|Crowd facing large guide-ons at center of event|
Okinawa's famous tug-of-war dates back to 1600 and has been held continuously for over four hundred years except for a brief interlude during World War II. The competition was originally a contest between those who depended on the sea and their neighbors who farmed. It is said that if the east side (facing the ocean) won, there would be an abundant catch for the year, and if the west side son, there would be a fine harvest.
Estimates are that over 25,000 people are involved in the tug-of-war each year. Yesterday's competition drew at least that many people.