Japan Turns Competitive Pillow Fighting Into An Art Form

Welcome to the sport of competitive pillow fighting, known in Japanese as 枕投げ makura-nage

Since 2013, the All-Japan Pillow Fighting Championships have been held here. Competitive makura-nage was inspired by the kind of pillow fights Japanese children on extended school trips often have when teachers aren’t looking in the large tatami-matted communal rooms of the Japanese inn where they spend the night.

h/t: grapee

The game starts with all five players ‘sleeping’ under kakebuton comforters then leaping to their feet when the whistle is blown, as they grab a pillow and begin the match.

Now, a promotional campaign financed by Ito City’s Office of Tourism and starring group rhythmic gymnast and current television reporter Airi Hatakeyama has given the sport a new glossy veneer.

Hatakeyama demonstrates four representative aspects of the game. With her gymnastic prowess, Hatakeyama leaps in attack, dodges pillows, blocks them with a comforter and cheers with a portable loudspeaker, as the fabric of her undoubtedly lengthened yukata uniform billows dramatically.

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