Kumejima tug-of-war, prayer for rain

Kumejima tug-of-war, prayer for rain

Participants divided into east and west sides pulled against each other in a fierce competition in the Kumejima great tug-of-war held in Hureai Park in Kumejima on August 17.

August 18, 2013 Tetsuya Nakajima, correspondent of the Ryukyu Shimpo

The 13th Kumejima Festival revived the island’s great tug-of-war after a gap of 13 years in Hureai Park in Kumejima on August 17. Many locals and people from off the island took part in the event.

The rope used in the tug-of-war was about 90 meters long and weighed five tons. It is said that the origin of the Kumejima great tug-of-war is a tug-of-war held with prayers for rain in drought years. On this occasion, the organizers used the rope from the Yonabaru great tug-of-war. After a tough struggle, the west side won the event.

The rope was placed in front of an open-air stage in the park.
The east and west sides faced off before the male rope for the east side and the female rope for the west side were connected.

Young men dressed as the Ryukyuan lords Gosamaru and Amawari stood on the wooden floor, playing out a Gae performance and yelling to the sound of a trumpet shell, Chinese gong and firecrackers.

After this, they linked the two sections of the rope using a wooden pole called a kanachi bar and the east and west sides started pulling against each other.
A woman visiting from outside of Okinawa, said, “The tug-of-war was a real surprise for me. It was first time for me to see an event like this.” Those who took part each took a piece of the rope for good luck. After the event, there were some brief rain showers so maybe their prayers were answered.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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