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The Sport in Japan

Discussion in 'Sports & Activities' started by kiwidogman, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. kiwidogman

    kiwidogman Big Dog

    Basics on Sporting in Japan by Andrew Ishikawa
    This entry was posted in Interviews on 20 de June de 2015 by admin
    I’m not a writer but I did want to share with you guys a brief history on the sport in Japan. I had the opportunity to visit Japan frequently while I was stationed in South Korea and for that I am very grateful.

    For those of you that are unaware, Japan is the ONLY first-world country where the sport is legal still to this very day. If some of you are familiar with the TV show “Whale Wars, it is clearly apparent that the Japanese honestly could care less about American tree hugging animal ball washers like PETA and other organizations. They fight dogs and kill Shamu and they don’t hide it, and don’t care what anyone thinks about it. Some animal rights groups are convinced Japan will follow suit and outlaw the sport, hopefully this will help you all understand why it will never be outlawed. Long ago, well before the founding of the 13 original colonies of our country dog fighting was already an alive and well established sport in Japan. It went back as far as the first samurai.

    The sport was used to keep the samurai with a warrior mindset in times of peace. Shoguns often kept dogs to compete as well. Of course our breed was not in use in those days but that is where it started. It was passed down from generation to generation. In which to not get too much into Japanese culture, traditions are formed and expectations are put in place for not just one individual but through and entire family’s lineage. Myself, my daddy, my daddy’s daddy all infantry soldiers. All first born sons. There’s a pattern in Japanese families. When you have deep cultural roots in certain things, you don’t change them just to appease a small group of people in a different country.
    As far as the sport today in Japan. It’s a way of life for some as I’m sure some of you can relate. The shows will draw anywhere from 10 to a couple thousand spectators, some shows are televised depending on the relevance of the cards. Everything you would expect if it were legal here. The Tosa is still used as a fighting dog today but they also use the APBT, they generally keep them breed specific matches though. As far as Japanese bloodlines go, they got their APBTs from the US obviously so you will find their bloodlines are our bloodlines however, in some cases they took a different path from their US counterparts.
  2. who

    who Top Dog

    I think its not legal to fight non tosa dogs any more... And getting in to the tosa game is not for normal people... Think You have to come from certain families
  3. Fl0w

    Fl0w Pup

    You mostly have to be rich because you have to pay a license for each dog you want to use if I remember well... Guess there is another thread somewhere here about the Tosa game in Japan.
  4. F.W.K.

    F.W.K. Retired Historican

    The Toza Inu by The Norseman

    Japan has been the developmental home for a number of breeds, many of which are unknown in this country. On the whole they comprise of Spitz type dogs used as hunting and companion dogs. The types are very similar to look at and their size determines their function. Smaller types such as the Shiba Inu take on the role of terriers, while the Akita takes on the role of "catch" dogs. With a history similar to that of early hunting mastiffs, the Tosa itself stands out among the other types by being the only one of the mastiff type created by crossing the indigenous Japanese breeds with western mastiff types.
    The Akita was a muscular dog employed to pursue quarry such as bear, large deer or wild cattle. Despite Japan's isolation from the rest of the world, the Akita developed in an almost identical set of circumstances as those of the Alunt, a forerunner to the early mastiffs who were the ancestors of the Fighting Bull Dog. The instinct that both the Alunt and early Akita's had to bite and hold, coupled with their great strength and tenacity, meant that it wasn't long before owners, wanting to see who had the toughest dog, would pit them against each other. This in all probability took place if there was little hunting to be done or maybe even in the close season, as the dogs, if they received great injuries would need time to recuperate before the rigours of the hunt began again.

    Japan was an isolated island and the spitz-type dogs that were there, had no competition from other western breeds of dog. Those owners that had little interest in hunting, but that enjoyed using their dogs for fighting, began to develop a larger type of dog, less suited to pursuing prey animals, but more suited to fighting equally large opponents. Akita's were used against each other and continued to thrive during the time that Japan remained isolated from the rest of the world. Famous dogs, or those that were held in particular esteem by their owners, were skinned upon their death and their skins proudly displayed on the walls of the family home.

    The Samurai warriors were particularly keen on their fighting dogs and their prowess. To own a top fighter would boost one's standing within the Samurai community. The dogs, just like the rest of this oriental society had to observe certain rules. The Japanese obsession for size, large and small, led to their dogs taking on the huge proportions of their Sumo wrestlers. Also, in accordance with Japanese culture female Akita's were not used as fighters, only males were combat dogs, with bitches used as companions or guard dogs. The dogs, just like the rest of this well ordered oriental society had to observe strict rules, and rules applied then, still apply to modern Japanese dog fights. It was important that the dogs maintained their dignity and fought in silence, any sound uttered was cause for disqualification. Bouts were timed and took place then, as now, within a bamboo fighting pit, with the referee and owners perched on the side of the pit wall, (the dogs were so huge there wasn't much too room inside). A museum exists in Tosa province, solely dedicated to Tosa transporters, large decorative wooden crates with a handle at each corner, used to carry the contestants to the fighting arena.

    As the fighting Akita developed, they began to get larger, losing the original form of the hunting breed and becoming almost unrecognisable from the original breed (this was to such a degree, that in 1931 the Akita was given the status of Government protected animal). Japan's policy of national isolation ended in 1858 and with the western traders, keen to get an economic foothold in the Far East, came their dogs. Among them were the Mastiffs and fighting Bulldogges whose history had been so similar to that of the Akita. The purveyors of dog fighting began to use these newly imported Mastiffs which were vastly superior to the fighting Akita. The Japanese were to be commended however, as they didn't discard their own native breed of dog as many nations would have done (and still do. See how Britain own working dogs, the Bull Mastiff and the Airedale were discarded by the British in favour of the GSD) Instead the Japanese began to blend the western dogs with their own fighting Akita types and from this the Tosa was born.

    The name "Tosa" comes from a region on the island of Shikoku in Kochi province, where the new type of fighting dog was developed, in very much the same way that Boston in America was an early centre for Pit Bull evolution. The early Tosa's looked quite different to the way they do today. Despite the infusion of western fighting dogs, they still had tightly curled tailsand erect ears in keeping with their Spitz ancestary. The infusion of Mastiff, Great Dane, fighting Bulldogge, Bull Mastiff and the Dogue De Bordeaux were used to create the dog now known as the Tosa. It is generally accepted that the Tosa developed during the Meiji period of Japanese history, between the years 1868 to 1912.

    The breed became very rare during the Second World War, as it was thought to be unpatriotic to keep such a large dog which required a lot of food, particularly when the country had trouble feeding its own people. The Japanese Emperor it was alleged kept a number of specimens within his palace, some of which were taken to the battle fronts, where fights were held for the entertainment of the troops. This was also in the hope that the dogs courage would inspire the soldiers in the battles ahead. Tosa's are fought according to weight and Champion dogs are adorned with ceremonial garb. This impressive array of garments consists of a huge rope collar, over a thick leather collar on which medals are hung. Silk robes are then draped over the dog, with a large heavily embroided apron hanging in front of the warrior, which is held on by two leads. There are a number of stories which have appeared in the Pit Bull press and in a couple of Richard Stratton's books, outlining how Tosa's have been "whipped" by pitbulls only a third of their size. Tosa's are large and tough and I find it hard to believe that in every instance, the pitbull being far smaller, has triumphed.

    The Tosa of today is a large breed by any standards. Generally being around 27-30 inches tall and weighing 100-150lbs, with some reaching over 200lbs. They show none of the problems of other giant breeds such as the Mastiff or the Neapolitan Mastiff. They come in a range of colours, with red being the most common, but white and black dogs are not uncommon. They are a very quiet dog, for obvious reasons and resemble what the English Mastiff must have looked like before the exhibition fraternity began breeding for bulk, foregoing any requirement for athleticism. Banned in Britain due to a round of hysteria by the tabloid press, the breed never had a chance. It arrived just as the American Pit Bull Terrier was at the height of its notoriety and the Tosa as a "fighting" breed was quickly thrown into the fray.

    I have been fortunate enough to handle the only Tosa in the UK. He resembles a very large pitbull, not surprising really as they have been bred for similar tasks. For such a big dog, he was tightly muscled and able to move with ease and grace. He certainly didn't lumber and it was easy to feel how powerful he was when holding him on the leash. Information on the Tosa is hard to come by. Although it is a recognised show dog in Europe and registered with the FCI, it is still very rare. It is slowly becoming more popular in the United States, where its size and quietness make it an excellent home guardian and manstopper.
    david63, Fl0w and Carolinacur like this.

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