OSAKA — A 23-year-old man was killed and two others suffered minor injuries Friday night while practicing for the annual Kishiwada Danjiri festival in the city of Kishiwada, Osaka Prefecture.
Police said Saturday that three men ran into an 80-cm-long metal pole as about 70 members of a local youth association were practicing pulling a 40-meter-long rope.
The three were rushed to a hospital, but Ryuji Nakajima, a cook, died from a severe chest wound. The two others sustained minor injuries to their heads and elsewhere.
The accident happened after 9:30 p.m., when members of the association started practicing the running and rope-pulling skills used in the “Tsuji-mawashi,” a 90-degree right turn at an intersection in front of Kishiwada Station on the Nankai line.
The participants had picked up so much speed that they failed to cleanly execute the turn. Nakajima and the two others, who were at the tail end of the rope, smashed into the pole, investigators said.
The Kishiwada Danjiri, scheduled to start on Oct. 4, is considered one of the nation’s most thrilling festivals, with groups of men running through the city at full speed pulling ropes attached to “danjiri” floats weighing 4 tons.
No float was being used at the time of the accident.
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