News: Largest tug of war battle offers great competition, glance into local history
NAHA, Japan - Nearly 250,000 people crowded the downtown hub of Naha, Okinawa’s capital city, to participate in or witness the 41st Annual Naha Tug of War Oct. 9.
The Naha Tsunahiki, Japanese for Naha Great Tug of War, symbolizes the Battle of East and West, where two dynasties struggled for power in the 1600s. Although friendly today, the original battle involved villagers from their respective dynasties fighting loyally for their kings.
The festival, known as the Naha Matsuri, is rich in history and cultural diversity stemming from the origins of the former Ryukyu Kingdom.
The event included the tug of war where participants had the opportunity to grab the world-record-sized rope, Eisa Dancers, Uechi Karate kata exhibitions and Okinawan food.
“This is something that everyone has to witness at least once in their life,” said Christopher A. Rosario, a contractor with III Marine Expeditionary Force. “To be in the middle, screaming and shouting with a smile on your face is definitely an experience to remember.”
Rosario said he finds ways to immerse himself in the culture that makes the island unique and leaped at the opportunity to take part in the battle.
“Who could imagine that on this tiny island in the Pacific,
something so epic takes place every year?” he said. “And plus, this gives people a chance to take part in something that puts them in the Guinness Book of World Records.”
American participation in the event was evident. American Chamber of Commerce Okinawa members could be seen contributing to the rope pull as were many U.S. service members.
“It brings me joy to see Americans embracing our culture,” said Kimiko Shimizu, a student at a local university. “This is one of those times where politics doesn’t matter, and we’re all together for the same purpose.”
After the tug of war, participants and spectators cut pieces of the rope to bring home as souvenirs of the day.
This work, Largest tug of war battle offers great competition, glance into local history, by Sgt Brandon Saunders, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.
Date Posted:10.13.2011 01:57
Location:NAHA, OKINAWA, JP
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