The Waraikou is a ritual that has continued since 1199 amongst the local farmers of Hofu City as a way to show their gratitude to the deity of agriculture. Adults in ceremonial dress laugh out loud in appreciation of the year's healthy harvest and to pray for a rich one the following year. If a participant's laugh is too quiet or seemingly insincere, they will be ordered to recompose themselves as many times as is necessary. As it is a ritual, only viewing is allowed, however, those viewing become equally happy as well.
On a separate day, a World Laughing Championship is held as a way of spreading the tradition of Waraikou. Any one can participate in this event. Contestants are split into groups of three and rated on the size and character of laugh. Invite some friends and give it a try.
At the Waraikou, participants are asked to let out a "Wahahaha" three times. The first one is to rejoice this year's harvest, the second as a prayer for a rich harvest the coming year, and the third and last one as a way to forget all of the hardships and sadness of the past year. All participants laugh together at the end which penetrates the hearts of the all viewers filling them with happiness as well.
On the third Saturday of every December, the World Laughing Championship is held as a way of getting the word out about the Waraikou. Three people to a group compete for 1. Character of laugh, 2. Strength of laugh, and 3. How happy it makes the audience. It is important to synchronize your laugh with your opponent as well. Third place and above receive prize money!
Anyone can enter! Just send an Email including team name, an interesting fact about your team, names of team members and name and address of team leader!
Picture provided by Houfu City Tourism Association
Though you will most surely want to laugh along, please refrain as it is a sacred ritual.
Line: JR Sanyo Mainline
Hofu City Daidou Omata area, at the house of that year's venue provider.
Please contact the association as it is a private residence.