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Hash History in Tokyo

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Hash History in Tokyo

In 1938, Hash founder A.S. Gispert would not have stood a fighting chance in Tokyo. In fact, the Japanese army overran his position in Malaysia, but we do not hold that against anyone now. In the spirit of global reconciliation, the custom of the Hash down-down meshes nicely with the Japanese ikki-ikki that we hear from our crowds in Tokyo area restaurants at the Hash.

To be honest, the mythical nature of the founding of the original Tokyo HHH began over a thousand runs ago. As the Past Wired On-Sec, I have some trepidation in trying to record such history. I'm also scared. But to return to the point, the Tokyo Hash recorded its history in anticipation of 6 April 1996 when the oldest and original in the Tokyo area, held its millennium run. Rumor has it (okay, I mean Beerhead in Kobe) that one Pat Donaghue founded said hash on his way through to Kobe. Snow White, the current RA adds: "Tokyo Hash History. We know a bit more. The 1st run was 4 June 1976. I don't know anything about the Founder, Pat Donaghue, but I have met hashers from Hong Kong and Taiwan who knew of him, so it is fair to say he brought it from SE Asia, where it started. Don't know anything about the first pack, but Pamela (the past GM) started from run number 7." 

Latest info on Dunafew was when we were visited by His son aptly hash named Dunafew Too. It turns out that the original Tokyo hash logo which is a foot with the Japanese character, Hashiru ( Which means Run!), inside was actually a tracing of his foot. Validation of this was difficult as his feet are much bigger now, so no one believes it was him.

Email from past hashers confirms as one early Tokyo hasher, Dave "Birdman" "Archbishop" Free writes, "You may be interested in some recollections from one of the decrepit who ran in your early days. Having started hashing in Kluang (Malaysia) in 1967, I keenly accepted the opportunity to resume when, in 1976, Pat "Dunafew" Donaghue and a few others decided that it was time that we started a Tokyo Hash. I missed the first run, being out of the country at the time, but participated in most of the next hundred until I was transferred to Singapore in April 1978. Besides Dunafew as founder, members included Dick Aldrick (last heard of in Mombasa) Bill Bastick, Dec Dunphy (sp?), Captain Tom Hofvenschiold (now in Manila), Mike Powell (last heard of in Manila), and Peter Sutch (Retired and deceased Chairman of Cathay Pacific). Others to join in the first year included Guy Clayton (now in Hong Kong) and Vasco Zlattereff, now in Basel."

"Runs, always in central Tokyo, were relatively short (perhaps 45 minutes) and after some shandy and a few beers at the run site we would repair to a local watering hole to complete the self-anaesthetising process with more beer or, in winter, some hot sake. The group was small, perhaps twenty in all. We were a men-only hash, but once in the first year the ladies were invited to join us when we had a weekend away at, I believe, Hakone. I am still the proud owner of some original Tokyo Hash tee-shirts, including the 50th run shirt ,donated by North American Van Lines and dated 9 May 1977. On Tokyo Hash I was known as Archbishop. A few months ago I retired from my job with Ciba-Geigy in Singapore, where I had enjoyed hashing most Mondays of my eighteen year stay, to Australia. Here I continue this most efficacious of pastimes with the Perth Hash, where my hash name is Birdman."

On recent history, Snow White writes: "The most noteable event was the run-in with the Yakuza at Hiroo, which left Tadpole and his Hash Horn crumpled on the ground and 2 Yakuza retreating with drawn sword to their limo. Originally mostly men, the Tokyo Hash excluded girls when they got out of control about 10 years ago, and allowed them back when numbers dwindled 5 years later. The rest is history." Or her story. Or something like that.

Hash House Harriers flourish in Japan after the war, even with the deep-seated guilt on the Japanese side and loud-mouthed buffoonery of the foreign "gaijin" that frequent the parties. Such tension could drive one to drink. On Mondays, however, the hashers don't even need that excuse. If there are any distinctions among the Tokyo Hashes, the original Tokyo Hash tends to spread its down-downs evenly, and within its smaller group, more thoroughly, than other hashes. But this is quibbling. Most of the major Hash drinkers go to three or four hashes a week, anyway.

The Hash House Harriers have now mixed frequently, and contrary to the traditional Malay Peninsula hashes, tend to allow frequent mixing of genders and various hash mis-managements. See the various mis-management for evidence--all Tokyo Hashes are now mixed gender! The Tokyo Hash House Harriers continue the traditions of aiming for temples, small paths, and parks throughout the Tokyo Metropolitan area. Credits to our designer for the Tokyo Hash design that shows the subways in the background.

Local Hash Code

Membership in the Tokyo Hash House Harriers is open to any person who has yen. This is in contrast to our Wednesday colleagues who emphasize "fun and good healthy exercise" when they should really be writing about Hash Romance. They do write that the "accent is social rather than athletic" and that should lead you to read between the lines. But this teasing is all in good spirits. The Men's Hash contributes to setting Harrierettes' runs and helps with the variety in the Tokyo hashes.

  1. In the Tokyo HHH, members are sure to be assigned a run by the Hare Razor. If you are not able to set the run the date assigned, it is just too bad. Hashing is seldom democratic. To be kind, you can always rearrange or switch your date with another hash member. Some dates even like to be switched, but again I digress.
  2. It is each Hare's duty to provide beer, a decent restaurant, and in addition, the trail itself. Of course, the consummate Hare will set a good, complicated trail. The best trails have four or five checkpoints, with complex, winding sidestreets and dark alleys as well as interesting temples, parks, hills, rivers and dark alleys and are not in excess of an Hour.
  3. Hash fee of a thousand yen (five-hundred for ladies) should be paid each run and extra promptly given to the Hash Cash. Initial fee covers one or two drinks, chalk, and some excess if needed for BEER.
  4. A guest is required to pay fees, but we do want you to feel at home. Sorry, there are no free rides in the most expensive city in the world.
  5. Neither terrorism nor natural disaster ever stops the Tokyo Hash. This is a guy thing, you know.
  6. On the run, shouting, noisy yelling, and whistles are very important. The idea is to keep everyone together but somehow someone always gets lost. Once lost, we think it is just too bad, and simply a part of the guys' hash. Only kidding. We will come to look for the body. You should only say ON ON or hash when you see flour or an arrow. We thrive on finding when people commit infractions. Infractions will be yet another excuse to make them drink BEER.
  7. Marking a trail for the latecomers and others left behind is an example of camaraderie among guys. We do mark extra arrows with chalk for the followers, and call or whistle to let them catch up. BEER is best drank together on any of the Tokyo Hashes, and of course we do this liberally on the original Tokyo HHH.

This page was prepared by:  Head Cheese   Update by Hey Kanojo 3/29/2