Later this month, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will feature a made-in-Japan sport that few people apart from enthusiasts have even heard of — keirin.

It’s a type of race held on a steeply banked track, with nine cyclists covering around 2 kilometers at a mind-blowing pace. And although it’s one of four state-sanctioned sports in Japan where gambling is permitted — along with powerboat, motorcycle and horse racing — it has struggled to retain interest here beyond core fans.

The War on Wheels: Inside the Keirin and Japan’s Cycling Subculture, by Justin McCurry288 pagesPEGASUS BOOKS