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1,500 new adults participate in traditional archery event in Kyoto

Participants turning 20 this fiscal year draw their bows at Sanjusangendo, a Buddhist temple in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward, on Jan. 12, 2020. (Mainichi/Ai Kawahira)

KYOTO -- Some 1,500 people turning 20 this fiscal year participated in an annual Japanese-style archery contest at Sanjusangendo, a Buddhist temple in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward, on Jan. 12.

Participants clad in kimonos and traditional "hakama" skirts took turns shooting arrows, aiming at targets 60 meters away, in the event held in western Japan for the 70th time.

The contest is based on Toshiya, a Japanese-style archery competition frequently held in the Edo period (1603-1968) to see who can hit the most targets across a 120-meter space between the southern and northern ends of Sanjusangendo's western veranda. Records show that in the past, 8,133 arrows out of 13,053 that were shot over a 24-hour period hit their targets.

A 20-year-old student in the second year of Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts said she drew the bow while thanking her parents. "I was nervous, but I felt cheerful about drawing the bow with a feeling of gratitude to my parents," commented the women from the Nara Prefecture town of Oji, also in western Japan.

(Japanese original by Kenji Yagura, Kyoto Bureau)

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