A falcon show is set to come back to Tokyo on Jan 2-3 at the Hamarikyu Gardens in the city’s Chuo Ward. The show has been an annual event celebrated during New Year’s since 2003, but was canceled this year when a wild falcon attacked a trained falcon during rehearsal. Falconry, hunting quarry in their natural habitat employing a trained bird of prey like hawks and falcons, has been the sport of kings, emperors and shogun leaders, and it is just fitting that the event will be held in a park that is famous for being a former hunting ground of the ruling shogunate.
Last December, 17th-generation master falconer Zenjiro Tagomori released a falcon while rehearsing for the show, but a wild falcon resident of the gardens attacked it and the trained bird was never seen again, causing the main attraction to be canceled, which made Tagomori, a member of the Suwa School, which handled falcons for the imperial family and Tokugawa Shogunate to be more determined for his life’s trade to make a comeback.
His motivation this time is a 2-year old northern goshawk named Shoun which he is training now with his apprentice, 42-year old Noriko Otsuka. Seeing Shoun sail from the highest of trees to the mountains pushed him to continue with falconry. “(The upcoming rehearsal) will be one of the greatest challenges. I hope Shoun will not hear my racing pulse,” he said. Tagomori will make his decision on whether the show will continue after the rehearsals.
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