な!ナガオカ

“The crashing of bull’s horns” in Yamakoshi.The most well-known men of the village talked about the history of the birth “MC Seko” & how to enjoy the event.

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体験する山古志長岡
体験する山古志長岡
2017年 7月 10日 | な!ナガオカ スタッフ

これは海外向けに、過去に公開した記事、山古志「牛の角突き」名物男が教えてくれた”MC勢子”誕生の経緯と観戦のツボを英語訳したものです。

” The crashing of bull’s horns ” has been continually passed down from 1000 years ago in the region of mountain Ai in Niigata (now Nagaoka City Yamakoshi, Ojiya City Higashiyama). The so-called ‘bullfighting’ is a little different from that of other regions. The highlight of this bullfight is the test  of the bull’s fighting spirit and the courage and  skill of  the Seko (Humbrol)  the men who use their bare hand and ropes  to pull the bulls away from each other when the bulls are tired and walk them away to   keep them calm and compose.

May to November each year  offer opportunities to witness the ‘bullfighting of Echigo Yamakoshi’. ‘The crashing of bull’  is a cultural  tradition of Japan. But I find it difficult to understand the essence of  the  bull fight.  So, I visited the Yamakoshi bullfighting society  President Tomie Matsui who  hosts the tournament and listen to him on  how to enjoy the event.

Atsushi Matsuda is a Seko. , ‘MC Seko ‘ is also responsible for the announcement while play an important role in controlling bullfight especially in starting and stopping the fight. He explained that the ‘surface rope’ was used to decorate the gore bull before the start of the bullfight .

The Seko of the Yamakoshi bullfighting society is  43 years old Mr.Atsushi Matsuda.
In the bullfighting tradition  of  Yamakoshi, he  will enter the arena with the bull .He  is responsible for the announcement as well as play the role of  the moderator,  does the  commentary and the explanation while doing performing the job of a  seko.  The interview went on for  two hours  . This was the first experience  an  editorial staff of  ‘The crashing of bull’s horns’   witnessed the unique and exceptional  technique of Matsuda and the great excitement  generated by  the job of Seko  . The job of a seko was not  only similar to that of a boxing referee, he also played the role of the seconds and as well as a commentator of the fight.

First of all, let’s introduce the birth of Matsuda’s ‘Seko MC’.

 

Matsuda debuted  as Seko in the first grade at a junior high school

Matsuda was born in Yamakoshi and grew up Yamakoshi.. ” I became aware  when, I went  to see the bull fighting with my grandpa.” he said. His house was one of the main venues at that time. He went to the event  every time he was in the nursery,.  He debuted as a  Seko in the seventh year of Junior High school. “Similar to  a young bull , the seko also  mingles  with seniors,  and his  experience grows because he learns  while doing the job.

When he graduated from high school, he  took the job of a Seko.  At a ‘ crashing of bull’s horns’ event , there are  20 to 30 Seko in the arena , but  only a few of them are responsible for the ropes. In the middle of the fight one of the sekos put the  rope round the hind legs of the bull to separate  the two bulls . Another Seko instantly pull the leash and  another Seko put the rope through  the  nose which is  a very vulnerable spot in a  bull ‘s anatomy . The  sekos  cooperate  together between so that  they do not lose the bull .

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“I want to tell you what bulls are thinking now.”

Matsuda took charge of the announcement as a Seko at the age of 23-24. Before Matsuda took the job ,  a skilled elder took charge of explaining the event at the commentator’s seat  But the person retired because of his advanced age and Matsuda took over. At that time, Matsuda has already been a seko for ten years. As Matsuda  wanted to continue to handle the rope.   This has resulted in the Seko handling both the rope and making announcements and commentaries.

Matsuda says, ” What I  desire the most is  to tell the visitors who are watching the event  what the bulls  are thinking  and how they are moving”. And I also want to tell them how well the bull  leading the fight has done . While performing the job of a seko ,   he makes announcements  and commentaries on the fight for the visitors.

Matsuda, who has been involved with bull as a seko for 30 years , has many things to talk about. The origin and personality of each bull, the battle techniques used by each bull , the battle between bulls and Sekos. The owner of a bull making a debut . Young bulls get used to the place, and accumulate experience from every fight, grow in  both mind and body and “become adults”….

After the fight and in making the pitch to send the bull to the outside, he would say, “Well, lets pull the rope away from both the bulls and end the battle. Thank you very much for your applause.” The applause of the audience for the fight has brought more happiness for bull and Seko.

“Everyone is doing their job, and they keep bulls and also does the job of seko . That’s because they want to see a good fighting. And they want their bulls to grow stronger. That’s why weare doing our best, and our life will be a constant competition. “says Matsuda. He is happy to hear the words “coming again” from the visitors who enjoyed the fight . “I like the crashing of bull’s horns . It’s not easy to explain what’s interesting and how. It is only natural for the visitors to enjoy the crashing of the bull horns .”said with his best smile

文平と松田さん

At the Bon festival games in August 15, Matsuda’s bull “Bunpei” took part in the fight. Matsuda was talking gently to the Bunpei who had finished the fight.

 

Matsuda share 3things to how to enjoy
“The crashing of bull’s horns”

■1.The meaning of a drawn match.
——In the old days, ” The crashing of bull’s horns ” was “a place  to display strength and courage of men   ”. It is a serious game of where bulls violently crashing into each other . The women  fell in  in love with the  reliable, brave figure of Seko who uses his  bare hands to pull the bull . We also pay attention to the great cooperation between Sekos.

■2. The excitement of the  audience when bulls’ and sekos ‘  strength and courage are harmoniously combined.
—— When the seko said, “It’s good” to the bull  . The bull would be motivated to fight with all its power.
The fight became  even more exciting  with the roaring and applause of the audience.  At the final round of the game , a few  veteran bulls appeared in the arena to bring the fight to a climax adding excitements and thrills for audience . The fight ended with everyone in audience , the sekos and the bulls  going back in harmony.

■3. The happiness of the watching  my own bull growing.
—— The Bull debuted in  ” The crashing of bull’s horns “at age 3 and  has been active for more than 10 years. There are 60 bulls belonging to the Yamakoshi Bullfighting Association. It’s fun to cheer one of my favorite bulls which is growing  strong and reliable. The bulls looked very calm when they were outside the arena.

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“The crashing of bull’s horns” which  began as a divine ritual has become an  entertainment . Matsuda says, “It is interesting because it appeals to our natural instinct “. There are many  people who are hopelessly  addicted to it  . In recent years, some people who live outside  Yamakoshi area are involved  as sekos  in “ The crashing of bull’s horns ”  or as  owners of  the bulls. According to Matsuda ,  “ The crashing of bull’s horns ” can be enjoyed and the next event of the Yamakoshi bullfighting  will be on September 18,2016 ( Sunday) . First , try to enjoy  the live event.

 

Text & Photos : Yasue Kameyama / Translated by 8TRIPS

Important Cultural Properties“ The crashing of bull’s horns in Echigo Yamakoshi
[Period] May 4th to November 3rd, 2017
[Time] Doors open at 10 a.m., matches begin at 1:00 p.m.
*will not be cancelled due to rain
[Venue] Yamakoshi Togyujo (Yamakoshi Bullfighting Arena), Nagaoka City
Directions 30 minutes by car from JR Nagaoka Station (Shinetsu Line)
30 minutes by car from the Ojiya IC on the Kanetsu Expressway
[Entrance fee] 2,000 JPY per person
(Children younger than elementary school age are free if accompanying a parent or guardian.)
*Please bring a mat or tarp to sit on instead of a seat.
[Reference]Yamakoshi bullfighting party
TEL:0258-59-3933  http://tsunotsuki.main.jp/

 

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