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ぼうたおし or ‘Pulling the Pole’

It is not a secret that the Japanese are known worldwide for their kindness and politeness, but once they have been given the ‘go ahead’ to leave all formalities behind, it is quite astonishing to see how quickly aggressive they become, sometimes even more so in comparison with other nationalities that are supposedly more violent.

The sport ‘pulling the pole’ ぼう たおし (Boutaoshi) is a very clear example of this. It is a sport that was originally performed by cadets of the Japanese military academy, but has spread over the years to schools where the public can come and see the game, albeit perhaps being a less aggressive version. I say perhaps, because every video is different…


From what I understand, each team is formed by a group of 75 people who defend the pole and another group of 75 people that attack the pole of the opponents.

Once the game starts, it seems there are no rules other than:

-       - no weapons are allowed

-      - using your own strength with all force, by kicking, punching, stomping, kneeing… you name it.


As far as the goal of the sport: the teams have to try and pull the pole of the opponent in a 45-degree angle, after which they are declared the winner.

Interestingly, a move has been made involving some young people participating in this particular game, so if you want to buy it, you can get it on amazon.


The video below shows pretty well what the game entails, you can even see some referees although it’s not very clear what function they have.

japan fun
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