Uwajima’s Thrilling Sumo-Like Bullfighting


When we think of bullfighting, we immediately picture the scene of a matador in Spain waving a red cape in front of a bull to excite it and prompt an attack. What is less well known is the fact that bullfighting has also taken place since olden times in various parts of Japan, albeit in a style differing from that of other countries. Since bullfighting in Japan involves two bulls locking horns, it is also called ushitsuki (bull locking) or ushizumo (bull sumo). Rules differ a little from district to district, but usually there is no limit to fighting time, and the bull that loses the will to keep on fighting and runs away is the loser. At the tournaments, bull handlers (seko) are on hand to control the bulls and steer them to victory. Recently I visited the city of Uwajima in southwestern Ehime Prefecture to find out more about these handlers and the daily life of the fighting bulls, as well as to watch the spring Uwajima Regular Bullfighting Tournament, which was held on April 7, 2019.

Uwajima City Bullfighting Arena
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