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All Okinawa Spring Bullfights

Date Posted: 2001-04-28

The 76th All Okinawa Spring Bullfights will be held May 13, starting at noon at the Okinawa City Bull Fighting Ring. The event takes place two times a year on the second Sundays of May and November. The fights feature the all-stars of the Okinawan bullfighting world, and every year attract a large number of excited spectators.

Among the 13 matches scheduled, the biggest attention is focused on whether the defending champion named Furugen Motors Wakariki will successfully defend his title for the second time. Wakariki is a super big bull, and is good at pushing using his power and weight that is no less than 1,180 kg. Many challengers are expected to threaten Wakariki this year as many of his opponents are expected to be extremely evenly matched.

Bullfights in Japan are very different from those in Spain and South America. Here bulls fight each other instead of against humans. Bullfights used to be a farmers’ pastime all over Japan, but the number of bullfights has decreased lately; Sado Island in Niigata, Hachijo Island in Tokyo, Oki Island in Shimane, Tokunoshima in Kagoshima, and Okinawa are the only locations where the bullfights still remain. This reflects the fact that there has been hardly any pastime among farmers living on islands.

In Okinawa, bullfights are most popular in the middle and northern parts of the island, whereas in the south there is only one bullring.

Rules of the fights are easy. Even though the bullfights are one-on-one matches between the bulls, a trainer wearing red or white ribbon stands by his bull and gives the bull encouragement. There are not so many moves like in sumo or judo but there are certain rules in bullfights, which are quite hard for the uninitiated to distinguish. Basically the bull that turns away is the loser. The winning bull is covered with victor’s cape and its owner’s family celebrates and dances around the bull.

The upcoming event is expected attract over 5,000 spectators and the fights will continue through the whole day.
Date: May 13 (Sun.) 12:00 p.m.
Place: Okinawa City Bull Fighting Ring in Koza Sports Park, near Okinawa South exit (exit #4) of the expressway
Admission: ¥3,000

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