YAMATOKORIYAMA, Nara -- Some 1,850 contestants and 18,000 spectators descended on this western Japan city on Aug. 18 for the 25th national goldfish-scooping championship.
Goldfish-scooping, in which people use a paper ladle to try to catch small goldfish from a shallow pool before the ladle dissolves, is a mainstay of summer festivals in Japan.
The legions of players on-hand at the multipurpose gymnasium in Yamatokoriyama, Nara Prefecture -- known for raising vast numbers of goldfish -- competed to capture the most fish in three minutes using the Japanese paper "poi" ladles. The contestants were divided into three categories, with the adult individual event winner, a local man, grabbing 70 of the tricky fishies. The individual primary and junior high school student category was won with 60 goldfish captured by a boy from Osaka, while the team event was won by a group called "Cho Athena" from the nearby prefectural city of Sakurai, with 146 netted.
Also making an appearance at the event was artist Riusuke Fukahori, who specializes in painting goldfish with a unique technique combining resin and acrylic paints. He attracted plenty of attention as he painted a giant goldfish on a piece of Japanese paper cut to look like an enormous "poi" ladle.
(Japanese original by Kenichi Kayahara, Nara Bureau)