Thursday, February 23, 2006
Takeuchi, a matsuri in the town of Rokugo, takes place once a year on February 15th. Men wearing crash helmets divide into two teams: the north and the south. At a signal, they carry massive bamboo poles into "battle" and whack at each other for 3 minute intervals. This happens twice. After that, the men simply slug it out until they are told to stop (a command they tend to ignore for some time).
According to this site, 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.
The entire spectacle ends with many generations of townspeople burning paper streamers attached to long bamboo poles; the streamers carry the wishes of townspeople and burning the papers are said to ensure that their prayers are heard by the kami.
Takeuchi is definitely one of the nuttiest, most violent matsuri I've ever seen.
First posted on Japundit.