Japan’s Fascination with T-Rex Costume Racing

Over the last couple of years, more than 40 T-Rex costume races have been hosted around Japan, making it one of the fastest-growing racing events in the Asian country.

T-rex costume racing is believed to have originated in 2019, when dozens of people donning inflatable Tyrannosaurus Rex costumes gathered on the Emerald Downs racetrack in Auburn, Washington for a hilarious race that has been doing the rounds on social media ever since. However, T-Rex costume racing never really took off in the West, not like it did in Japan, anyway. The inaugural Tyrannosaurus Race Daisen was held in the city of Daisen, Tottori Prefecture, in April 2022 and proved so successful that it inspired a national trend, with over 40 similar events taking place all over the country ever since.

Photo: YouTube

The very first T-Rex costume race became a national phenomenon thanks to video-sharing platforms and social media at a time when people had become fed up with Japan’s draconic lockdowns. Following its success, cities around the country started organizing their own events, with similar results. People fell in love with the wacky concept, and inflatable dinosaur costume sales soared.

“Runners can do things they can’t do as humans, if they are all tyrannosauruses, nothing is shameful,” 36-year-old Naoki Kawamoto, a freelance video director and the founder of the Tyrannosaurus Race Daisen, explained.


On January 29, 2023, some 60 people in colorful Tyrannosaurus costumes in Chiba Prefecture’s Futtsu City for a series of races divided into three divisions: juvenile dinosaurs (elementary school students and younger), adult female dinosaurs (junior high school students and older) and adult male dinosaurs. All you had to do to enter was purchase your own T-Rex costume (available in various colors online) and register for the event.

The Daisen Race remains the most popular such event in Japan, with the latest edition held in April of last year gathering over 200 dinosaurs at the starting line.


“It helps relieve stress,” one participant told Japanese newspaper Asahi.

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