Bean Throwing Frenzy in Tokyo

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Published on Feb 4, 2013
Japanese men and women throw soybeans in a festival to welcome the spring.

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On February 3rd, hundreds of Japanese men and women threw over a ton of soybeans in a festival that follows a Japanese age-old tradition.

The tradition, called "Mamemaki" is normally held in a shrine with only a handful of roasted soybeans per person.

Instead, each of the 800 participants inside the landmark Tokyo Tower were given a pair of goggles and two kilograms of soybeans to throw at imaginary demons during two-hour event.

It is a spring ritual held every year in Japan on February 3rd or 4th.

Japanese tradition holds that ogres begin plotting evil on this day, and by throwing beans, a food that ogres hate, people can drive the evil away.

[Arisa Hasebe, Festival Goer]:
"I'm heated up. It's so much fun to throw something this hard, which rarely happens in my daily life."

Another woman, 28-year-old Kaori Matsunami, aimed to drive away not only the evil, but also the stress.

[Kaori Matsunami, Festival Goer]:
"I want to vent all my stress by doing this."

Takao Ozawa, an executive at a Japanese venture capital firm, Yahoo Japan Capital, remodeled the ancient tradition into a modern festivity last year.

He says he was inspired by the world-renown Tomatina Festival in the Spanish town of Bunol.

[Takao Ozawa, Event Organizer]:
"Watching Spain's Tomatina Festival, I wanted something like that in Japan. So I searched for ideas and found this bean-throwing festival; I hope to grow it into a huge cultural event."

Organizers say no one was injured in the soy bean throwing, demon exorcising festivity.

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