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Tug-of-War season begins in Ginowan

Date Posted: 2012-07-27

Ginowan City’s always a busy place, night and day, but it gets even more hectic Sunday as the events all surround a rope measuring a meter in diameter and 60 meters in length.

It’s the rope used for the Ginowan Tug of War, and organizers and Ginowan area citizens are still tying up the rope, getting it ready for the weekend. The rope’s two pieces, “Ozuna” and “Mezuna” will be linked at different locations, then moved to the tug-of-war venue at Okinawa International University’s baseball field. Once there, the two ropes will be tied at a level almost two meters above ground, and the fun begins.

Leaders of both teams will be riding atop the rope when the knot falls and the tugging starts. They could be in danger, but organizers point out that’s an excitement point of the match. The event only was resumed five years after being halted for 66 years. Before that, the event was an annual activity.

The “Meendakari” wearing blue headbands are pitted against the red headband “Kushindakari”, and both teams will be vying for attention while they shoulder the rope and wander around. It’s all something special in Ginowan, and all leads up to the tug of war at 6:30 p.m. Now, here’s where it gets to be fun. Everyone can join in, first getting a headband—each person decides whether to be on the red team or blue team—by asking at the venue had office. It’s free.

Once the battle is over, the fun’s just beginning. Everyone can join in performances called Me-kata, like karate, and dancing the kachashi Okinawa celebratory dance. Everything is free, and everyone’s welcome. There’s a 500-car parking lot, so again, no reason not to stop by. The festivities run throughout the evening.

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