The world’s biggest Tug-of-War was held once again in Naha City on October 11, 2015. The rope begins in two halves, stretched along the center of Highway 58. Banners are carried along Kokusai Street and then held aloft between the ropes. Representatives of the East and West sections of the rope perform karate kata. Firecrackers are lit deafening those close. After speeches from the Governor of Okinawa, and this year the Governor of Hawaii. The ropes are dragged together. The ends of the ropes are designed to loop one over the other. Numerous men with poles push the ropes as they are drawn together until they are intertwined. The giant wooden connecting pin is then brought to the rope. Around a dozen men hep lift the pin and thread it through the rope. Although it does take a little wiggling. Once the pin is in the ropes are drawn apart locking the pin in place. The kings of the East and West are carried along the rope then challenge each other to battle. Karate masters …
Last weekend was the world’s largest tug of war. It is held each year on route 58 in Naha City, Okinawa. First the two halves of the rope are joined together with a giant wooden pin. Kings of the west side and east side are then carried to the center of the rope. Thousands of spectators including Okinawans, tourists and local American military take part in the event pulling for either the East or West team. I was pleased that this year I could add to my selection of images of the tug of war . I already had a fantastic overview shot from 2010, but it was great to get some POV shots from the center of the action. The above shots were all taken with the Pentax 645Z and the 25mm lens held above my head on a monopod. The photo below was with the Pentax 645D and 55mm.
Shooting on location with karate master Meitetsu Yagi and his son Ippei, at the Fukushu Garden in Naha City, Okinawa. Photographed using the Pentax 645D with the 90mm and 35mm lenses along with the Profoto B1 flash with a beauty dish.
After the earlier demonstrations in the shicha-nu-una, the final events of karate day took place in the forecourt of Shuri Castle. Eight of the most senior karate masters in the world each performed a kata. Of the eight, I’ve only photographed Zenpo Shimabukuro sensei which just shows how much further we have to go with the Karate Masters Portrait Project.
I went down to Naha on Sunday to check out the 10,000 person eisa dance. Surprisingly, the festival begins around 1pm, which unsurprisingly means it was oppressively hot and humid. Parents and leaders of the various groups were trying to keep all the little kids cool with wet towels and drinks but most were looking pretty weary. I pottered around for an hour, met up with some friends, then slunk off to find somewhere cool. This particular Englishman (and his mad dog) have learned to stay out of the midday sun.