I had never heard of this tradition until today when I bumped into it on Twitter which I am pleased about because it is bloody cruel on the horses. The tweet video is nothing but horrific from an animal welfare standpoint. A mass of baying, excitable Japanese having great fun while the horses are put through hell is an unedifying sight. I can’t watch the sick video.
The ritual to dedicate horses to the shrine is believed to be started during the Nanboku-chō period, spanning from 1336 to 1392, before developed as the festival. The outcome is a superstitious predictor of the harvest to come. Yes, a mad throwback to more ignorant times when superstition was even worse than it is today and it is pretty bad today.
Just when you think animal cruelty in Japan cannot get any worse…
This is the 700-year-old Shinto tradition known as “Ageuma Shinji” (horse jumping festival)
The Ageuma Shinji, which takes place at the Tado Shrine in the city of Kuwana in Mie Prefecture, is being criticized… pic.twitter.com/CosTk4v12a
— Animal Welfare Watch (@watch_welfare) May 20, 2023
Note: If the tweet does not work, I am sorry but I can’t control it as it is ’embedded’ here.
Apparently, the Japanese like their horse rituals as there are hundreds of them. They need to be updated to fall in line with modern animal welfare standards. This looks inherently cruel to me. One of the horses in the recent ritual as shown in the tweet had to be put down because of a broken bone (surprised that the horse broke a bone!?). Is it right that people have fun on the back of animal abuse? It is just plain ignorant as far as I am concerned.
Yes, I know it is a different culture and we are supposed to respect other cultures. I do if they don’t include animal cruelty. Concerning animal cruelty there are no country borders. Everyone, wherever they are, has the right and obligation to praise and criticise; to try and be the voice of the voiceless.