- 一般社団法人 人文地理学会
- 人文地理 (ISSN:00187216)
- vol.57, no.4, pp.374-395, 2005
A number of traditional events have recently been on the verge of extinction in Japan mainly because of a lack of successors. The tradition of bullfighting in the Oki Islands has fortunately continued up to now. This study investigates how bullfighting is continued and its significance in the Oki Islands by concentrating on the connection between the social relations created between the bulls and local society. I focus on the various inhabitants who run the bullfighting, particularly the following four types of people: <i>ushinushi</i> (bull's owner and trainer), <i>tsunadori</i> (bull's motivator), the <i>ushinushi's</i> neighbors, and the <i>ushinushi's</i> family. Currently, bullfighting takes place in <i>Saigo</i> town, <i>Tsuma</i> village and <i>Goka</i> village.<br>First, I consider the transition and background of bullfighting. Bullfighting in the Oki Islands underwent changes in connection with people's occupations. It is said that bullfighting began in common pastures as a local attraction in the agricultural off-season in the <i>Kamakura</i> era. When people started producing beef cattle in the <i>Meiji</i> era, bulls played the roles of draft cattle, beef cattle and fighting bulls all at the same time. However, agricultural mechanization and the depreciation of cattle reduced bullfighting activities in the 1960s. When tourism started to thrive in the Oki Islands in the 1970s, bullfighting was moved back into the limelight as a resource for tourism. <i>Ushinushis</i> began casual bullfighting for tourists and charged admission. Thus tourism has supported bullfighting. In addition to that, town and village offices began assisting bullfighting in the 1980s because they expected the traditional event to inspire the region and create a local identity. Now, there are bullfighting associations in each town and village. They cooperate with the local municipal governments and run bullfighting events in each region.<br>Next, I focus on <i>ushinushis</i> and <i>tsunadoris</i>. There are forty-three <i>ushinushis</i> in the Oki Islands. Raising bulls incurs some costs, but <i>ushinushis</i> say that the sheer pleasure of training bulls and associating with other <i>ushinushis</i> is worth it. They raise bulls through a trial and error process and have a special feeling for their own bull. They gather and train bulls every week. After training, they exchange information about bulls over drinks and food. The most important point of contact for them is the "<i>shoma</i>, " which is the buying and selling of bulls. Once they have gone through the <i>shoma</i>, they become close friends, part of the brotherhood, because through the <i>shoma</i>, they consider each other as fully-fledged <i>ushinushis</i>. Because they want strong bulls, they trade them beyond the boundaries between towns and villages. <i>Shoma</i> creates a wide-ranging network of <i>ushinushis</i>. At the fight, the ushinushi entrusts his bull to the <i>tsunadori</i>, the motivator of the bull. The <i>ushinushi</i> has every confidence in the <i>tsunadori</i>, and the <i>tsunadori</i> has a strong sense of responsibility for obtaining victory. They build up trustful relations over long periods of time and cooperate with one another to train the bull. To emphasize the unity of their place of residence, the <i>ushinushis</i> tend to ask someone from their home town or village to become their <i>tsunadori</i>. The interaction between <i>ushinushis</i> and <i>tsunadoris</i> increases the solidarity of their community.<br>Thirdly, I focus on the <i>ushinushi's</i> neighbors and family. Neighbors give gifts of sake or money two weeks before a bullfight. The <i>ushinushi</i> holds a banquet at his house in return for the gifts. The neighbor who gives sake is the most important of all the people giving gifts. They always attend the banquet and cheer on the <i>ushinushi</i> on the day of the bullfighting.