NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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牛突き Ushitsuki Bullfighting in Shimane

Jp En

The longest existing bullfighting in Japan is from the island of Okinoshima, and dates back 780 years. It appears to have originated in 1221, as entertainment for the deposed Gotoba Emperor, who was exiled to Okinoshima following the Joukyu Rebellion.

Bullfighting used to occur all over Shimane Prefecture and the Shimane Peninsula, but these days it is held in only one part of the area.

The grand summer tournament is held on the 15th of August. It is a one-game match with no draw. Therefore, the islanders show an overwhelming passion toward this summer tournament. The fight continues until either one of the bulls runs away, so in some cases, the battle may last for an hour. When it is clear which bull is the winner, men gather around it, some mounting it, and others screaming with joy; the losing bull quietly leaves the ring.

Even today, bullfighting is still part of the life on the island; it is a dedication to their god. To keep up their tradition, the youths of Okinoshima have established a system to let children from 3rd and 4th grades at school to be able to train for the bullfighting.
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