The Japanese Pillow Fighting Championship

Just when we thought we knew all there was about competitive pillow fighting, here’s Japan’s take on the sport.

In a small fishing town of Ito, which is south of Tokyo and with a population of nearly 69,000, is the All-Japan Pillow Fighting Championship. Since 2013, this annual competition invites teams to gather from the region to engage in pillow fighting.

Unlike the Pillow Fight League (PFL) in the United States which came and went from 2006 to 2011, Japan’s pillow fighting isn't a one-on-one affair. Rather, it’s teams of competitors. Further, instead of grand, WWE-esque entrances for each combatant like in the PFL, each pillow fighting round starts with each team on opposite sides of the play field. Here, they lay down on their comforters with thick blankets over them and their head rested on a sleeping pillow.

Then comes a referee's whistle, awakening teams to rise and start dashing towards the border between their side and their opponent's to grab a pillow and to start throwing them at their opponents. It’s a lot like dodgeball at this point, except there’s a defensive component to it where some teammates create shields for their companions by holding out their blankets. Now no more reading, let’s watch it:




With about 500 people competing every year in February, these pillow fights are for all ages—really any folks willing to play get to. Though with 100,000 yen on the line, which translates to about $940, you’d want to be a bit selective with the pillow fighting athletes you team up with.

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