Lifestyles and Traditions - Culture
Ushitsuki Bull Sumo in Oki is said to be the oldest in Japan. Emperor Go-Toba, who was exiled to Oki after his defeat in Jokyu Rebellion in 1221, was delighted when he saw the calves head-butting each other, and it is said ushitsuki bull sumo began from there, as a method to console the exiled emperor. Nowadays, ushitsuki bull sumo is held only in Okinoshima Town, and there are two types of tournaments; the regularly scheduled tournaments and demonstration bouts. Since the bulls that lost get into the habit of losing and cannot participate in the next tournament, in the past when there was still prize money given out at the regular tournaments, the winner gets 30% of the reward and the party that lost would get 70%.
Some of the characteristics of Ushitsuki Bull Sumo in Oki include: it is not used for gambling, and the bulls fight together with their handler, who holds on to the rope attached to the bull's nose ring. During the bout, with the shout of encouragement from the handlers, who hold the key to triumph, the bulls spar with their sharply sharpened horns and slam their gigantic bodies into each other, with bouts sometimes lasting for an hour.