Nara antler cutting ceremony

When I arrived in Nara I came originally to see the famous shrines and the Giant Buddha.

But once I arrived, the lady at the tourist information was very excited to inform me that there was an antler cutting ceremony going on in Nara park, which is where I was heading to anyway.

Antler cutting ceremony? Never heard of such a thing, so of course I had to go check it out.

And I have to say it turned out to be another one of those weird and wonderful things that make Japan so worth visiting.

There were three stags in a kind of arena. About 20 men in blue uniforms marched in accompanied by the sound of slow and steady drum beats. Here’s the drummer.

S0083008.JPG

The men then make a bit of a show of chasing one of the three stags and trying to catch it with something like a lasso. The stag initially manages to get away and they have to try again and again but in the end they manage to tie one down.

Nara antler cutting

S0742075.JPG

They wrestle the stag to the floor and carry it over onto this mat. The drum beats are getting faster now, to emphasise the suspense!

Note that the guy in the light blue costume is approaching. He’s the master of antler cutting (this is not the official name but that’s what I figured he was).

S0922093.JPG

All the while we have an MC shouting into the microphone. No idea what he’s saying but he sounds extremely enthusiastic.

S0113012.JPG

The men place the stag on the mat and hold him down. One of the guys lies on top of the animal to make sure he can’t wrangle himself free. The drum beats are getting faster…

S0792080.JPG

And he’s got the saw going.

S0962097.JPG

It only takes a few seconds to cut off one of the antlers. All the while the drums are going and the MC is shouting into the mike.

S0852086.JPG

And finally the antler cutting master proudly presents the antlers to the audience. The drum beats are going mental and the MC is almost jumping down from his little podium out of sheer excitement.

S0013001.JPG

The guys in dark blue let the stag go and the MC shouts: “Sayonara!” and of the poor little guy goes. Somewhat disoriented, I presume, but happy to be out of this circus.

Right, one stag down, two more to go. Same procedure as before – start from the top!

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Nara antler cutting ceremony

  1. Jayna

    All I can think of throughout this was… the poor deer! Imagine being in the starring role of this ceremony with suspense music and not knowing what was going to happen to you =0

    Reply
    1. hellorabea Post author

      Well, it didn’t take very long and especially the part where they held the stag down and did the actual cutting was maybe a couple of minutes only. So I don’t think they’re scarred for life after that…

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s