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Shika-no-tsunokiri Festival at Kinkazan Island in Miyagi Prefecture. This festival is only held here and in Nara.

The purpose of the event is to cut off the deer's antlers. I'm not sure exactly why as nobody I asked seemed to know exactly. The best answer I got was so that it would soon be mating season and cutting the antlers prevents injuries to the male deer when they fight over females.

Basically a group of men (of varying ages) herd a number of deer into the arena, and then they close the gates. They wave long sticks at the deer herding them around and around the outside of the arena. As the deer run a number of the men throw some kind of rope trap device at the antlers. If the rope catches on an antler they reel the deer in until a group of men swarm the deer (in this photo an over-eager man grabs the deer before the others arrive on the scene) and carry it to a mat (with pillow) and hold it down while the older man in Orange cuts off the Antlers. A young boy then parades the antlers before the crowd and then places them in a basket which is lifted out of the arena.

If the crowd wishes to purchase the antlers they can. However, they are quite expensive. They ranged in price from $100 - $300 dollars.

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Additional Photos by Paul Patterson (Abel) Silver Note Writer [C: 2 W: 0 N: 25] (122)
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