The shining star of losers everywhere

19 minutes

Glory in defeat: how Japan fell in love with a racehorse who couldn’t win

In 2003, spirits were low in the remote, seaside city of Kochi, Japan, which had been hit particularly hard by a nationwide, decade-long economic downturn. The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere tells the story of the tenacious but winless Kochi-based racehorse Haru Urara (meaning ‘glorious spring’) who became a peculiar ray of hope in Japan during a period in which few people felt as if they were winning. Despite never finishing first in over 100 career races, the lovable, Hello Kitty hood-wearing horse still managed to save her local racetrack, inspire a struggling city and become a national symbol for trying your hardest in the face of adversity and defeat. A heartening underdog story splendidly told, this short documentary by the US-based director Mickey Duzyj was a film festival favourite in 2016, screening at the Sundance Film Festival, the SXSW Film Festival and the Hot Docs Festival, where it won Best Short Documentary.

Director: Mickey Duzyj

Producer: Mona Panchal, Yuka Uchida

Website: The All-Nighter Room

Essay/Love & Friendship
Why women stray

Evolutionary theory says men stray to increase offspring, but what motivates women? Enter the mate-switching hypothesis

David Buss

Essay/Neuroscience
The kindled brain

If each bout of depression, bipolar disorder or PTSD makes another more likely, should sufferers stay on medication for life?

Elizabeth Svoboda