Takeuchi Matsuri – Dangerous Bamboo Battle in Japan
A news report from about the 2011 Takeuchi Matsuri, held in the town of Rokugo in Akita Prefecture:
“The Takeuchi festival has been popular for a long time as a fire festival where town’s people pray for a good harvest in a series of Lunar New Year festivals. It is a wild festival where people fight by hitting each other with long bamboo poles. In the night of February15, town’s people are divided into two groups, the North and South and then fight. It is believed that if the North wins, a good harvest of rice is promised, and if the South wins, the price of rice will go up.”
As you might imagine, two large groups of men smacking each other with bamboo poles makes for a rather dangerous festival. An ambulance was on hand to deal with any injuries, and dozens of police officers were there to make sure the battle was limited to bamboo poles.
Although some guys were reluctant to stop battling after the end of the third match, police quickly intervened and settled things down. The 2011 festival ended without any serious injuries or arrests for assault.