The other days, I subscribed a photo contest sponsored by a newspaper in Akita, and the above photo won a prize and appeared in the newspaper!! Since I didn’t have any call from the publisher, I was really surprised when I saw it. I took this picture when I went to see a winter festival in my hometown. You may not figure this picture out, but here is the explanation about the festival quoted from my old msn blog.
「Bamboo Battle –Takeuchi-」
Have you heard about “Takeuchi festival” in Rokugo, Akita? The festival is held in middle of March every winter.
“Takeuchi” is very traditional winter festival which has started since the Kamakura period (Kamakura period started from 1192). Young men are divided into north team and south team, and they fight using about 5 meters tall bamboos praying for a bountiful harvest. There are three matches. If the north team wins, people will have a good harvest, and if the south team wins, the price of rice will go up. “Takeuchi” is determined as an important intangible and ethno cultural asset by a nation.
The place for the fighting, where the festival is held is full of people. All young men who participate in the “Takeuchi” were helmets and thick gloves so as not to be hurt. Basically, it is forbidden to poke bamboos; therefore, people need to bring the bamboos down on the enemy’s heads.
Since the “Takeuchi” is so violent, some men start to fight with their fists seriously which take place every Takeuchi festival.
According to a participant, bamboos which were used in the festival will be thrown away after the festival since most bamboos were hardly used and break easily, they don’t be useful for the next “Takeuchi” festival.