Monkey-Man Keinichi Ito – The Fastest Man on All Fours

29-year-old Kenichi Ito, from Tokyo, says he has loved monkeys ever since he was a child. He has always been able to identify with animals, and harbored an ambition to adopt one of their traits. His deep desire has been fulfilled, now that he is actually able to move around quite comfortably on all fours, just like a monkey. It all started one day when he witnessed a monkey running quickly. From that point on, he claims he practiced running like the animal every day, until he became the fastest man on all fours.

“You know, my face and body kind of look like a monkey, so from a young age everybody used to tease me, saying ‘monkey, monkey,'” Ito said in his neat apartment, sitting in front of a large poster of a chimpanzee. But I wasn’t really bothered because I really liked them, and somewhere inside of me I had this ambition to adopt one of their traits. When I saw a monkey that could run fast, I knew I’d found it – and from that point on I practiced running like a monkey every day,” Keinichi Ito says about how it all started.

Photo: BBC (caption)

It took Ito about eight-and-a-half years, but he has managed to develop a unique style of running, inspired by the African Patas monkey. All these years, he performed his household chores and moved about his neighborhood on all fours. He would even squat while talking to other people. In time, he developed five different styles of moving on four limbs. The speedy gallop earned him a Guinness World Record for the fastest 100 m run on all fours., which took him only 18.58 seconds. That’s really fast, probably faster than I can run on my two legs, in fact.


The monkey-man does attract stares for his strange form of movement, but that’s the least of his worries. There was a time when he was practicing in the mountains and a hunter almost shot Ito, mistaking him for a wild boar. Ito isn’t completely alone, though. He has a few other four-legged running fanatic friends with whom he has occasional races. They even bring in cats and dogs to add to the fun. A well-trained dog can usually outrun the humans. Obviously, you can’t beat animals at their own game, now can you?

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