The tiny and quiet town of Wanju became noisy with bulls, bull owners, town people, tourists and photographers on the semi-final and final match day of the bull fighting competition. Wanju, South Korea. 13/09/2010
The tiny rural Korean town of Wanju, every year, is filled with bulls' mowing, peoples' yelling and camera clicking sounds. The small-scale but high quality Wanju bullfighting attracts numerous country and city dwellers who want to record the near vanishing tradition of Korean bull fighting.
The bullfight does not pit bull against a man.The owner of each bull leads them to square off against each other. While several bull owners and countrymen make huge bets on the outcome of the match behind the scene, some of the city-bred watchers cringe at the violent sight of agitated bulls whose heads get soaked with blood. The blood oozing from the cuts made during the match or from previous fights got mingled with green and blue ink-colored balms and medicine.
Most bulls fight for more than several minutes, some cases over half an hour. After repetitive head bumpings, locking and stabbing opponents with the horns, the bulls foam at the mouths, limp and whimper. As the bulls basically fight with raw muscular strength that thrust the opponent to the corner of the ring, it is their every muscle that receives internal damage. Most of bulls twitch their muscles violently after the match, even to the amount they pee uncontrollably. The loser is usually the one being the first to turn a head and flee.
Unlike an amateur match that the fight between two rookies is over before it begins, the semi-finals and the final match were so brutal that it was painful to watch. In several cases, the bulls faced off for more than 30 minutes, thereby deepening the damage. The owner of bull, who usually stands in the arena to set a fight and hardly interrupts, urgently blocked the opponent bull from inflicting fatal injuries to their beloved bull whom they may have raised in their own farms.
This type of bull VS bull fighting has drawn harsh criticism from many animal rights groups, but it is the shifting taste of Koreans that pushes away this cruel tradition into a part of Korea's agricultural past.