The first world champion in shoe shining, Yuya Hasegawa, is featured in a new mini-documentary series made by the Japanese public broadcasting company NHK. A lovely little film portraying his way to become a pioneer among the new wave of professional shoe shiners, available to watch with English subtitles.


I’ve been assisting NHK with some background info on the World Championships in Shoe Shining contest and some general info about the shoe shining profession around the world etc., so I knew they have been working on it for a while. Now a website for the mini-documentary series, with five minute episodes, has been launched, and they are starting to air on Japanese television. They portrait world champions and world record holders in more special fields, it has the typically Japanese name “Weird World Champions”, a title of the series I advised against, since it’s a bit degrading.

A part from the final of the world champs of shoe shining in London.

A part from the final of the world champs of shoe shining in London is part of the documentary.

Well, the short film about Yuya Hasegawa is nothing of that. It’s a really nice view both into his own story of becoming a shoe shiner, about his shoe shining technique, and about the shoe shining craft as such. You can watch the mini-documentary here, it has an English speaker voice and English subtitles, so easily accessible.