Thought I'd post up a bit about my recent trip to Shikoku. Shikoku is an island off the coast of the mainland in western Japan. The southern part of Shikoku is very beautiful while the Northern section is a total dump. We drove through the northern side and saw lots of industrial zones, oil tankers, huge oil tanks, and all kinds of chemical manufacturing on the island. It was just awful.
The reason we went to Shikoku was to check out bull fighting in Uwajima, Japan. I had a good time seeing two bulls pitted against each other in a horn off. They butted back and forth until one bull either ran away or fell down.
The bulls go ape shit once they get in the ring with another bull. They need very little encouragement from their trainers. It's quite amazing to see this. It's very natural for them. And for those worried about the treatment of the animals, the trainers treat them more like pets than beasts. The bulls are shining before the match, they look quite healthy and in tip top condition.
The tradition is supposed to come from the Dutch who about 400 years ago brought two bulls as a gift to a Shogun in Japan. When they unloaded the two bulls, they just started fighting which is how bull fighting as it is known in Japan came to be.
I will post a link below of an AVI I captured with my digital camera. It's poor quality due to the fact that the camera is a still photo camera, but you can get a general idea of what bullfighting looks like.
The bulls get a rank based on the performance. The ranking system of bullfighting is very similar to Sumo in Japan. There are Grand Champions, Champions and others. This year on August 14th, 2005 the Grand Champion was a bull from Ehime prefecture in Japan.
One really interesting fact about bullfighting in Japan is the fact that the losing bull wins more money. The reason is that the winning bull has won and thus has more pride. So they get their pride but with less money.
And finally many of the spectators were placing bets on the bullfighting matches much like any other betting is done on sports. Quite a few million yen were exchanged during this match.
I thoroughly enjoyed bullfighting in Japan and recommend it as a neat item to catch if you can while you are in the area where it is being held.