See hilarious race photos from Japan's Office Chair Grand Prix.


This is a story of triumph, creativity, and hundreds of busted desk chairs.

In 2010, Tsuyoshi Tahara of Kyotanabe, Japan, was trying to save his struggling photography studio. Tahara’s business and the other small businesses on his block were struggling to compete with high-end malls and new supermarkets popping up in their city.

So Tahara thought big and came up with the perfect way to bring shoppers back: a race with rolling office chairs.

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

Yep, you read that right.

Now in its sixth year, the ISU-1 Chair Grand Prix has spread to 12 prefectures in Japan and has brought along with it fanfare, delight, and lots of happy shoppers.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to be competitive at this year’s race in Kyotanabe which was held on March 26.

1. Round up your bravest friends.

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

You can only have a team of three, so a pre-race showcase of strength and daring may be required.

2. Secure the appropriate attire for office chair racing.

What might that be? you ask. Well, you’re definitely going to want a helmet. And probably some knee pads.

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

And some stretchy pants can’t hurt, right? Aerodynamics and whatnot.

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

Since you are in an office chair, you can go full business casual and throw on a necktie.

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

Or dress like some sort of baked good. I’m not here to judge.

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

3. Get limbered up.

The race is two hours long and is a test of endurance and chair-durability in equal measure.

Gotta get loose! Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

4. Prepare your chair.

Your chair is not allowed to have any modifications but you can grease up and adjust any existing piece you want.

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

Extra decorations are A-OK, too.

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

Prior to the race, each chair-iot is given a proper once-over to check for any funny business.

Other than the incredibly funny business of grown people racing furniture. Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

5. Pump up the crowd.

Fans line the streets to support the courageous competitors … and to watch strangers fall off office furniture.

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

There are even a few cheerleaders on the course to provide extra encouragement.

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

6. Go big or roll home.

Though it’s all in good fun, this is not a competition for the faint of heart.

There are thrills!

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

Spills!

Don’t worry, this competitor wasn’t seriously injured. Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

And hairpin turns!

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

7. Finish strong!

Check the scores.

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

Revel in the thrill of victory.

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

Or the agony of the seat.

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

Be sure to stick around to watch the winning team take home their grand prize: 90 kilograms (just over 198 pounds) of rice.

This year’s winners were a trio of triathletes. Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.

For business owners and fans alike, the ISU-1 Grand Prix is a story of perseverance and creativity.

Guests return to oft-forgotten storefronts and regular folks get to feel like pro athletes for one wild and wonderful day. There is no better (or funnier) combination.

Photo by Trevor Williams/Getty Images.



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