Epic Japanese walk for King

British journalist Mary King and a Japanese journalist have made a 7,500 kilometres “roving reporter” walk through Japan, selling newspaper and magazine articles on the way.

The result has been a book, Japan on Foot: Tales of the Unexpected, by King and Etsuko Shimabukuro, to be published later this year by Alexandra Press. The pair also maintained a website in Japanese and English during the 16-month continuous footslog.

King, who moved to Japan in 1988, started her career as a 16-year-old cub reporter on the former Dudley Herald in the West Midlands. She later became a photographer with the Derbyshire Times and the Wokingham & Bracknell Times. She then moved to London, where she worked as a reporter with London Newspaper Group and did shifts for the nationals, including The Observer, Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, London Evening Standard, News of the World, Daily Star and Today.

In Japan, she has worked for the Japan Times, the Daily Yomiuri and the Asahi Evening News. She is now a freelance, based in Tokyo. In May, she will take up one-year’s Zen studies at a temple, and work on a second book, tentatively called Japan on Bum.

Part of the profits of the first book will be donated to HELP shelter in Tokyo, a refuge for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

Orders for Japan on Foot: Tales of the Unexpected can now be placed online through Alexandra Press at its website, www.alexandrapress.com.

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