Japan's Version of Zippy Chippy Has Become a National Hero

The Nov. 10 issue of Newsweek magazine reports that Japan's latest equine hero is Haruurara, who has lost all 97 of her career starts. But, unlike America's perennial loser, Zippy Chippy, the story of Haruurara has grown to legendary proportions.

According to Newsweek, Haruurara is a 7-year-old Thoroughbred, whose story began this past June when a a local reporter featured her in an article. In no time, she became a cult hero, as the Japanese people, in the midst of a slow economy, began to relate to Haruurara's shortcomings.

She has now become Japan's No. 1 lucky charm. Workers all over the country bet on her, then keep the losing tickets in the hope the tickets will ward off any bad luck and prevent them from getting laid off. The article says that last week, the Kochi horse racing union sold out 500 of Haruurara's lucky horsetail charms in three hours.

"We had no idea the loser horse would become such a star," union director Hidehiro Maeda said in Newsweek.

All the major daily newspapers, TV networks, and magazines constantly send reporters to Haruurara's barn to do stories on her, and two books about her are expected to come out in December (one by an award-winning novelist). Also, the NHK public-broadcasting system has already started work on a documentary.

The article goes on to say Haruurara is "inundated with food, fan letters, and even cash."

It concludes by saying that, "it looks like the only unlucky thing Haruurara can do now is win."