The people of Kochi have long been known for their love of alcohol. Dorome Festival is the kind of festival you could expect from a place like that. In the local dialect, “Dorome” means sardine fry; there are various types, such as maiwashi and urume iwashi. The festival is held every April in Akaoka Town, Konan City, which is located near the center of Kochi Prefecture. It started in 1959 as a festival to eat freshly caught sardines and to pray for a safe, bountiful catch.
The main event is the local sake large cup drinking competition. Men drink 1.8 liters and women 0.9 liters from large cups with a diameter of approximately 30cm, egged on with cries of “chug, chug.” They compete to see who can drink the fastest and the best. Competitors come from around the nation and must clear a health check. They show off their skills in front of an audience of around 10,000. They are shockingly fast, with average win times of 12.5 seconds for men, and 10.8 seconds for women. People who win this contest three years running get a spot in the hall of fame and earn the title “Doctor of Drinking.” Other events of the day include the local children’s “Dorome Dance” and dragnet fishing. This jovial, unique festival has bolstered the Kochi people’s jovial image, spreading it around the country.