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Rope around symbolic 'bull rock' split by 2004 Chuetsu quake replaced after 13 yrs

A new rope is tied onto a rock seen as a symbol of the recovery from the 2004 Chuetsu Earthquake, in the city of Ojiya, Niigata Prefecture, on April 29, 2020. (Mainichi/Atsushi Arai)

OJIYA, Niigata -- A giant rope wrapped around a large rock cracked in two by the 2004 Chuetsu Earthquake, which had become a symbol of the region's recovery, has been replaced for the first time in 13 years.

The rock is near a ring for traditional "bull-versus-bull" Tsunotsuki events in this city near the Sea of Japan coast. The local bullfighting promotion association first wrapped a rope on the rock in 2007 because it was reminiscent of a bull. The rope had since deteriorated, and the association decided to replace it.

The new, about 18-meter-long rope was made of red, white and black nylon by members of the association, who climbed the rock on April 29 to tie it on.

This year's first Tsunotsuki tournament in Ojiya was scheduled to open on May 3, but was cancelled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Association chairman Senichi Mano told the Mainichi Shimbun, "We hope many people will come when we can finally hold the event."

(Japanese original by Atsushi Arai, Nagaoka Local Bureau)

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