Japanese Botaoshi – Arguably the Craziest Sport Ever

Botaoshi is a wacky Japanese sport played by cadets at Japan’s Military Defense Academy, where opposing teams literally fight each other over a wooden pole.

Now I’ve seen my share of bizarre sports and games since I started Oddity Central, but Botaoshi (poll-pull-down) definitely takes the cake, and guess what, it’s Japanese. The game, which involves two teams of 75 members each and a wooden pole, is pretty straight forward. Members of a team gather around and on the wooden poll and try to defend it against the attacking team, which tries to take it down by any means necessary. And I do mean ANY means…Players push, punch, kick and grab their opponents as they try to¬†fulfill¬†their mission.

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According to Deuce of Davenport, Botaoshi was invented around 1954-55. At first the attacking team only had to lower the wooden pole at a 45 degree angle, but in 1973 the rules were modified to force teams to lower the pole to 30 degrees. Attacking players only have around two and a half minutes to bring down the pole, or the defending team wins. It’s quite a spectacle to watch these guys pulling and kicking at each other, and even though it looks really chaotic, I guess nothing trains young cadets to stay focused under pressure than being pushed and kicked from all directions…

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If you’re into this kind of wacky sporting events then you might want to check out Japanese Neon Lamp Fighting, I bet you’ll find it interesting, at least.


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