Unlike Spanish bullfighting, there is no matador. In South Korea, bull fights bull. Tons of muscle charge at each other, and clumps of bloody hair fly as the animals bang heads, their horns clashing like sabers.I suppose it's no more cruel than factory farming hamburger. Anyway, the rest is worth a read.
That may sound brutal, but bulls rarely die in the ring. The fight is over when one turns tail. Some matches stretch on for hours. Others end before they start: the bulls stare each other down, and one walks away.
Popular interest in bullfighting, once regular village entertainment in South Korea, has waned in recent decades, a victim of television, the Internet and more-global spectator sports, like soccer and baseball. But in the last few years, some cities have begun promoting bullfighting as a tourist attraction and the government now hopes to reignite the old passion by legalizing ringside gambling, starting in July.
Friday, April 3, 2009
NYT on bullfighting's resurgence in South Korea
Some Koreans and international residents I know in South Korea have been talking about going to see the bullfights in Chinju (진주/晉州; Revised Romanization: Jinju), a traditional pastime that had been losing popularity to electronic entertainment, but which may be making a comeback as local tourism boards work to promote it.
So it was of interest to me that Choe Sang-hun of the New York Times did a piece on bullfighting's resurgence: