycling Championships, after which he led activities for the promotion of bicycle sports.
I was involved in the production of Joy Together, as well as a second documentary about the 1990 World Cycling Championships and a video about medical science research on a disabled skier in 1994. My involvement in another documentary, for the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology in Turkey, lasted 10 years.
It has been more than half a century since I met Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, and 24 years since he and I started promoting bicycle sports in 1990. Although I only knew him for part of his life, it was a significant part, and I still commemorate him every day.
The best way I have to express my deep acknowledgement to the Prince was to produce a private video album, “Video Commemorating Prince Tomohito of Mikasa,” using the massive catalog of videos of the Prince, and to continue the promotion activities for bicycle sports that he and I began so many years ago.
To that end, this July we will hold the first international bicycle sports race, the “Prince Tomohito Memorial World Grand Prix” – the race that was delayed from 2010.
Also in July, we will show “Commemorating Prince Tomohito of Mikasa in Videos, 1990-2012” to honor his memory. After these two events, we will do our best to realize his dream of bicycle sports promotion in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics/Paralympics.
Ultimately, we hope to open the “Bearded Prince Museum,” where his videos will be stored permanently and shown to the public to indelibly stamp his character on our minds.


 NPO法人CSSシクロ 代表 小山田 斉