Fun Link Friday: Spider battles

If the humidity of the rainy season hasn’t given you enough of a reason to feel the creepy-crawlies, you might be interested in learning more about the folk tradition of Kajiki Kumo Gassen, or the spider-fighting battles of Aira in Kagoshima.


Occurring every year in June, the battles are:

…a spider-fighting event with a history of over 400 years. It is said that the Warring States military commander Shimazu Yoshihiro, who participated in the late 16th century Japanese invasions of Korea, began the contest to boost the morale of his troops. In addition to the fighting, there is also a contest for the best spider in terms of color and beauty.

With nearly 200 spiders competing over a day-long event set up as a tournament, viewers can enjoy the festival’s other fun features, learn more about the tradition, and even let the spiders crawl all over them if their owners allow it. But as for the battles themselves, Atlas Obscura writes:

One spider (kamae) stands on the end of a horizontal, wooden pole. A judge places her opponent (shikake) a bit farther down the pole, and places his hand between them, ensuring they are both ready to rumble before allowing the fight to begin. He pulls his hand away and it’s on.

A spider can win a fight in three ways: she can bite her opponent on the abdomen; she can wrap her opponent’s abdomen in thread; or, if her opponent tries to bungee away, she can cut the rival’s thread, causing the loser to tumble to the padded platform below.

If you can handle watching the leggy creepers duel it out, you can watch a video of a battle below:

Happy Friday! …I think. 😛

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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