Run Wild: Freedom
Tokyo. Modern metropolis. Cultural hub. A capital city that defines sensory overload— neon signs, flashing lights and 13 million people. But as modern, massive and bustling as the city is today, there remains a very traditional undertone.
“There is a hardcore pressure to conform in Japanese culture,” Knox Robinson says. “Running on the other hand, is an act of rebellion, is an act of freedom, self identification and self selection.” It was in this desire to do something that defied the cultural norms where Athletics Far East Crew was born. Founded in 2011 and inspired by the ‘70s running club Athletics West, AFE was formed on the principle of transcending the social conformity that is so deeply ingrained in Japanese culture. The crew’s motto—Do Not Blame Others but Yourself—embodies its mission to use running as a vehicle for individual expression.“There was a sense that something new was being created that hadn’t existed before,” says Jun Hirano, a fashion director and one of AFE’s founders.“There’s a contrast of people who just wanna follow and fit in to society and that’s a whole culture and tradition,” says Lono Brazil III, a model, DJ and leader of AFE. “At the same time people like to do the opposite because of that. Whether people think it’s cool or not, I’m going to express my own way of running.”
Now a hub of urban running culture in Tokyo, AFE is a collaboration of people from all walks of life, who run for all kinds of reasons. “I feel like people have this open space to express more, where as before people had to follow the rules and be what they expect you to do,” Brazil says. “People understanding this—how being yourself is the ultimate solution to happiness.”
In Episode 3 of Run Wild, Knox travels to the Far East to meet up with Jun, Lono and AFE for a deeper look at the faces, sounds and streets of Tokyo’s underground running scene.
Check out the music that Knox, Lono and the AFE Crew ran wild to:
To watch the previous episodes click here.