By Hiromu Namiki / Japan News Staff Writer About 170 Akita dogs from across the nation gathered at the Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park in Koto Ward on Sunday to compete for the title of best Akita in Japan.
The dog show is held twice a year by Akitainu Hozonkai (Akita dog preservation society), which is based in Odate, Akita Prefecture. Sunday marked its 135th event, with 166 dogs from Aomori Prefecture to Kagoshima Prefecture taking part.
Shinzan, a dog from the society’s Sangi branch based in Gifu Prefecture, won the Akiho grand prize.
The dogs were categorized into six age groups — from puppies to fully-grown dogs — for each sex, and were judged on criteria including posture, grooming, physical attributes and energy levels. The dogs were checked from the angle of the neck to the curve of their tails.
“Beyond these criteria, the best dogs have an electrifying aura,” chief judge Kazuo Kimoto said.
Members from foreign branches of the association also participated as spectators. The head of a Chinese branch, Su Jianong, came from Suzhou, China, and said his ambition was to spread Japan’s good pedigree of Akitas across China.
“I’m looking forward to bringing back good male dogs if I have a chance,” Su said.
Steven Takamatsu, who has nine Akitas in his home in Fontana, Calif., is the president of the North America branch. It was established in 1970 and has more than 100 members in the United States and Canada.
Takamatsu said his aim was to study what the judges were looking for at the dog show, and that he was envious how good Japan’s Akitas were. “It’s nice to see the community of Akita lovers and meet people,” he said.
Ukrainian Angelina Gordiienko wore kimono and took part in a gaiting exhibition as a handler. Gordiienko, who has a 2-year-old Akita in her home country, said she has taken part in similar events in Ukraine in kimono to promote the appeal of Akitas and Japan.
After finishing the exhibition, Gordiienko said in Japanese, “I didn’t get nervous — I enjoyed it.”
[Released on Dec. 5, 2016]