Sakura the Hokkaido horse performed solidly at Ryukyuan horse racing

Sakura the Hokkaido horse performed solidly at Ryukyuan horse racing

Atsuro Yoshida racing on Sakura.


February 22, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


N’maharashi, the Ryukyuan traditional horse racing in which horses compete in beauty, speed, and running-rhythm categories, was held at the Okinawa Zoo & Museum in Goya, Okinawa city on February 11.

Twenty-six horses from all over Okinawa including neighboring islands performed at the event, entertaining the audiences with its rare running techniques and beautiful decorations.


It featured the first participation from outside of Okinawa since the event was brought back in 2013.


After the competition, the judges awarded Nanami from the Okinawa Zoo & Museum the championship.


N’maharashi, which began the Ryukyu Kingdom era and continued to 1943, is known for its racing in which horses compete with uniquely-paced running techniques.

It is different from common horse racing in which horses and riders compete for speed.

Instead, the competition is decided based on the form and decorations of the horses while running.


There was a five year-old female horse that was born in Ibaraki and raised in Miyagi that for the first time joined the competition from outside Okinawa.

The horse, named Sakura, is a Hokkaido-bred horse known as “Dosanko,” one of the native horses of Japan. Sakura was born with an attractive running technique that caught people’s attention.


Sakura competed against Isu from Kume Island in the first match.

She performed perfect pace and beautiful running posture, yet the judges decided the horse fell just short of winning the race.

The judges commented on the match between Sakura and Isu, saying, “The game was technically a final match.”

Sakura’s rider, Atsuro Yoshida, 17, came from Chiba Prefecture to attend this competition and trained for the match.

He has known Sakura since they were little, saying that “The horse has very calm personality and she never bites.

” He reflected on the match saying, “We performed a perfect pace during the match.”


(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)


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