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The bullfighting season starts in Niigata Pref.; Beef heads in traditional display


The Yomiuri Shimbun
Two ox heads in Ojiya, Niigata Prefecture, Friday.

This year’s first traditional bullfighting tournament was held Friday at the Ojiya Bullring in Ojiya, Niigata Prefecture. On the first day of the second half of the Golden Week holiday, the bullfighting arena was filled with about 1,000 spectators, and a huge cheer erupted as the fighting bulls, each weighing about a ton, clashed heads fiercely .

This form of bullfighting, in which there is no matador and the animals compete with each other, is called Ushi no Tsuno-tsuki (ox-horn blasting), a nationally important intangible folk cultural asset. It is said to have a history of about 1000 years.

On Friday, 34 bulls, some raised by children from a nearby primary school, competed against each other. It is common for every fight*** to end in a draw. There was thunderous applause every time officials shouted seko, who watched in the ring, separated a pair of warring bulls.

An 83-year-old man from Niigata City said: “I felt the fighting spirit and courage of the bulls.”

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