NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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玉競り Tamaseseri Tamaseseri Festival

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Tamaseseri is a festival held in Fukuoka city's Higashi ward. Every year on January 3, groups of men compete over large balls called houju. Out of the two wooden ying and yang balls, the yang one (with a diameter of 28cm and a weight of 8kg) is said to have lucky powers. Once the yang ball is held above a person's head, he will be destined to have success in everything. A total of 250 men fight over the balls after dousing themselves in cold water.

There are many theories concerning the origin of the balls. Although it is not certain, one theory states that the idea came from the 'manjusenju' balls offered to the dragon god during the battle of the shinkou-kougou-sankan. All legends agree that both balls were dedicated to the Hakozakigu shrine because, without the ying ball, the yang ball would make sounds while glowing and queer things would happen. For 500 years, the Tamaseri has been a strangely masculine but gallant festival and a grand sight to see.
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