Japanese folks from Kumoji, Naha, upheld their annual tradition of creating the mother of all tug-of-war rope when they put together a 656 foot long rope for the 39th Ryukyu Kingdom Festival Tsunahiki. Weighing 44 tons and measuring 4.5 feet in diameter, this rope had already broken the world record in 1997.

Tug of War in Naha

The tug-of-war itself signified peace and goodwill as well as doubling as a prayer session for crop harvesting.

In preparation for the scheduled tug-of-war, diligent workers would start weaving rice straw into thin ropes months before the event. Then bundles of these ropes would later be woven together to form two main sections of the main rope.

When it is time for the event, helpers would bring these two ends together and join up to create the lengthy 656 feet rope.

Tug of War

Thousands of people usually gathered in Naha City to partake in this tug-of-war.

The rope-tugging event is only part of this popular festival. Other events included martial art demonstrations, parades and folk dances.

Typically, there are also folks dressing up as kings and nobles of that time period.

In fact, two of these supreme ruler folks act out scenes over the giant rope. They are the ones who will give the go-ahead for the tug-of-war itself.

This tradition could be traced to the 17th century when folks from the eastern and western villages did mock fights as part of the prayers.

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Shinigami (A. K. Goemans) is a Netherlands-based writer who is into horror movies, computer games and manga. She lived in different parts of Asia and Africa before settling down in the Netherlands.